I remember when….Published 9:49pm Friday, May 27, 2011
“I remember Madison when Madison Boulevard was called Highway 20 and was just a two lane road,” said Wilma Keplinger, a resident of the city for nearly fifty years. Keplinger moved to Madison with her husband and daughter in 1963. “There was really nothing as far as businesses on Highway 20 or on Highway 72 back then.”
The city was mostly fields and farmers at that time. Downtown Madison was a busy place with a drug store, grocery store and shops along with city hall, the police station and the jail. As far as Keplinger could remember there wasn’t even a bank in town. Most everything that went on in Madison happened downtown.
Businesses began to build along Highway 20 as more subdivisions were built in the city. The first fast food restaurant in town was the Arby’s on Highway 20. A bank and a gas station were built at the corner of Wall-Triana and Highway 20. “There wasn’t even a stop light on Highway 20,” Keplinger said.
During the building boom of the 1980′s, the two lanes of Highway 20 in Madison became crowded and the city was forced to widen the road to the four lanes it has currently. Many businesses moved to shopping centers that were built, increasing the desirability to live in Madison. The loss of businesses like Food World and Kmart have left some buildings empty, but the road is still busy with new businesses and opportunities for others to move in.
Keplinger stated she has “seen a lot of changes in Madison” in the years since she moved here, and is glad to have grocery stores and restaurants in town. She also stated it was nice to have the doctors offices in Madison. “It is wonderful that we have so much in Madison now,” Keplinger said.
The city of Madison renamed Highway 20, Madison Boulevard in recent years, distinguishing it from the two lane road Keplinger remembers.