Like the Victorian-era Frazee home at the west end of Main Street, Madison is rich in history. Founded in 1857, the town moved downriver one and one-half miles in 1879 to the newly-constructed Santa Fe railroad. The Missouri-Pacific soon added a line. Already a bustling cattle and farm trade center, Madison became an actual boom town in 1921 with the discovery of oil. The population soared, the housing shortage was acute, and retail businesses multiplied in number to accommodate the feverish growth of the oil field economy. Along with agriculture, oil is still an important part of Madison's economy.
With its combination of lowland timber and upland prairie, the countryside around Madison is full of wildlife that will appeal to the nature lover. Numerous deer, turkey, quail, and prairie chicken attract hunters from across the nation, while fishermen flock to the area's creeks, farm ponds, watersheds, and, of course, the Verdigris River.