• Chamber History

  • Madison Athletic and Cycle Club, Madison Indiana, Madison Chamber of Commerce, Jefferson County Historical Society
  • Madison Athletic and Cycle Club, courtesy of the Jefferson County Historical Society
       
       
     

  • The Madison Area Chamber of Commerce was first organized in 1883 as the Merchants and Manufacturers Club, which later developed into the Madison Athletic and Cycle Club. The Club “encouraged businessmen to come in and spend their leisure time on such activities as pool and checkers while providing a relaxed atmosphere in which to exchange ideas and information.” 

    The Chamber would change names again, calling itself the Commercial Club of Madison in 1912, establishing a New Industries Committee of the Commercial Club Madison. It was not until 1924 when the present Chamber was founded, then named the Chamber of Commerce of the City of Madison, charted to “carry on the work of promoting the industrial, business, and civic life in Jefferson County.” 

    Their name changed again to the Madison Area Chamber of Commerce in 1976. The MACC established ownership of its current building, at 301 E. Main Street, in 1998.

     

  • Timeline of the Chamber

    • 1883: MACC was first organized in 1883 as the Merchants and Manufacturers Club, which later developed into the Madison Athletic and Cycle club
    • 1901: First Chautauqua Art Festival
    • 1912: MACC changes name calling itself the Commercial Club, establishing a New Industries Committee of the Commercial Club Madison
    • 1916: The Commercial Club appointed to research the idea of a state park in Madison, contemplating “Cedar Cliff, Clifty Falls and valley, or most any tract of land overlooking the river.” The Club felt “quite sure that no county in Indiana can offer anything superior in the way of national park sites, to those afforded to Jefferson County…” The funding would come from “voluntary offering by public spirited citizens” and would be one of the first state parks in Indiana
      • Later established the national park known today as Clifty Falls State Park
    • 1919: Helped Madison gain another factory – the Sterling Glass Company (built on North Mulberry, where Brophy’s belt factory was previously), creating numerous jobs for the community
    • 1924: Supported the establishment of a hotel at the Clifty Falls State Park 
      • Commercial Club changes name to Chamber of Commerce of the City of Madison
      • First Annual MACC Dinner
    • 1925: MACC’s new industries committee aids Houghten & Company, a glove manufacture from Cincinnati, in establish a factory on North Mulberry St., and was “expected to be a growing addition to Madison’s industries.”
    • 1926: Clifty Inn Hotel: Chamber, who dedicated the new building, holds an opening on Madison Day for the public.
      • “There are only five hotels like this in the world, and the completion of the hotel…is the realization of a vision that…the Chamber of Commerce have had for many years….it means money brought into Madison…and the further opening and revelation of our attractions to thousands pf people yearly…This opening will be a historical occasion, marking a new epoch in the history of Madison…”
    • 1927: Helped open “The Nor Rose” silver fox ranch, a “legitimate enterprise…There is a wide market and a great demand for its products…”
    • 1937: Chamber located a new rug factory, Superior Textiles Inc. in an old brewery building on Park Avenue. The Chamber also secured a new factory, located in the old Schofield woolen mill.
      • Formation of an industrial foundation, in which the incorporators are the presidents of the local service clubs. “Hereafter, the chamber of commerce, thru the industrial foundation, will sell foundation shares, take securities of the industry and by membership on the board of industry see that the subscribers to the fund are protected fully.”
        • “The chamber of commerce has plans which are being put into operation and which will change the picture of Madison. It is essential that the business men of this city get behind this movement to bring new industries to Madison…”
    • 1939: Chamber asks for donations for completion of assets of the Longini Shoe Company of Cincinnati, giving an estimated 200 to 400 people employment, plus bringing in new residents. It occupied the third and fourth floors of the Eagle cotton mill building. “It is the sincere hope of one and all that the city’s new industrial venture will be outstanding and prove the turning point for bigger and better things in Madison.”
    • 1945: Madison Industries, Inc. signed with the Chamber to erect a building for the manufacturing of smokeless and standard furnaces, adjacent to Pennsylvania railroad in North Madison with the help of locally raised funds by the Chamber, and was leased to Williamson Heater Co. – creating about 150 jobs o (Annual Dinner Speech given by Clarence A. Jackson, Exec. VP of Indiana State Chamber of Commerce:
      • “The basic product of every local Chamber of Commerce should be ‘Good government in my town and county’…The only chamber I want to be associated with is the one that reflects the spirit of the community, and that reflection must be a sincere desire to do and to keep on doing everything necessary to make that community, the state, and the nation look and work toward ever-increasing high ideals…’The chamber of commerce is not a trade organization; it is not a farm bureau; not a labor union, a banker, retailer or barber association; not a YMCA, a church or ladies’ aid. It is the best of all of these coming together to accomplish their common objective…’ The modern chamber of commerce, Mr. [Charles A.] Jackson [the executive vice-president of the Indiana State Chamber of Commerce] asserted, is a reflection of the spirit of the community… [it is] designed to benefit the whole community.”)
    • 1949: MACC is stated as a “democratic organization. Derives its authority from its membership. Affiliation with the Chamber affords an opportunity to participate in projects designed and sponsored by it for the betterment of the community.”
    • 1950: Chamber committees were appointed by Chamber President Herbert Copeland, including membership, streets & highways, municipal affairs, agriculture, taxes & legislation, new industries, retail merchants, [etc.] o Receives aid from Louisville’s Chamber of Commerce for their bid for location of a U.S. Air Force academy in Jefferson County
      • Madison joins in “operating on fast or daylight savings time…” along with Kentucky and other fast towns and cities in Indiana
      • MACC sponsors Business, Industry, Education Day in Jefferson County
      • Chamber arranged for the Liberty Bell to visit Madison on its weeklong tour of Southern Indiana, “in connection with the current Independence savings bond…” Chamber President, Herbert Copeland, acts as master of ceremonies.
      • MACC suggests/requests repairs on Broadway Fountain
    • 1952: MACC meets to discuss “improved parking facilities, cleaner alleys and other topics of a civic progress nature…”
      • Chamber members adopted a proposal to hold weekly luncheons, every Tuesday at noon, at the Fiesta restaurant. They will be “informal in nature, for development of mutual understanding and discuss topics of interest to the chamber and community.”
      • MACC hosts a fourth “organizational meeting of representatives of southern Indiana’s 42 counties…” at Clifty Inn in order to adopt a constitution with by-laws following state nonprofit charter laws.
      • MACC sponsors the organization of a new chamber in Orange County (West Baden–French Lick). MACC was approached because Orange County problems “closely followed the pattern of this city’s difficulties with which the chamber here dealt successfully.”
    • 1954: Plans for a national manufacturer of hydraulics lifts to establish a unit in Madison.
    • 1958: Chain Belt Co. purchases a tract of land in order to build a large manufacturer plant
    • 1959: MACC aids in financial arrangement with The Grote Manufacturing Company; Grote was to occupy factory on the north side of the hilltop
      • MACC sets up meetings with Pennsylvania Railroad officials in “an effort to get early restoration of rail services into old Madison…”
      • Plans for a new hill road to “connect the old city underneath the hill to the new portion of the city that was annexed in 1952” are made
      • Chamber proposes off-street parking lots
      • First community service award given to local hotelman, John E. Lucht, for his role in the fund drive for expansion and modernization of King’s Daughters’ Hospital
    • 1960:
      • Retail merchants of Madison vote for new closing hours for the city’s business district stores – the new time was set at 5pm for Saturdays and 9pm on Fridays, giving a five month trial period
      • MACC suggests that a plan should be set up for the “retention of historical buildings and landmarks” in Madison, citing the Sullivan house, the Shrewsbury house, St Paul’s Lutheran Church, the Costigan home, St Michael’s Church and other local homes and buildings.
        • New Historic Madison, Inc. created in response. MACC and Historic Madison Inc. hope to “facilitate the preservation of local landmarks and to encourage the number of visitors to the city each year…”
      • MACC plans to take over financial control of the Regatta. The Regatta Association was struggling financially and asked MACC to provide money for the year’s race
      • MACC receives keys to the “Majestic” showboat, and will then turn them over to its new owners of IU University. Former owner was Roy Reynolds
      • MACC’s State Highway Commission plans a two year program to relocate US421. They also plan to build a new bridge over Crooked Creek near the Finnegan farm on state road 62 as part of 421’s relocation
      • MACC responsible for Penn. railroad repairs
    • 1970: MACC favors the construction of a 92-apartment complex across from highway 107
      • MACC’s transportation committee meets with Congressman Lee Hamilton and Senator Vance Hartke to “discuss the fate of the Penn Central Railroad.” PCR was approved by the Senate for a multimillion aid in its bankruptcy. The concern was over it being shut down, which would affect many local industries.
    • 1973: The Environmental Control and Beautification committee of MACC sets up a contest for growing the largest sunflower. The winner would receive a $100 savings bond, donated by Madison Bank & Trust. The main areas the ECB were to focus on were Hanging Rock Hill and the “beautification of Madison’s riverfront.”
    • 1974: MACC joins PRIDE (Partner in Reducing Indiana’s Deficiency in Energy), an energy conservation program
    • 1976: Discussion on changing the name of the organization to Madison Area Chamber of Commerce, which was accepted by the board.
      • The MACC was instrumental in the W. Main Street bridge opening
    • 1977: Madison Business and Professional Association gives first Dwight “Speedy” Mills Motivation Award
    • 1980: First Historic Madison Candlelight Tour/Nights Before Christmas
    • 1981: Junior Achievement Company, Business Youth of Madison, begins program – sponsored by Grote and supported by MACC
    • 1983: Leadership Jefferson County (Sponsored by MACC) hosts first annual leadership training program
    • 1984: MACC endorses ‘the concept of a tourist train operation based in Madison…in the interest of expanding the economic base of Jefferson County: and in recognition of the economic importance of tourism development for this area…’
      • MACC holds first Annual Economic Forecast Forum
      • MACC moves from former Heritage Square to the First Bank of Madison building at 101 W. Main Street
      • MIDCOR (Madison Industrial Development Corporation) formed. A local industrial, nonprofit base that promotes economic development.
    • 1985: Jefferson County Board of Tourism accepts an Indiana Travel and Tourism Award, much to the help of “The Magic of Madison” and support of MACC
      • MACC sponsors Leadership Jefferson County again, a “six month series of seminars to identify and train potential leaders in the community.”
    • 1986: MACC’s Leadership Class was an instrumental partner with the Riverfront Development Committee seeks assistance in making the riverfront “more attractive and useful.”
      • MACC plans to implement a revitalization program for downtown Madison with a revitalization committee headed by Merritt Alcorn
    • 1987: First Bloomin’ Cup, which is a sponsorship of MACC, created for the beautification project of downtown Madison
      • The Riverfront Development Committee makes plans to renovate the riverfront, from Vaughn Drive to Elm Street, with overlooks and brick sidewalks
      • Leadership Jefferson County hosts first golf fund-raising tournament/scramble at Sunrise Golf Course to “raise funds to maintain and facilitate growth of the present program as well as to implement a Youth Leadership Jefferson County program in the fall…”
      • MBPA and MIDCOR work together to arrange for the Madison area industries to set up window displays on Main Street downtown
    • 1988: MACC drafts the proposal bylaws and establishment of a Convention and Visitor’s Bureau
      • Partners in Community Business Retention and Expansion program: MACC and Indiana Gas Company join to “help communities identify the strengths of the business climate along with areas need improvement.”
      • The Southeastern Indiana Small Business Development Center officially opens, which is a “resource for prospective small businesses and for small business already in operation. It will provide…counseling, training, workshops and seminars, as well as written materials.” SBDC was developed through the efforts of MACC.
      • MACC supports the Old Mill Cotton Project
      • MACC hosts the regional economic development congress at Clifty Inn
    • 1989: “The Madison Area Chamber of Commerce leads the voluntary efforts of area business and civic minded professionals in the fight to maintain a local environment where businesses and individuals can prosper. The Chamber encourages the growth of existing industries and businesses, while assisting new one seeking to locate in the Madison area. The Madison Area Chamber of Commerce is interested in ‘total community development.’ The Chamber works to match community needs with community resources; and where there are no resources for a particular need, the Chamber helps create new resources. While the Chamber does seek to promote and protect business, the ultimate goal is to improve the community. The Chamber’s job is community development. This includes development of industry and trade, handling civic activities, publicity and public relations for the community, and many others. The variety and - scope of activities is virtually unlimited, depending on the needs of the community and the desire and ability of the chamber to carry them out…For over one hundred years, Madison has benefited from responsible, involved individuals who have cooperated to make the city a better place to live and grow and prosper…Growth, tourism, commitment, promotion, improvements and cooperation are all refrains which endure the passage of time precisely because they are vitally important to the maintenance of the economic and social fabric of this community,…Our Madison Area Chamber of Commerce is now an every-growing information bank, an active teaching facility, a non-political forum for the discussion of ideas and a coordinator of action and activity – altogether a much more sophisticated solution to the dictates and needs of a much more complex era… ”
      • 1989-1990 Action Plan: “Our community has seen enormous changes in employment levels, business creation and attrition, education, tourism development, preservation efforts, and many more….[MACC] has to predict both subtle and marked trends and changes which will impact on the overall quality of life…To accomplish its many objectives, the chamber has undergone an intensive evaluation of its past to determine its strengths and weaknesses, an opportunities and threats influencing both the chamber and the community’s futures…The process…will continue to develop a strategic plan…Flexibility for needed updating and adaptation will be built into the plan. Becoming a proactive organization charting its own future effectively, clearly communicating the mission, objectives and programs, and providing the leadership for achievement is the philosophy of leadership and the ongoing goal of the organization. It will happen through the hundreds of people who make up its diverse membership, through a spirit of teamwork and vision for a better future.”
      • Abetted by MACC, Madison premiers a new event, “Madison in Bloom.” It is “designed to not only bring visitors to Madison, but also to promote local beautification among Courierarea residents.”
      • Debate, issues on the closing of JPG – The Chamber joins in the petition to keep JPG open
      • First Youth Leadership Jefferson County, a youth program designed to bring high school and college students together to “learn about leadership and how to make their communities able to meet the needs of the future,” a success.
      • MACC considers a Main Street Program and looks for those interested in joining
        • Main Street Program then approved by City Council
    • 1990: Chamber’s first Tele-Auction held at the Community Developed Complex o MACC receives grant to “establish and operate a small business incubator in Madison,” to be the Indiana Small Business Incubator Program from Indiana Institute for New Business Ventures
    • 1992: First Annual Chamber Golf Classic
    • 1993: First Discover Downtown Madison event a success
      • Chamber receives a Community Planning Fund grant from the Indiana Department of Commerce to help finance a building-business research study
    • 1994: First Annual Regional Job Fair
      • MACC sponsors “Key to the City” program, a “city-wide program giving businesses the opportunity to participate in a mid-week tourism promotion. The program…is designed to attract mid-week tourists through a direct mail promotion advertising restaurants, lodging, and retail stores.”
      • MACC selected as one in twenty Indiana communities to participate in the Indiana Leadership Initiative, which is a “program of the Lilly Endowment and the National Association for Community Leadership…The Indiana Leadership Initiative was established to create effective statewide 21st Century leaders who will transform Indiana communities.”
      • Co-sponsored the first nine Regional Job Fair in July
      • Supported mixed use plan including industrial development park for the reuse of JPG
        • The Regional Manufacturing Extension Center began assistance in a major economic development project involving the reuse JPG
      • Sponsored the opening ceremony for the Madison Tobacco Market
      • Sponsored the first Career Day for “county wide eighth graders to explore career options and focus on high school classes.”
    • 1995: Venture Out Business Center breaks ground as the new business incubator. It began building on Section 8 of the Madison Industrial Park
      • City Hall meeting about possible alternatives for the Madison-Milton Bridge. The meeting was sponsored by MACC in order to “prepare and direct the city’s overall pursuit of a new or renovated bridge.”
    • 1996: MACC receives a grant/tax credits from the Neighborhood Assistance Program to use for training in the VOBC
    • 1997: MACC proposes a “Festival of Lights”
      • First Business Citizenship Award given to Sherman, Barber & Mullikin, CPA's
    • 1998: The City transfers the ownership of the Heritage Square building to MACC (301 E. Main St.) – its current building
      • SBDC offers a “new and improved 10-week ‘Entrepreneurial Training Program,’” sponsored by Cinergy PSI o Regional director of SBDC Connie Combs named counselor of year for the state of Indiana
      • MACC creates a Legislative Affairs Task Force
      • Convention and Visitor Bureau receives grant to “help publish the first local scene catalog in the state. The catalog will include photos and descriptions of locations film makers could use in movies.”
      • First Madison Art Club Annual Regional Fall Art Show
    • 1999: Start of annual Great Event: it is “designed to introduce new residents of Jefferson County and new Hanover College students to what Madison and the rest of Jefferson County has to offer…It is a joint effort of the Collaborative Marketing Project of Jefferson County, 65 other organization, Hanover college and the local agriculture community.”
      • MACC celebrates 75 years of success
    • 2000: First Regional Business Expo
    • 2001: MACC starts the first Technology Showcase
    • 2002: SBDC starts new NxLevel entrepreneurial training program, providing a “practical, hands-on approach to developing their small business…”
      • Delta Queen Steamboat Co. riverboats plans to make 16 stops in Madison, which the MACC helped coordinate
    • 2003: Madison SCORE chapter receives charter
      • Energize Indiana launched: “…a two-year budget law [that] includes $75 million over the next two years to foster research-and-development ventures between business and universities and to move their products to market.”
      • Chamber’s Skill Enhancement fund gives grant to Rotary Lift to “train employees in blueprint reading, electronics, hydraulic maintenance and computer skills.”
      • SBDC named best in the state; Shirley Kloepfer named the statewide Minority Small Business Advocate of the year by the Small Business Administration
      • US Department of Agriculture grants $300,000 towards VOBC Food Ventures kitchen
      • First Annual Soup, Stew, Chili and Brew; sponsored by MACC, was a “great success”
      • MIDCOR convenes a Information Technology Infrastructure Task Force to investigate “broadband wireless technology and an extension of fiber optic connections…”
    • 2004: MACC sponsors Jefferson County Leadership Academy
      • “Careers Online” moves to Madison; headquarters in VOBC and assisted by MIDCOR
      • MACC sponsors first “Good to the Bone” rib-eating competition at Ribberfest
      • Carroll County Chamber partners with MACC and VOBC
      • Madison joins as one of eight Indiana cities where “quality-of-life plans wills be locally written and implemented as part of the state’s new CLEAN Community Challenge.”
      • WorkOne Center opens, offering employment and training services as well as technology and equipment
    • 2005: MACC sponsors an inaugural No Limit Texas Hold’em Poker Tournament
      • VOBC and MACC receives state grants – to go towards the kitchen equipment and food products of the business incubator
      • Madison Area Convention and Visitors Bureau create the Ohio River Valley Folk Festival that “will center around the area’s combined heritage, the history of the Ohio River and the development of the Ohio River Valley…[It is] a way to draw people to Madison’s riverfront for two days of educational, entertaining events.”
      • MACC breaks ground for the Ohio Valley Food Venture on Industrial Drive
      • Madison Main Street Program revives “Music in the Park”
    • 2006: Downtown Madison designated as a National Historic Landmark District
      • First “Cars on Main” event, promoted by Main Street Program
      • Supports and helps propel the rehab/upgrade of the Milton-Madison Bridge
      • Madison a finalist in the All-American City competition
    • 2007: Aids in the transfer of money from the JC Commission Board to the City for the “purchase of a proposed industrial park at the corner of Hutchinson Land and Shun Park.” The grant came from the city of Lawrenceburg
      • Madison-Milton Bridge rehab – Wilbur Smith Associates in Lexington chosen as head consultants
      • Belterra Casino and Madison-Jefferson County Economic Development Corp. reach agreement in using game revenues to fund city improvements, especially in regards to road improvements
      • The Lilly Endowment started EcO15 (Economic Opportunities through Education) with $26 million in grants to the Columbus-based Community Education Coalition and $12 million in grants to the Heritage Fund-The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County, also in Columbus. The grants were to be used on behalf of 10 counties in southeastern Indiana, including Jefferson County. EcO15 was and still is strongly supported by MACC.
    • 2008: Aids in the Old Timbers Lodge restoration and renovation
    • 2009: Courthouse fire on May 20th
      • Madison celebrates bicentennial in June
    • 2010: Supports the JC Clearinghouse purchase and renovation, funded by LILLY grant application
      • Rebuilding of Courthouse cupola - Courthouse construction project
      • Parks board look into “setting a fee structure for the use of Bicentennial Park and will contact businesses about using Crystal Beach swimming pool as a perk for employees rather than giving them passes to out-of-town recreation spots.”
      • Rezoning of downtown properties from general business to residential
      • Helps Madison receive a federal grant for wireless network – based on WiMAX technology, broadband wireless network
      • Aids the city in the Economic Development Revolving Loan Fund program for Madison businesses
      • Fourth Friday Art and Shop Hop (previously called Art Jam) debuts in Madison, sponsored by the Main Street Program
      • HMI celebrates 50th Anniversary
    • 2012: MACC and the Jefferson County EcO15 Initiative, and the Community Foundation of Madison and Jefferson County sponsor Manufacturing Day, to highlight the high-skills and technology-driven jobs available in the area. This is first time the event has been held locally, which coincided with National Manufacturing Day.
    • 2013: Jefferson County Industrial Development Corporation (JCIDC) is a private, non-profit 501(c)4 corporation funded by local government and participation from the private sector. JCIDC exists “To improve the economic climate of Jefferson County, to recruit new industries, and to retain and expand existing industries, all of which improve the quality of life in Jefferson County and the surrounding area.”
      • EcO15 awards $40,000 in funding to local schools
    • 2015: The City proclaims May 4-8 as Chamber of Commerce Week in Madison for the work that Chamber of Commerce professionals do each year.
      • City of Madison Redevelopment Commission partners with Madison Consolidated Schools with approval of significant funding of advanced manufacturing training at the Innovation Center.
      • The Indiana Arts Commission (IAC) announced that Madison has been added to the Indiana Statewide Cultural Districts Program
      • Madison advances in America’s Best Communities Competition, winning $50,000 for the city as a quarterfinalist [#ABC50]

      

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