Town of Madison
The Town of Madison is the county seat and commercial center. It is near the center of the county, near the intersections of the three major highways service the area – U.S. Route 29, State Route 230, and State Route 231. There are about 300 residents in the town whose north-south boundaries parallel Main Street. The Town is centrally located within Madison County and is approximately 78 miles southwest from Washington, D. C., 50 miles west from Fredericksburg, 30 miles north of Charlottesville, and 80 miles northwest of Richmond.
The Town of Madison was founded on January 6, 1800, by the General Assembly in response to a petition signed one month earlier by one hundred citizens of the county. The General Assembly established the Town at the courthouse and the nearby fifty (50) acres of land. Calling the new town Madison, after the new county of which it became the county seat, the Legislature ordered all of the fifty acres to be laid off in lots with convenient streets. The Legislature also appointed seven (7) men, including two (2) county justices, as its first trustees. The trustees were empowered to make rules for the regular building of houses and to settle all boundary disputes. In 1801, the General Assembly established within the Town of Madison the county’s first post office.
Two of the most famous and frequent visitors to the Town of Madison from 1929 to 1932 were President and Mrs. Herbert Hoover. President Hoover was involved in the selection and development of Hoover Camp in western Madison County as a presidential retreat and fishing lodge. For Madisonians, the social highlight of the 1920s was the celebration of Madison County Day on August 16, 1929, which drew 10,000 people to hear addresses by President Hoover and Governor Harry F. Byrd.
Since the 1990s, a crowd of 17,000 people is not unusual on the Saturday before Labor Day when the Town of Madison, population fewer than 300, is the location for the “Taste of the Mountains” festival sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. This event was first held in 1993. “Taste of the Mountains” 2008 included historic and educational displays, artisans and crafters, entertainment by musical groups, and food booths.
The Town of Madison (the only incorporated town in Madison County) is governed by a mayor and a four (4) member council, all of whom shall be qualified voters of the Town and are elected for a four (4) year term from the Town at large. The Mayor is the chief executive officer of the Town and votes only in tie-breaking situations. The Town Clerk, appointed by the council, oversees the daily operations of the Town.