A subscription library in East Guilford (now Madison), called the “Farmers’ Library,” had existed from 1792 until the 1860s. A new Madison Library Association was formed in 1878. The library’s collection was housed in various places in town until it was lost in a fire in 1895. Eighteen books survived (those checked out at the time of the fire) and the Library Association soon resumed operations. A permanent home for the library was built at 801 Boston Post Road on the corner of Wall Street in Madison in 1900 by Miss Mary Eliza Scranton, who offered the fully furnished building to the town. The library was designed by Henry Bacon, later the architect of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. In 1901, the Library Association was dissolved and the E.C. Scranton Memorial Library was incorporated.
One of Connecticut’s oldest surviving houses is the Meigs-Bishop House, at 45 Wall Street in Madison. It is Madison’s second oldest house after the 1685 Deacon John Grave House. The Meigs-Bishop House was built in 1690 by Janna Meigs on land he had received from his father, Deacon John Meigs. As related in the Record of the Descendants of Vincent Meigs: Who Came from Dorsetchire, England, to America about 1635 (1901), by Henry B. Meigs:
Capt. Janna was evidently a man of education, as the importance of the many offices he filled would indicate; was deacon in the church; represented his district in the legislature of the Colony of Connecticut in 1716-’17-’18 and 1726; and was Justice of the Peace for New Haven Colony, annually from 1722 to 1733 inclusive, a position of greater importance then than now. In military life he was Captain of a Company in the Queen Ann wars.
He left the house to his son, Lt. Janna Meigs, who deeded it to his first cousin, Capt. Phineas Meigs. After serving in the Revolutionary War from 1777 to 1780, Capt. Meigs retired from the army and was named captain of the Guilford militia. On May 19, 1782, three British frigates tried to capture an American schooner that had run aground on a sand bar. Capt. Meigs set out from his Wall street home leading his men to battle British soldiers who had landed on shore. In the ensuing fight, Capt. Meigs was shot through the head. He is believed to be the last New Englander to be killed in an action against the British in the Revolutionary War. The green wool round hat he was wearing that night survives and is in the collection of the Connecticut Historical Society. It bears the entry and exit holes of the musket ball that killed Capt. Meigs.
Later owned by the Bishop family, the house has most recently been used for a succession of businesses.
The Abraham Scranton House, a Colonial saltbox at 548 Boston Post Road in Madison, opposite the Green, may have been built in 1703, 1720 or 1750. The latter date is when it came into the Scranton family.
The Jonathan Trumbull Lee House is a Greek Revival-style residence built in 1828. It is located at 534 Boston Post Road, across from the Green in Madison. The house has a barn, inside of which is a beam with the words “Built April 13, 1871″ painted on it.
Lee Academy was built as a schoolhouse in 1821, at the corner of the Boston Post Road and Neck Road in Madison. It was named for Captain Frederick Lee, who had led the effort to establish a private college preparatory school in town, and the new building was constructed across the street from his own house. Capt. Lee had also been the one to propose Madison as a name for the new town in 1826. Although built with a proviso that it would never be moved, the school building has been relocated several times: in 1836 to the western end of the town Green; in 1839 (when it began to serve as a district school, continuing to accommodate the preparatory school as well until 1884) to a plot across from the Green’s northeast corner; in 1896 (making way for the construction of Memorial Hall) to a location behind the Hand Academy. In 1923, the Madison Historical Society began to manage the building, which was moved, for the last time, to its present location, facing west toward the Green. Having housed a number of organizations and businesses over the years, Lee Academy is now used as a museum and as offices for the Historical Society.
In 1800 [the sign on the house indicates c. 1815], Capt. Curtis Wilcox built a house on the Boston Post Road in Madison and lived there with his wife, Wealthy Hill, the daughter of Reuben Hill and Hannah Scranton. Wilcox became Madison’s first postmaster and his house was the first post office (see pdf file). In 1823, twelve prominent citizens of Madison (then called East Guilford) gathered at the Wilcox House where, under the leadership of Frederick Lee, they started to remedy the community’s lack of its own wharf by pledging a thousand dollars for the construction of West Wharf, completed in 1824. Curtis Wilcox was appointed the first wharfmaster (see pdf file) and many ships were constructed there.
When Sereno H. Scranton of Madison married Susan Roxanna Doud in 1833, his father, Jonathan Scranton, presented the couple with a new Greek Revival home on the Boston Post Road. Sereno Scranton was a prominent citizen of Madison, who owned many merchant ships and served as a state representative and senator. He was also president of the Shoreline Railroad. Today, the house is the Scranton Seahorse Inn.