The very first item listed under the Purpose and Objectives of the town’s historic district preservation code is:
“To promote the use of historic districts for the education, pleasure, and welfare of the citizens of the Borough and its visitors and to promote civic pride in the Borough’s historic resources.”
That isn’t an objective that is just to preserve Madison’s old buildings. It is a purpose to preserve Madison’s history. History IS culture and community.
Madison is a time capsule of small town America. A vibrant downtown centered around a train station. It is why commercials, TV shows, and movies have used our town as a backdrop and setting. The town’s Americana is as a significant draw to new young families moving into town as the schools. It is the type of town they want their children to group up in. It is the town of their childhood… or their parent’s childhood.
And the local theater is 20th Century Americana. A cultural and community space where neighbors and families were entertained. It was a night out, leaving the television box at home. Movie theaters were once a part of every town, but now many towns have lost their stand-alone local theaters.
But the towns that have saved their theaters have kept their small town charm and have created vibrant communities spaces, drawing people to the town to see a show and then stay in town to have a bite to eat. The movie theater becomes a space of civic pride.
Once the theater is gone this piece of history, this part of our community, will be lost forever and there will be no building like it remaining in Madison. And piece by piece Madison loses more of its charm.
Making Madison look like any other suburban town is not progress.