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Madison Station Antiques is located on one of the original lots sold by James Clemens. (CONTRIBUTED)
Madison Station Antiques is located on one of the original lots sold by James Clemens. (CONTRIBUTED)

Archived Story

Madison Station Antiques nominated for Alabama Registry of Historical Places

Published 5:21pm Wednesday, July 10, 2013

MADISON – Madison Station Antiques at 110 Main St. has been nominated to the Alabama Registry of Historical Places.

Local historian John Rankin and property owners Ronnie and Pat Williams compiled supporting documentation, which required about six months.

The business is listed by its historical name, “Robert P. Cain Mercantile.” Only three other Madison properties are listed, spokesperson Andy Stewart said.

In 1857, land speculator James Clemens laid out 55 plots in current-day Madison. Clemens sold three lots to George Washington ‘G.W.’ Martin, whose parents had settled in the area before 1810.

At that site, G.W. Martin and his first cousin Thomas W. Martin became partners for a mercantile business selling dry goods and groceries. “G.W.’s store was the first business opened in Madison and one of only two Madison stores until after the Civil War,” Stewart said. G.W. Martin died in 1905.

In 1894, Katherine Hardage bought the building from William T. Garner for $1,000. Her husband Monroe Hardage operated Hardage Brothers’ Saloon there. “The census of 1900 shows Monroe Hardage at age 44 with occupation as a ‘liquor dealer,’” Stewart said.

By the 1920s, Robert Parham Cain owned the store. His wife Lena Martin Cain was the niece of G.W. Martin, the original builder. The Cain’s son, Robert Earl Cain, operated the store in this era.

By the late 1900s, Sara Landman Whitworth owned the property, in which she operated Whitworth Realty. Later, the property housed an art gallery for Sara Whitworth’s son, Thomas Jerome ‘Jerry’ Whitworth Jr. of Paris, France.

The Williams bought the property from Sara Whitworth’s estate in 2009. Ronnie and Pat Williams completely restored and refurbished the site for Madison Station Antiques, which opened in August 2010.

To qualify for the Alabama registry, the property must be 40 years old minimum and associated with significant state or local people or events, associated with Alabama history and representative of an architectural style.

Madison Station Antiques hopes to apply for the national register. For a state nominee list, visit preserveala.org/alabamaregister.aspx?sm=f_b.

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