This is a photo of the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center. "The Madison-Morgan Cultural Center is located in Madison’s 1895 Romanesque Revival style public graded school building. Romanesque Revival reflects the popularity of the ancient and exotic style popular at the end of the eighteenth century. Constructed of red brick with slate roof, electricity, and interior finishes of heart pine and plaster, the building stands as a monument to the creative ingenuity prevalent at the turn of the century."
"Most rural areas built one-room school houses well into the 20th century. However in 1895, Madison’s first graded school building was built to house Madison students, grades one through seven. The term ‘graded school,’ molded into the terra cotta panel over the door of the red-brick school house, refers to the progressive educational facility that offered the citizens of Madison a separate classroom for each grade. The students were not mingled into one or two rooms as they were in many of the outlying schools. The building was also one of the first brick schools in the area. Later a separate building was built for high school students, grades eight through eleven and, even later, a lunch room building and gymnasium were added to the property."
"Built by the Board of Education of the City of Madison, the building served as a public school until 1957, when the schools in the county consolidated and outgrew the old facility. The old Graded School on South Main Street was abandoned. The high school building and gym remained on the property. Concerned citizens petitioned the School Board and city and county governments to protect the building and to insure the protection and preservation of the elegant old structure. Even so, there was talk of razing the building. Then in the early 1960’s three civic minded men organized Morgan County Foundation, Inc. with the avowed purpose of securing the building and making it available to the public. Robert Turnell, Kay Tipton, and Joe Bell were the original trustees and worked with an eight member Advisory Board to endow the foundation and to decide upon a use. Public meetings, newspaper articles, and personal visits convinced many that the Foundation was an idea whose time had come. At that time the public library was housed in the upstairs of the gymnasium in a small and uncomfortable space. The Foundation board offered the main building to the Library Board to use as its headquarters and the library and staff subsequently moved in The building was shored in and the classrooms remodeled for bookshelves."
"Early in the 1970’s, members of the Library Board decided that the building was inadequate for their purposes and voted to construct a new building near the public schools. This again raised the question of what use to put the building. Time had taken its toll on the structure and major repairs were needed. The auditorium, in particular, was in dire need of work; the roof was leaking and the school rooms were in need of renovation."
"With advice from Dr. Philip Weltner, then Executive Director of the Woodruff Foundation and a longtime friend to Madison, and others, the decision was made to work toward restoring the building’s exterior and adapting the interior for use as a Center for the performing, visual and decorative arts, keeping in sight always the goal to retain as closely as possible the character of the original building. At that time Madison’s only large auditorium was at the high school and the town did not have a museum or art gallery. The Madison-Morgan Cultural Center opened its doors to the public for the first time on July 6, 1976." The quoted material is from the following website: www.mmcc-arts.org/eventlist.shtml.
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