Brick by Brick: Building Madison

In 1856, the City of Madison was born when the Illinois railroad company set up their Madison Station. One year ago, we took a close look at how much Madison has developed in recent decades.

Forty years ago, Madison was a small community where the biggest things in town were the strawberries, but over the decades, it has attracted thousands of families, followed by restaurants, stores, schools, and churches.

In the past year, a new Courtyard by Marriott hotel has opened at Highway 463 and Highland Colony Parkway, along with a new Starbucks and C Spire.

Academy Sports and Hobby Lobby opened on the new Crawford Farms Road and Ichiban and Raising Cane’s opened across the street from each other on Grand View Parkway.

Mary Hawkins Butler has been mayor of Madison since 1981 and still remembers those early conversations with residents about the town’s future.

READ MORE: 3 On Your Side Special Report: Building Madison, Brick by Brick

“They wanted Madison to maintain that small-town atmosphere, but they wanted all the conveniences of a larger city,” said Mayor Mary So how do you do that? It’s a balancing act.”

They have strict rules for building and design. That’s evident everywhere you look.

“I know of no other city that has an in-house designer that can assist architects or their designer in putting together a plan that meets the overall design of the city,” explained Butler.

But she says no one wants to live or shop here if they don’t feel safe, so police protection has been a priority since Day One.