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Jeremiah Sullivan House

Jeremiah Sullivan House


lat: 38.735753 long: -85.382419

The Jeremiah Sullivan House was built in 1818 and is considered Madison’s first mansion. The house’s stately federal-style structure was home to one of Madison’s most famous leaders. Sullivan and his family lived in the home for over 70 years. This monument is now owned and maintained by Historic Madison, Inc.

Historic Madison, Inc. has worked since 1960 to preserve the unique history that has earned Madison its national reputation. HMI is the oldest, most trusted organization that is dedicated to historic preservation in the city. HMI has grown from its founding in 1960 by John T. Windle and a group of preservation-minded business leaders to save Jeremiah Sullivan’s 1820s house from demolition. Today, HMI is recognized as a leading local historic preservation organization in the United States.

In 1809, a flood of ambitious immigrants transformed a log cabin hamlet into one of the state’s leading cities: Madison, Indiana. These immigrants invested their wealth from real estate, banking, trade, farming, milling, and other industries in astounding, beautiful buildings. When the Civil War broke out, river trade dried up, setting back Madison more than 60 years of progress.

While the town slowly evolved after the Civil War, the town did not truly begin rehabilitation until the 1950s. By that time, Main Street business owners reconstructed storefronts, erasing beautiful architectural details like carved stone, metal window trim and decorative iron. Some even covered their properties over with aluminum or simply demolished buildings to create parking lots.

Another threat arose in 1960: A developer wanted to tear down the Jeremiah Sullivan House, a Federal-style landmark from the 1820s, to build a gas station.

John T. Windle, an antiquities dealer and community activist, teamed up with a group of local business people to raise funds to purchase the home at auction and prevent the demolition. Historic Madison was born.

What started with one house became a movement that revitalized the entire city and preserved its most important historical aspects.

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