A Walking Tour of Madison, New Jersey
By Doug Gelbert
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There is no better way to see America than on foot. And there is no better way to appreciate what you are looking at than with a walking tour. This walking tour of Madison, New Jersey is ready to explore when you are. Each walking tour describes historical, architectural landmarks, cultural sites and ecclesiastic touchstones and provides step-by-step directions.Every tour also includes a quick primer on identifying architectural styles seen on American streets.The first English settlers showed up in this area at a crossroads identified today as Ridgedale Avenue and Kings Road. The makings of a town were taking shape by 1740 and the residents called it "Bottle Hill." It could be the only Bottle Hill in America today but in 1834, by the margin of one vote, the town opted to join the scores of other towns named after President James Madison.In 1856 the first greenhouses were built in Madison and soon long-stemmed roses were shipping to markets around the east. By the end of the 1800s there were more than fifty commercial greenhouses growing millions of roses, more than anywhere in the country. Madison was now known as "Rose City."Outside the greenhouses there were plenty of spectacular gardens on posh estates where wealthy New Yorkers were coming to live. Fifteen miles due west of Times Square, Madison was primed to be a commuter town on the expanding railroad lines.Today the rose growers are all gone but the town retains plenty of its past in adowntown designated a Commercial Historic District where Madison has been touched by the wealth that surrounded it. Our walking tour will begin where so many visitors first experience Madison - at the train depot...