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Martins Ferry, Ohio facts for kids

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Martins Ferry, Ohio
Fourth Street downtown
Fourth Street downtown
Ohio's First Settlement
Location of Martins Ferry, Ohio
Location of Martins Ferry, Ohio
Location of Martins Ferry in Belmont County
Location of Martins Ferry in Belmont County
Country United States
State Ohio
County Belmont
 • Total 2.33 sq mi (6.04 km2)
 • Land 2.33 sq mi (6.03 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
709 ft (216 m)
 • Total 6,915
 • Estimate 
 • Density 2,799.40/sq mi (1,080.64/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 740
FIPS code 39-48104
GNIS feature ID 1061478

Martins Ferry is a city in Belmont County, Ohio, United States, on the Ohio River across from Wheeling, West Virginia. It is the largest city in Belmont County. The population was 6,915 as of the 2010 census.

Martins Ferry is part of the Wheeling, West Virginia metropolitan area.


Martins Ferry enjoys the honor of being the oldest settlement in the state of Ohio, having been settled at least as early as 1779. The community was a westward extension of the city of Wheeling, Virginia (now West Virginia), but at that time, settlement on the west bank of the Ohio River was not permitted. The town was disbanded a couple of times before finally becoming permanent in 1785.

Unlike Marietta, Ohio's oldest city, Martins Ferry remained an unincorporated settlement for a relatively long time. It did not officially become a city until 1865, a full 77 years after Marietta. Through the years, it has been known as Hoglinstown, Mercertown, Norristown, Jefferson, Martinsville, and Martin's Ferry (the apostrophe between "Martin" and "s" is no longer used).

In 1835, Ebenezer Martin, the son of Absalom Martin, one of the city's earliest settlers, redesigned the town with a grid system of streets, much of which survives to this day. It was from this family that Martins Ferry took its name.

The city developed as an important industrial center during the late 19th century and early 20th century. It became an important rail hub and river port from where products were shipped all over the United States and beyond. Over the past 50 years, the town's population has decreased significantly as industries have closed or moved elsewhere. Today, the city's population is less than half of what it once was.


Martins Ferry is located at 40°5′57″N 80°43′31″W / 40.09917°N 80.72528°W / 40.09917; -80.72528 (40.099122, -80.725154).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.33 square miles (6.03 km2), all land.

The town is built on two basic plateaux situated between a hill and the Ohio River. The lower plateau, along the river, is dominated by a large industrial park, the Martins Ferry Football Stadium, and by Ohio State Route 7 (a four lane traffic artery that runs from north to south across eastern Ohio). The higher plateau, which is the larger of the two, is predominantly residential and commercial, and is home to most of the city's residents. It gradually rises to a steep hillside in the west that forms a natural wall.

Directly across the river lies the city of Wheeling, West Virginia, and just miles to the east is the Pennsylvania state line. The city of Columbus, Ohio, is 125 miles to the west, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is 59 miles northeast of the city. On the southern end of town, Martins Ferry is directly connected to the village of Bridgeport.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 1,220
1870 1,835 50.4%
1880 3,819 108.1%
1890 6,250 63.7%
1900 7,760 24.2%
1910 9,133 17.7%
1920 11,634 27.4%
1930 14,524 24.8%
1940 14,729 1.4%
1950 13,220 −10.2%
1960 11,919 −9.8%
1970 10,757 −9.7%
1980 9,304 −13.5%
1990 7,990 −14.1%
2000 7,226 −9.6%
2010 6,915 −4.3%
2019 (est.) 6,517 −5.8%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 6,915 people, 3,022 households, and 1,787 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,967.8 inhabitants per square mile (1,145.9/km2). There were 3,431 housing units at an average density of 1,472.5 per square mile (568.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 91.6% White, 5.6% African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.1% Asian, 0.2% from other races, and 2.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race 0.7% of the population.

There were 3,022 households, of which 27.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.2% were married couples living together, 16.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.9% had a male householder with no wife present, and 40.9% were non-families. 35.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.89.

The median age in the city was 42.1 years. 21.3% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23.5% were from 25 to 44; 28.9% were from 45 to 64; and 17.2% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 46.8% male and 53.2% female.


There are 14 churches providing places of worship for Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, Nazarenes, Pentecostals, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Greek Orthodox Christians, Episcopalians and non-denominational Christians. There are also a number of clubs and organizations for veterans, ethnic groups and senior citizens.

The city has multiple cemeteries, including Riverview Cemetery, St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery and Walnut Grove Pioneer Cemetery. The latter is the burial place of local heroine, Betty Zane, who saved Fort Henry in Wheeling during one of the last battles of the American Revolutionary War by hiding gunpowder inside her dress. Her brother, Ebenezer Zane, who cut Zane's Trace from Wheeling to Maysville, Kentucky, opening the west for settlement, is also buried in Walnut Grove Pioneer Cemetery, along with Absalom and Ebenezer Martin and other important early settlers.


The volunteer fire department celebrates Betty Zane Frontier Days annually, in honor of American Revolutionary War participant Elizabeth "Betty" Zane.

In early spring, the city holds a Soap Box Derby.


In 2008, the new High School opened for the area. The previous public High School, known officially as Charles R. Shreve High School, but never called anything but Martins Ferry High School, was closed midway through the 2007–2008 school year.


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and dry, cold winters temperatures. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Martins Ferry has a Humid continental climate.

Climate data for Martins Ferry, Ohio
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 4
Average low °C (°F) −6
Average precipitation mm (inches) 74
Source: Weatherbase


The children of Martins Ferry are educated by the Martins Ferry City School District. Martins Ferry High School is located in and serves the city. In addition to the public school system, Martins Ferry is also served by two religious schools: St Mary's Catholic School and the Martins Ferry Christian School.

Martins Ferry has a public library, a branch of the Belmont County District Library.

Notable people

See also

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