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Martinsville, Indiana
City of Martinsville
Martinsville, Indiana
Martinsville, Indiana
"Goldfish Capital of the World"
Location of Martinsville in Morgan County, Indiana
Location of Martinsville in Morgan County, Indiana
Country United States
State Indiana
County Morgan
Township Washington
 • Total 9.27 sq mi (24.00 km2)
 • Land 9.16 sq mi (23.72 km2)
 • Water 0.11 sq mi (0.29 km2)  0.44%
604 ft (184 m)
 • Total 11,932
 • Density 1,303.05/sq mi (503.09/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 765
FIPS code 18-47448
GNIS feature ID 438684

Martinsville is a city in Washington Township, Morgan County, in the U.S. state of Indiana. The population was 11,828 at the 2010 United States Census. The city is the county seat of Morgan County.


Martinsville was founded in 1822. It is said to be named for John Martin, a county commissioner.

The Morgan County courthouse, completed in 1859, features a red brick and Italianate design, and is one of the few pre-Civil War courthouses in Indiana. Architect Isaac Hodgson designed the courthouse, and it was built by Perry Magnus Blankenship. Hodgson designed six Indiana courthouses including Jennings County (1859), Morgan County (1857), Henry County, Bartholomew County (1871), and his largest in Marion County, in Indianapolis.

In 1899, Eugene Shireman, a Martinsville entrepreneur, turned his swamp land into fisheries and started Grassyfork Fisheries. Once dubbed the "Goldfish Capital of the World", today Martinsville has several large fisheries that sell fish to many parts of the world. Shireman's actions changed the landscape of the Martinsville area, and his fisheries can be seen today throughout Shireman subdivision. Martinsville is also home to other fisheries.

From 1888 until 1968, visitors sought out the many artesian mineral water health spas (which were called sanitariums then) of Martinsville for health benefits. Over nearly 100 years, almost a dozen sanitariums were in operation for various periods of time, including the first black spa in Martinsville.

Albert Merritt (1871–1958), beloved founder of the Boy's Club in Martinsville, born near Bowling Green, was the son of former slaves. He came to Martinsville Mineral Springs Sanitarium in the 1890s from a job as a porter at the Sennings Hotel in Louisville, and lived at the sanitarium for the rest of his life, never marrying. He worked with the children of Martinsville for fifty years, building a clubhouse on North Marion Street. Merritt Park on the northwest end of town is named for Albert.

Visitors would travel by rail and road to bathe and refresh in the mineral springs and waters. Many luminaries visited Martinsville in the early 20th century to enjoy the mineral waters and spas for their perceived therapeutic and health restoring qualities. On top of what used to be the National Sanitarium a refurbished neon sign still displays "Martinsville City of Mineral Water" as it did before.

In 1892, the Old Hickory Furniture Company was formed. The Morgan County Public Library’s Digital Archive has a collection of photographs of Old Hickory furniture including some displays for Marshall Field & Co.

In recent years, Martinsville has an array of different businesses, with the court square district and downtown area being host to a number of locally owned restaurants, bakeries, and shops, and areas like the Grand Valley Shopping Center and Artesian Square being host to a number of restaurant chains and retail shops.

In addition, local leadership has suffered scrutinization for issues such as drinking water pollution, the local hospital's decisions, and the town debt, which increased to $27 million in 2015. Unable to make payroll, funding from the police and fire force was redirected in order to pay city employees.

The Blackstone House and Martinsville Telephone Company Building, Crawford-Gilpin House, East Washington Street Historic District, Martinsville Commercial Historic District, Martinsville High School Gymnasium, Martinsville Northside Historic District, Martinsville Sanitarium, Martinsville Vandalia Depot, Morgan County Courthouse, Morgan County Sheriff's House and Jail, and Neely House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Downtown Martinsville from SE
An aerial photograph of Martinsville in June 2006, taken looking northwest.

Martinsville is located at 39°25′24″N 86°25′26″W / 39.42333°N 86.42389°W / 39.42333; -86.42389 (39.423339, -86.423779).

According to the 2010 census, Martinsville has a total area of 4.508 square miles (11.68 km2), of which 4.49 square miles (11.63 km2) (or 99.6%) is land and 0.018 square miles (0.05 km2) (or 0.4%) is water.


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Martinsville has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.



  • I-69 (along SR 37) designated September 18, 2018
  • SR 37
  • SR 39
  • SR 44
  • SR 67
  • SR 252


  • Indiana Southern Railroad


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 334
1860 640 91.6%
1870 1,131 76.7%
1880 1,943 71.8%
1890 2,680 37.9%
1900 4,038 50.7%
1910 4,529 12.2%
1920 4,895 8.1%
1930 4,962 1.4%
1940 5,009 0.9%
1950 5,991 19.6%
1960 7,525 25.6%
1970 9,723 29.2%
1980 11,311 16.3%
1990 11,677 3.2%
2000 11,698 0.2%
2010 11,828 1.1%
2020 11,932 0.9%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 11,828 people, 4,610 households, and 2,990 families living in the city. The population density was 2,634.3 inhabitants per square mile (1,017.1/km2). There were 5,073 housing units at an average density of 1,129.8 per square mile (436.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.5% White, 0.2% African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.5% from other races, and 1.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 1.3% of the population.

There were 4,610 households, of which 33.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.0% were married couples living together, 14.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.5% had a male householder with no wife present, and 35.1% were non-families. 29.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.03.

The median age in the city was 36.6 years. 25% of residents were under the age of 18; 10.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.8% were from 25 to 44; 24.4% were from 45 to 64; and 14.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.6% male and 51.4% female.


  • Fall Foliage Festival
  • Martinsville on the Square
  • Farmer's Market Day
  • Morgan County Fair
  • Morgan County Relay for Life
  • Artie Fest


The Metropolitan School District of Martinsville administers the public schools of Martinsville. Elementary schools include pre-kindergarten through 4th grade. Elementary schools are Brooklyn STEM Academy, Centerton Elementary, Green Township Elementary, Paragon Elementary, Poston Road Spanish Immersion School, Charles L. Smith Fine Arts Academy and South Elementary School of Communications. 5th and 6th grades go to Bell Intermediate Academy, while grades 7th and 8th attend John R. Wooden Middle School. Grades 9th through 12th go to Martinsville High School. There is also the Artesian Center of Excellence (A.C.E) formerly Hammons off-campus community school. Martinsville has one private school, Tabernacle Christian School, which has classes for preschool through twelfth grade.

Martinsville has a public library, a branch of the Morgan County Public Library.

Notable people

  • Emmett Forrest Branch, 31st Governor of Indiana
  • Richard Bray, Indiana State Senator
  • Benjamin Bull, lawyer and Wisconsin State Senator
  • Glenn M. Curtis, basketball coach
  • Charles E. Ford, newsreel and motion picture director
  • Ira Hall, Indy car driver
  • John Hancock, former Dean of Engineering and Interim President, Purdue University, Communications Team Apollo Mission series
  • Bobby Helms, singer/songwriter who had six gold records including "Jingle Bell Rock"
  • Joe W. Kelly, United States Air Force four-star general
  • Jeff Kottkamp, lieutenant governor of Florida (2007–2011)
  • Paul V. McNutt, 34th governor of Indiana
  • Mel Payton, former professional basketball player
  • Catt Sadler, former E! News anchor
  • Jerry Sichting, former professional basketball player
  • John R. Walsh, U.S. Congressman and Secretary of State of Indiana (1958–1960)
  • John C. Wetherby, recipient of the Medal of Honor
  • John Wooden, Naismith Hall of Fame college basketball player and coach
  • Craig Jarrett, Former NFL punter
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