Faithful reader and local historian John Hess sends some wonderful historic photos of Madison's bustling downtown. I've posted the four he just sent me on RealMadison.org for everyone's enjoyment. Here are a couple, before and way before:
Here's the North 200 block of Egan Avenue, downtown Madison, circa... well, I'm guessing 1950. Notice the used car lot with the string of lights on the west side, about where the flea market is today, between Bray's Furniture and Piper's Laundry. Down the street, you can see the old Penney's store in what is now the Dakota Drug building. And on the east side, near today's Radio Shack, the State Theater. Movies downtown! Ah, the good old days!
Now the really good old days, when the horse poop around City Hall wasn't just metaphorical. Here we see Madison pre-Detroit. The view looks north, perhaps from the railroad tracks. On the west side, you see the old Lake Park Hotel (oh! what I wouldn't give for a front porch like that on Main Street again!). And across the street, accommodations for the horse you rode in on, too, at the Lake Park Livery.
Those are some august buildings. Dwaine, take some notes (especially of that hotel porch!) and let us know when you want help with that Main Street and More project!
By the way, in the 1990's, the Lake County Historical Society, with lots of work by Dr. Clyde Brashier, Jon Lauck, and other local folks put together a monster county history book stuffed with great photos like this. I've been thinking it would be cool to have an online version of that book (add that to the list of projects!). If you have more photos of old Madison, share them with the world! Log in and upload them to the Historic Madison album on RealMadison.org.
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