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Sunday, February 25, 2024

A Historic Honor

Stanley Madison, founder and chairman of the Lyles Station Historic Preservation Group, recently recieved recognition for his long dedication to the Lyles Station Consolidated School. This fall, Indiana Landmarks bestowed Madison with the Williamson Prize for outstanding individual leadership in preservation.

“It is an awesome honor to receive this great recognition,” says Madison. “Even if you do work hard on projects and being involved in your community, it is an outstanding honor to be recognized across the countryside as a person who is a good role model for our young people.”

Built in 1922, the schoolhouse was a space for education in the Lyles Station settlement just outside Princeton, Indiana, which at its peak boasted 800 residents, a railroad station, post office, general stores, a lumber mill, schoolhouse, and successful farming industry and is one of the state’s last remaining black settlements from the Civil War era. The school closed in 1958 and by the 1990s was one of the most endangered historic structures in the state.

Then came Madison, who turned the dilapidated building into a museum that has attracted thousands of students since it opened to the public in June 2003. Evansville Living toured Lyles Station Consolidated School in the story “History Comes to Life” in the January/February 2016 issue.

“The project gave us a chance to bring kids to see what it was like back in the day,” says Madison. “It also taught a different view in young children and visitors about the history of African American farmers. My hope for the future with our project here is to expand and grow and bring more educational programs to our school district.”

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