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Rankin authors ‘Images of America — Madison’

MADISON – Local historian John Rankin has produced “Images of America — Madison” for Arcadia Publishing’s book series.The book “provides a pictorial background of the story of Madison, … tying the town’s development to some prominent pioneers who lived nearby,” Rankin said. “Readers will come to realize that some very important people of the area influenced Madison’s birth and survival.”

Rankin “wanted to set the record straight” that Madison was “home or roots to quite a few great achievers. Few are aware of the role the town has played in shaping Alabama and the nation.”

"Images of America -- Madison" presents a pictorial depiction of the town's history. (CONTRIBUTED)
“Images of America — Madison” presents a pictorial depiction of the town’s history. (CONTRIBUTED)

Former members of Madison Station Historical Preservation Society urged Rankin to broaden his book, “Memories of Madison,” the town’s official sesquicentennial history. “Images of America — Madison” begins with prominent pioneer families in early 1800s, founding of Clemens Depot and later Madison Station by 1857.

The book offers new details and photos of homes in the historic district, local personalities and business owners in the 1900s.

“The new book is richly illustrated with more old photos,” Rankin said. Rankin photographed some current structures but vintage views of long-ago houses, churches, schools and people came from archives, published works and descendants.

Rankin found a smooth transition from his engineering career to “recording knowledge gained by historical research.” He has authored or assisted with more than a dozen books. “Madison is of special interest to me because of the uniqueness of its previously untold stories,” he said.

John Rankin (CONTRIBUTED)
John Rankin (CONTRIBUTED)

Rankin earned an electrical engineering degree at Mississippi State University. His career included International Paper in Panama City, Fla. and The Boeing Company in Seattle, Houston for Apollo programs, Huntsville for Skylab and California as program manager of Boeing support of NASA’s Ames Research Center. In 1986, he and wife Mildred came to Madison for his work with the space station.

“Images of America — Madison” is available at major book outlets. Rankin hopes to have a book signing at the Roundhouse during the Madison Street Festival on Oct. 5. All proceeds will benefit the historical society.

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