Madison, the county seat of Morgan County, Georgia, is a small community (population 3,636) with a big commitment to its history and historic preservation. Founded in 1809, "The Town that Sherman Refused to Burn" escaped extensive destruction during the Civil War.
Today, Madison contains a wealth of antebellum and Victorian buildings, from modest cottages to opulent town houses with formal gardens to impressive public buildings. Most of the city falls within the boundaries of the Madison Historic District, one of Georgia's largest designated historic areas.
At the heart of Madison's cultural life is the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center, housed in an adaptively used Romanesque-Revival style school from 1895.
Madison is also home to the Morgan County African-American Museum and several house museums, including the Rogers House (1810), Heritage Hall (1811), and the Rose Cottage (1891). The city is an important stop on several tourist trails, including Georgia's Antebellum Trail, the March to the Sea Civil War Heritage Trail, and Georgia's Antiques Trail.
To provide incentives for commercial property owners to improve their buildings, Madison's Downtown Development Authority has partnered with Downtown Design and Development, Inc., and property owners in implementing a downtown façade grant program. Every dollar awarded has leveraged nearly six dollars in façade improvements.
Madison's historic properties are being used as a living laboratory for students to learn about their heritage. The Richter Cottage, headquarters of the Morgan County Landmarks Society, is used as a teaching tool in the school system's heritage education program.
The City's Historic Preservation Commission was created in 1987 and administers the community's historic preservation ordinance. Madison has been designated a Certified Local Government by the National Park Service and is also a Main Street Community.
Designated a Preserve America Community in March 2004.