Madison is a borough in Morris County, New Jersey, in the United States. It is known as “The Rose City”. The Morris and Essex Railroad connected the town with Newark and Hoboken in 1838 and provided good transportation for farm produce grown at Madison. Later, the railroad made possible the establishment of a flourishing rose growing industry, still commemorated in Madison’s nickname, The Rose City. The rail service connected the commerce to the markets of Manhattan. Madison’s growth accelerated after the Civil War and the Morris and Essex Lines became one of America’s first commuter railroads, attracting well-to-do families from Manhattan (many of whom already owned large parcels land in the area for farming, hunting, and recreation) and contributing to the development of “Millionaire’s Row,” which stretched from downtown Madison to downtown Morristown. Greenhouses dotted the countryside. Talented horticulturalists were attracted to the area for employment at the many wealthy estates in the immediate area and to establish related businesses. One of the first grand houses to be built on “Millionaire’s Row” was the Ross Estate.
The rose industry and the large estates in the area attracted working-class people of all kinds. As a result, Madison developed a diverse population very early, both in terms of socioeconomic status and ethnic background. The original settlers were of British stock; French settlers came after the American Revolution; African Americans have been members of the community from early in the nineteenth century; Irish came in the mid-nineteenth century; and then Germans and Italians arrived around the turn of the twentieth century. To this day there is a substantial population of Italian descent in Madison. Today Madison also remains a diverse community, with many of the more recent newcomers arriving from Central America, South America, and Asia. Madison is a railroad suburb of New York City.
Madison’s downtown is supported by the Madison Downtown Development Commission and a downtown manager. Many historical buildings remain in the community. The Madison Civic Commercial Historic District, which includes much of “downtown” as well as the borough hall and the train station, is listed on the State Register of Historic Places. The borough hall and the train station were donated to the community by Geraldine R. Dodge and Marcellus Hartley Dodge, Sr. as a memorial to their son who died in an automobile crash shortly after his graduation from Princeton University. Commercial vacancy rates are low. In recent years Madison has become noted for the number and quality of its restaurants.