The Rise and Fall of River and Rail transportation in Madison, Indiana.

Riverboat Boom

Riverboats at MadisonThe mid-to-late 19th century marked the Golden Age of the steamers on America’s inland waterways. Madison, in particular, benefitted from this boom with the establishment of several successful shipyards, which in addition to its already favorable location, made it one of the major port cities in the central Ohio River Valley. Unfortunately, this era of fortune and progress was tainted by America’s horrific Civil War. During the conflict Madison played its part, staunchly supporting the Union cause with troops and the production of numerous steamers used by the U.S. Navy.