Podcast: A more complete story

A new historic preservation effort in Madison aims to create a more human and inclusive approach to local history.

John and Amanda Hill's home and grocery store, in two adjoining buildings he bought in 1917 at the corner of Dayton and Blount Streets, were key landmarks of Madison's first African-American neighborhood. Image from

John and Amanda Hill’s home and grocery store, in two adjoining buildings he bought in 1917 at the corner of Dayton and Blount Streets, were key landmarks of Madison’s first African-American neighborhood. Image from “The Old Market Place Neighborhood: A Walking Tour,” published by the Madison Landmarks Commission Old Market Place Neighborhood Association.


When you think of “historic preservation,” you probably think a lot about buildings. That’s certainly how people in charge of local historic preservation efforts in Madison have tended to think about it for many years. The people behind a new project at the city of Madison are hoping to change that, making historic preservation more human and more inclusive. There are a lot of people and communities who shaped Madison’s history, but not all of them left behind beautiful historic homes or imposing monuments. Some of them had their neighborhoods torn down and their contributions deliberately left out of the story Madison tells about itself.

This week, Tone Madison contributor Chali Pittman speaks with four people involved in a new historic preservation initiative in Madison. She spoke with Amy Scanlon, Preservation Planner for the City of Madison, Toriana Pettaway, Equity Coordinator for the City of Madison, Jason Tish, a consultant on this historic preservation project and the founder of Archetype Historic Property Consultants, and former Executive Director of the Madison Trust for Historic Preservation, and Meghan Randolph, Office Manager at the Madison Trust for Historic Preservation.

Beginning with an online survey (open through December 8) and an ongoing series of community meetings, they’re hoping to open up the way Madison documents its history. You can learn more about the Madison Historic Preservation Plan and find out about more historic preservation discovery meetings planned for local neighborhoods here. The next meeting is planned for Wednesday November 29 at 6 p.m. at the Village on Park, 2300 S. Park St. If you want to contribute stories to the Madison Oral History Project, you can email Michael Spelman at the Madison Public Library or call him at 608-266-5900.

Our guests this week spoke about why they want to change the historic preservation process, the role of story and oral history, and their hope of telling a more complete story about Madison and its people.

Give the conversation a listen here, or subscribe to the Tone Madison podcast on Apple Podcasts. If you like what you’re hearing, please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts and consider supporting us financially with a few bucks a month through our Patreon.

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