History of Madison

Madison, Mississippi, named for James Madison, the fourth president of the United States, grew up along a bustling railroad track in pre-Civil War Mississippi. In 1856 the Illinois Central Railroad opened its Madison Station, the forerunner of today’s City of Madison. Although near-by Madisonville, a settlement established along the stagecoach route of the Natchez Trace, boasted a race track, two banks, a wagon factory and at least one hotel, its residents could not resist the lure of the future. madison the city ms cabooseThe newly established railroad community began to thrive, and Madisonville soon became extinct.

Like many railroad towns in the South, Madison Station fell victim to the Civil War. Just 10 miles from the state capital of Jackson, it was largely destroyed after the July 18-22, 1861, siege of Jackson. Although no battles were waged on Madison soil, Major General S.D. Lee, who ordered the first shot of the Civil War, concentrated his command in Madison Station during the month of February 1864. General Lee later became the first president of Mississippi A&M, now Mississippi State University. The railroad continued to serve as a magnet for business growth after the Civil War. In 1897, the Madison Land Company encouraged our northern neighbors to "Go South, and grow up with the country." Located in Chicago on the Illinois Central Railroad line, the Land Company’s interest in development prompted Madison to incorporate as a village, although the charter was later lost when regular elections were not held due to the failure of the "land boom."

The Land Company offered prime land for as little as $3 an acre. The company boasted that Mississippi had the lowest debt ratio in the nation at $19 per capita and that Mississippians were declared one third healthier by "official figures" than people in New York and Massachusetts. These figures were quoted with confidence in the Madison Land Company brochure by Bishop Hugh Miller Thompson, the Second Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Mississippi and a Madison resident, who hailed originally from the Wisconsin heartland.

Certified Retirement Community

Madison offers its residents a unique suburban hometown. Our city gives priority to safety, comfort and a small-town atmosphere, and is a popular choice for retirees. The city's retirement program offers senior adults numerous recreational, educational and cultural opportunities and programs. Madison is one of only 13 certified retirement communities in Mississippi. 

  • Madison The City Retirement Program - Page under construction


The City of Madison has always put the needs of its citizens first.  The city is filled with beautiful neighborhoods. Neighborhood homeowners associations come together in the Madison Organization of Neighborhood Associations (MONA) to share news, ideas and tips on how to better serve their residents and the city.