Museum of Early Trades & Crafts

Walking the Map of Madison

Nancy & Brent Phillippi | October 22, 2020


As the weather warmed up in the Spring, we started taking Sunday walks. We wanted to avoid the typical walkways in town as they were crowding up and becoming the kind of scene we needed to avoid during social distancing. So, we took our walks into nearby neighborhoods.

We have lived in Madison for 20 years and in our own neighborhood for 15, yet there were houses and streets that we had never seen before. After a month or so of Sunday walks going down new streets, we decided to see it all and make a goal to walk or run down every single street in Madison.

To keep track of progress, we printed out the “Street Points of Interest” map pdf from, taped it together and hung it on our wall. Before each walk, we planned a route of 3-4 miles and highlighted each street we covered when we came home. It was so fun to go down streets we had never even heard of. Some may have thought the couple passing by, making an about-face at the cul-de-sac, and heading back in the opposite direction were a little weird. But we couldn’t help it! We needed to cover every street! Highlighting our progress each time was very satisfying.

When the heat of Summer hit, we weren’t going to take leisurely strolls in the afternoon anymore, so we instituted the early morning run. Running covered more mileage faster but not only did it make it harder to look at houses, it was harder to keep track of the plan we set out to accomplish. We always took a picture of the neighborhood we wanted to cover before we left and found that we had to check it many times to make sure we were keeping to the plan. A few times we were disappointed to return home and mark the map discovering that we missed a small section we planned to cover. Even though Madison has only 54 miles of road, you must repeat routes to get to every street. It was like a puzzle, trying to figure out the most efficient way to get this done.

This is what we learned on our quest to see every corner of our hometown. It seems like every architectural home style exists here. No matter how big or small, or grand or humble the house, Madisonians make an effort to beautify and create welcoming homes. We saw parks tucked into neighborhoods like little local secrets. There are two roads that go over Route 24 – we never knew that before! Chateau Thierry is named after a battle in 1918 in France. Why do we have a street with that name? John Marshall Lane? There is so much to learn about our little town. Madison is peaceful and quiet. Because of this pandemic, families are spending more time together and kids are playing outside much more. There are some good things going on in our town! We’re glad we had this little adventure and look forward to many more Sunday strolls.

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