September 30, 2007

Chiles and His Florida: Madison

On the Walk east across North Florida's green-and-gray trail, highway 90, Chiles went through a whole lot of fields and pine woods until he got to Madison, the county seat of Madison County. Madison gets no mention in the Walkin' Notes except a brief remark about integration in the public schools in 1970. He also notices the area is still shade tobacco country, but I never saw any relics of that industry. You do see relics of the cotton gin era.

From the looks of Madison circa 2007, it looks like the town once thrived on agriculture, since it's on a rail line and there's an agricultural co-op next to it. They've got a Main Street of antique shops and even Elmer's genealogical library but not much foot traffic on a Saturday afternoon. And they've got the Dial-Goza House, a gorgeous Victorian manor next to the town park.

The courthouse is nice, reminds me of the Gadsden County Courthouse.

The area may be poor, but it's rich in Confederate history. Seems to me that the closer you get to Olustee, which is on highway 90 closer to Jacksonville, the more Confederate lore crops up. The meager Confederate army of Florida turned back Union regulars--including the remnants of the storied 54th Massachusetts Union regiment--at Olustee. Tallahassee was never taken. And they've got the monuments to prove it.

Madison County Courthouse
Confederate in the town park
Dial-Gola House. The house is well-shaded, and each tree except the magnolia in front is draped with Spanish moss. I bet it'll look great and haunted on Halloween.
Spanish moss spider websThe town's motto appears to be "four freedoms." Not sure why.
Amtrak has a line through Madison. I assume it was used to haul cotton or tobacco in the old days.
Antiques Row, Madison
Old, massive cotton gin. Out of use since 1919.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What did Eli Whitney say to his drinking buddy?
Keep your hands off my cotton pickin gin!!!!