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Martinsburg, West Virginia facts for kids

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Martinsburg, West Virginia
Downtown Martinsburg Historic District
Location of Martinsburg in Berkeley County, West Virginia.
Location of Martinsburg in Berkeley County, West Virginia.
Country United States
State West Virginia
County Berkeley
Area
 • City 6.65 sq mi (17.22 km2)
 • Land 6.63 sq mi (17.17 km2)
 • Water 0.02 sq mi (0.04 km2)
Elevation
453 ft (138 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • City 17,227
 • Estimate 
(2019)
17,454
 • Density 2,632.18/sq mi (1,016.31/km2)
 • Urban
43,441
 • Metro
260,070 (US: 181th)
Time zone UTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
25401–25405
Area code(s) 304 681
FIPS code 54-52060
GNIS feature ID 1542824
Website City of Martinsburg

Martinsburg is a city in and the county seat of Berkeley County, West Virginia, United States, in the tip of the state's Eastern Panhandle region in the lower Shenandoah Valley. Its population was 17,454 in the 2019 census estimate, making it the largest city in the Eastern Panhandle and the eighth-largest municipality in the state. Martinsburg is part of the Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area.

History

Martinsburg was established by an act of the Virginia General Assembly that was adopted in December 1778 during the American Revolutionary War. Founder Major General Adam Stephen named the gateway town to the Shenandoah Valley along Tuscarora Creek in honor of Colonel Thomas Bryan Martin, a nephew of Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron.

Aspen Hall is a Georgian mansion, the oldest house in the city. Part was built in 1745 by Edward Beeson, Sr. Aspen Hall and its wealthy residents had key roles in the agricultural, religious, transportation, and political history of the region. Significant events related to the French and Indian War; the Revolution, and the Civil War took place on the property. Three original buildings are still standing, including the rare blockhouse of Mendenhall's Fort.

The first United States post office in what is now West Virginia was established at Martinsburg in 1792. At that time, Martinsburg and the larger territory were still part of Virginia.

The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) reached Martinsburg in 1842. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Martinsburg Shops were constructed in 1849 and rebuilt after the American Civil War.

3 B&O Freight Train Photos at Martinsburg, W. VA. (27437398010)
An engineer waves from a passing B&O freight train in 1969. The B&O's shops employed many locals throughout its 130 years of operation.

According to William Still, "The Father of the Underground Railroad" and its historian, Robert Brown, alias Thomas Jones, escaped from slavery in Martinsburg on Christmas night, 1856. He rode a horse and had it swim across the freezing Potomac River. After riding forty miles, he walked in cold wet clothes for two days, to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He received assistance there from the Underground Railroad and traveled by train to Philadelphia, and the office of William Still with the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society. Brown's wife and four children had been sold; he sought help to find them. He had a likeness of his wife, and locks of hair from each of them.

In 1854, ten-year-old Isabelle Boyd, known as "Belle" and later a noted spy for the Confederacy, moved to Martinsburg with her family; where her father Benjamin operated a general merchandise store. After the Civil War began, Benjamin joined Second Virginia Infantry, which was part of the Stonewall Brigade. His wife Mary was thus in charge of the Boyd home when Union forces under General Robert Patterson took Martinsburg. When a group of Patterson's men tried to raise a Union flag over the Boyd home, Mary refused. One of the soldiers, Frederick Martin, threatened Mary, and Belle shot him. She was acquitted.

She soon became involved in espionage, sending information to Confederate generals Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson and J.E.B. "Jeb" Stuart. Often she was helped by Eliza Corsey, a Boyd family slave whom Belle had taught to read and write. In 1863, Belle was arrested in Martinsburg by the Union Army and imprisoned. Boyd's Greek Revival home, which he had built in 1853 and sold in 1855, had numerous owners over the decades. In 1992 it was purchased by the Berkeley County Historical Society. The historical society renovated the building and now operates it as the Berkeley County Museum. It is also known as the Belle Boyd House.

Most residents of West Virginia were yeomen farmers who supported the Union and, during the Civil War, they voted to separate from Virginia. The new state was admitted to the Union during the war. The city of Martinsburg was incorporated by an act of the new West Virginia Legislature on March 30, 1868.

Martinsburg became a center of the railroad industry and its workers. The Great Railroad Strike of 1877 began July 14, 1877 in this city at the B&O shops and spread nationwide.

Telephone service was established in Martinsburg in 1883. In 1889, electricity began to be furnished to Martinsburg as part of a franchise granted to the United Edison Manufacturing Company of New York.

The Interwoven mills began operations in Martinsburg in 1891; it grew to be the largest manufacturer of men's hosiery in the world.

Construction of the "Apollo Civic Theatre" was completed in 1913.

Over one thousand (1,039) men from Berkeley County participated in World War I. Of these, forty-one were killed and twenty-one were wounded in battle. A monument to those who fell in battle was erected in Martinsburg in 1925.

During World War II, the Newton D. Baker Hospital in Martinsburg treated thousands of soldiers wounded in the war. In 1946 this military hospital became a part of the Veterans Administration (VA). The VA Medical Center in Martinsburg still provides care to United States veterans.

Due to restructuring beginning in the late 1940s and continuing through the 1970s, many of the mills and factories operating in Martinsburg shut down and went out of business, dealing a major blow to the local economy. Jobs were moved to the Deep South and later offshore.

Geography

Location and topography

Martinsburg is located at 39°27′33″N 77°58′4″W / 39.45917°N 77.96778°W / 39.45917; -77.96778 (39.459207, −77.967814). As per MapQuest, Martinsburg is approximately 92 miles (148 km) driving distance northwest of Washington, D.C.. U.S. Route 11 runs through the center of town, and Interstate 81 passes along the northern side of the town.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.67 square miles (17.28 km2), of which 6.65 square miles (17.22 km2) is land and 0.02 square miles (0.05 km2) is water.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 2,190
1860 3,364 53.6%
1870 4,863 44.6%
1880 6,335 30.3%
1890 7,226 14.1%
1900 7,564 4.7%
1910 10,698 41.4%
1920 12,515 17.0%
1930 14,857 18.7%
1940 15,063 1.4%
1950 15,621 3.7%
1960 15,179 −2.8%
1970 14,626 −3.6%
1980 13,063 −10.7%
1990 14,073 7.7%
2000 14,972 6.4%
2010 17,227 15.1%
2020 18,777 9.0%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 17,227 people, 7,293 households, and 4,106 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,590.5 inhabitants per square mile (1,000.2/km2). There were 8,408 housing units at an average density of 1,264.4 per square mile (488.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 77.5% White, 14.9% African American, 0.4% Native American, 1.2% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 2.3% from other races, and 3.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.2% of the population.

There were 7,293 households, of which 29.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.3% were married couples living together, 15.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.0% had a male householder with no wife present, and 43.7% were non-families. Of all households, 35.4% were made up of individuals, and 12.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 3.00.

The median age in the city was 37 years. 23.3% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 28.3% were from 25 to 44; 26.3% were from 45 to 64; and 13.4% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.8% male and 51.2% female.

Transportation

B&O Roundhouse
B&O Roundhouse and Station Complex

Major highways

  • I-81 (WV).svg Interstate 81
  • US 11.svg U.S. Route 11
  • WV-9.svg West Virginia Route 9
  • WV-45.svg West Virginia Route 45
  • WV-51.svg West Virginia Route 51
  • WV-901.svg West Virginia Route 901

Mass transportation

See also: Martinsburg (Amtrak station)

Amtrak provides service to Martinsburg. The city's passenger rail station is located downtown at 229 East Martin Street. MARC, Maryland's commuter rail system, operates trains on weekdays on its Brunswick Line which terminates in Martinsburg. Service is provided to Union Station in Washington, D.C.

Eastern Panhandle Transit Authority operates public bus transit routes in Martinsburg, surrounding Berkeley County, and neighboring Jefferson County, West Virginia.

Eastern WV Regional Airport, south of the city, handles general aviation. The closest airport with commercial air service is Hagerstown Regional Airport, that is about 25 miles (40 km) driving distance north. The closest international airport is Washington Dulles International Airport near D.C., which is about 60 miles (97 km) driving distance east.

Education

Elementary and intermediate schools

  • Rocky Knoll Adventist School
  • Back Creek Valley Elementary
  • Bedington Elementary
  • Berkeley Heights Elementary
  • Bunker Hill Elementary
  • Burke Street Elementary
  • Gerrardstown Elementary
  • Hedgesville Elementary
  • Inwood Elementary
  • Marlowe Elementary
  • Opequon Elementary
  • Rosemont Elementary
  • Spring Mills Elementary
  • Tuscarora Elementary
  • Valley View Elementary
  • Winchester Avenue Elementary
  • Mountain Ridge Intermediate
  • Potomac Intermediate
  • Orchard View Intermediate
  • Mill Creek Intermediate
  • Eagle School Intermediate
  • Tomahawk Intermediate
  • St. Joseph Catholic School

Middle schools

  • North Middle
  • South Middle
  • Spring Mills Middle
  • Hedgesville Middle
  • Mountain Ridge Middle
  • Musselman Middle

High schools

  • Martinsburg High School
  • Musselman High School
  • Hedgesville High School
  • Spring Mills High School
  • Berkeley STEM Academy

Colleges and universities

  • Blue Ridge Community and Technical College, Martinsburg
  • James Rumsey Technical Institute, Martinsburg
  • University of Charleston-Martinsburg
  • Valley College of Technology, Martinsburg Campus

Sports

Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Hack Wilson began his storied professional career in his adopted hometown with the Martinsburg Blue Sox, a low-level minor-league baseball team. Wilson would go on to set the yet-to-be-broken major league record for RBI in a season (191) with the Chicago Cubs in 1930.

After his playing career ended in 1935, Hack went back home to Martinsburg, played some ball with the town's semipro team and opened a recreation and pool hall in town with a partner. He later moved to Baltimore in 1941 where he later died November 23, 1948. Originally scheduled to be interred in Baltimore, Wilson was buried — in a donated plot — in Martinsburg,

Notable people

  • Newton D. Baker, Secretary of War and Mayor of Cleveland
  • Harold H. Bender (1882–1951), professor of philology at Princeton University
  • Charles Boarman (1828–1880), physician
  • Belle Boyd (1844-1900) Confederate spy in the American Civil War
  • Scott Bullett, former outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs
  • Vicky Bullett, Olympic gold medalist in women's basketball
  • Kathe Burkhart, artist, writer, feminist
  • Summers Burkhart (1859–1932), attorney
  • Harry Flood Byrd, Sr., U.S. Senator and Governor of Virginia
  • Robert Lee Castleman, Grammy-winning singer/songwriter
  • Charles James Faulkner, U.S. Representative from Virginia
  • Karl Hess, former D.C. insider turned Libertarian and appropriate technology activist, relocated to the Martinsburg area in the 1970s.
  • Corey Hill, UFC fighter
  • Joseph Howard Hodges, (1911-1985), fifth Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wheeling
  • Charles Porterfield Krauth (1823–1883), Lutheran theologian
  • Shannon Larkin, drummer for the hard rock band Godsmack
  • Edward F. McClain, member of the Wisconsin State Assembly
  • Walter Dean Myers, author
  • John Quincy Adams Nadenbousch, colonel in Confederate States Army
  • Mary Elizabeth Price (1877–1965), impressionist painter
  • Ronald Radosh, ex-New Left, ex-libertarian, now neoconservative author
  • Absalom Willis Robertson, U.S. Senator from Virginia
  • David Hunter Strother (aka Porte Crayon), artist
  • Fulton Walker, former football player for the Miami Dolphins
  • Garland Wilson (1909–1954), jazz pianist
  • Hack Wilson, Hall of Fame baseball player
  • Mary Ann Shaffer (1934-2008), writer, editor, librarian and noted for her posthumously published work The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

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