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December 19, 2009

In History: Society marks 125 years

ANDERSON — At 4 p.m. Sunday, the Madison County Historical Society will be officially 125 years old.

It was on this date, Dec. 20, 1884, the Articles of Association creating the society were filed in the recorder’s office and timed at 4 p.m.

Dr. William A. Hunt was the first president to lead our society establishing a tradition of excellence in leadership that is clearly present today as we are ably led by Roger Hensley.

The Madison County Board of Commissioners provided a room in the new courthouse for the use of the society. Contributions of interesting relics and curious items soon arrived as the citizens wished to aid the new society in its efforts to establish a museum. There was no lack of interest on the part of the citizens as a great many of them visited the society’s room to view its collection.

By 1895 it had become necessary to use the room for county purposes. In the fall of that year the society relocated to the Anderson High School building. How long it remained there is unknown. Ironically, a society devoted to the study of history knows very little about its own.

Finding a home

In 1926 the society was incorporated under Indiana law and became the Madison County Historical Society, Inc.

By 1970 the society was holding meetings in the old YWCA on Jackson Street. Sometime after that the society began meeting at the Anderson Public Library where it remained until September, 1999 when it moved to 1931 Brown Street.

During those years several persons made significant contributions to the growing success of the society. Howard Eldon, Elwood Phillips, Charles and Esther Dittlinger, Helen Harvey Baumer, Linda Shelton, Gloria Lamper, Lucille Brown, John and Mary Chismar, and Maude Ward are but a few of the many that left an indelible mark upon the society.

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