Marble plaques mounted near the main (southwest) entrance to the building list the names, rank and regimental affiliation of “Madison volunteers in the war for the Union 1861-1865.” The plaques both have about 68 names each.
Immediately alongside the entrance, similar marble plaques list residents who served in the First World War. An honor roll inside the building lists the names and dates of death of four residents who died in the American Revolution; 41 who were killed in the Civil War; seven who were killed in World War I; nine in World War II; three in Korea; and three in Vietnam.
The high total for the Civil War reflects in part the concentration of Madison residents in the 14th Regiment of the Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, which saw its first action at the Battle of Antietam less than three months after its formation in May of 1862. Of the 41 residents killed in the Civil War, a dozen died between Antietam (September 17) and the end of 1862.
Memorial Town Hall, as the building is known today, was built to honor the town’s Civil War veterans. Like several communities in the state, Madison was divided on the idea of building a now-traditional Civil War monument or using the money for a more-practical civic building.
In the end, Madison got both because Vincent Meigs Wilcox a wealthy merchant who had donated to the Memorial hall fundraising efforts, also sponsored the construction of the Wilcox Soldiers’ Monument. That monument, which we highlighted in a September post, is located about three-quarters of a mile to the west in Madison’s West Cemetery.
Memorial Hall served as a community and recreation center until 1938, when it was converted into Madison’s Town Hall. In 1995, when the current town hall was built, the hall was renovated again and today hosts several municipal offices and meeting rooms, as well as the Charlotte L. Evarts Memorial Archives.
The large banner on the southern side of the building honors the 335 residents who served in World War II (denoted by the blue star) and the nine who were lost in the conflict (honored by the gold star).
A bust outside the hall honors James Madison, the fourth president of the United States. A series of nearby monuments honor the service of local veterans in the American Revolution, World War I, and World War II, Korea and Vietnam.