Virtual Tour of Schroeder Saddletree Factory Museum Now Available

It is one of only a few virtual tours of historic industrial sites in the US


Madison, IN - A free virtual tour of an iconic restored American factory is now available 24 hours a day from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. The Schroeder Saddletree Factory Museum virtual tour is now available on the Historic Madison, Inc. website homepage . The tour can be viewed on a computer screen, a tablet or a smartphone and with virtual reality headsets. It is one of only a few virtual tours of historic industrial sites in the US.

Almost untouched since the day it closed in 1972, the Ben Schroeder Saddletree factory is the nation’s last intact 19th century shop where craftsman built the inner workings of saddles. Sawdust from the last run of saddletrees, the internal wooden skeletons of riding saddles, litter the floor. Rare vintage woodworking machines crowd the factory. Hundreds of saddletree patterns – made from discarded boxes – hang cobweb-covered in the recesses of the rafters. A frayed denim work apron dangles from a rusted nail where its owner hung it decades ago.

A unique, award winning restoration, the factory buildings and the re-purposed Schroeder family home, offer the opportunity to explore the history of the frugal Schroeder family, the obscure craft they pursued, and the life they fashioned with single-minded devotion for more than one hundred years.

Saddletrees were vital to transportation in 19th century America. Madison, Indiana was once the “Detroit” of the saddletree trade. Its twelve factories sculpted hundreds of thousands of wooden frames for saddles used by horseback riders across the US and throughout the Western Hemisphere. The Saddletree Factory Museum is the only museum in the world preserving the history, heritage and machinery of this unique trade.

Historic Madison Inc. received funding for this project from the National Endowment for the Humanities and Indiana Humanities as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Historic Madison, Inc., a not for profit historic preservation organization founded in 1960, has played a key role in the preservation, restoration, education and development of Madison’s National Historic Landmark District. The organization owns and operates 11 historic properties, five of which are museums.

If you enjoy history, industrial heritage, gardening or folk crafts we have a place for you! Volunteer docent and group tour guides positions are available. For additional information contact Historic Madison, Inc. at (812) 265-2967, visit us online at or like us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

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