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Martinsburg, West Virginia

Martinsburg, West Virginia
City of Martinsburg
Downtown Martinsburg Historic District
Location in Berkeley County and the state of West Virginia.
Location in Berkeley County and the state of West Virginia.
Country United States
State West Virginia
County Berkeley
 • Mayor George Karos
 • City 6.67 sq mi (17.28 km2)
 • Land 6.65 sq mi (17.22 km2)
 • Water 0.02 sq mi (0.05 km2)
Elevation 453 ft (138 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • City 17,227
 • Estimate (2014)[3] 17,743
 • Density 2,590.5/sq mi (1,000.2/km2)
 • Urban 43,441
 • Metro 260,070 (US: 181th)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 25401–25405
Area code(s) 304
FIPS code 54-52060
GNIS feature ID 1542824[4]
Website City of Martinsburg

Martinsburg is a city in and the county seat of Berkeley County, West Virginia, United States,[5] in the state's Eastern Panhandle region. Its population was 17,227 at the 2010 census making it the largest city in the Eastern Panhandle and the ninth largest municipality in the state. Martinsburg is one of the core cities in the Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area.


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
    • Location and topography 2.1
  • Demographics 3
    • 2010 census 3.1
    • 2000 census 3.2
    • Climate 3.3
  • Commerce 4
  • Healthcare 5
  • Shopping 6
  • Education 7
    • Elementary & Intermediate Schools 7.1
    • Middle Schools 7.2
    • High Schools 7.3
    • Colleges and universities 7.4
  • Transportation 8
    • Major highways 8.1
    • Mass transportation 8.2
  • Media 9
    • Print 9.1
    • Radio 9.2
    • Television 9.3
  • Notable people 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12


Martinsburg was a white settlement founded on the upper Potomac River in 1778 during the American Revolutionary War by General Adam Stephen. He named it in honor of Colonel Thomas Bryan Martin, a nephew of Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron.[6]

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 B&O Roundhouse and Station Complex was first constructed in 1849.

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 American 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 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 through the 1950s, 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.


Location and topography

Martinsburg is located at (39.459207, −77.967814).[7] 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.[1]


2010 census

As of the census[2] 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. 35.4% of all households 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.

2000 census

As of the census[10] of 2000, there were 14,972 people, 6,684 households, and 3,689 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,977.4 people per square mile (1,149.2/km²). There were 7,432 housing units at an average density of 1,478.0/sq mi (570.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 83.90% White, 11.63% African American, 0.40% Native American, 0.63% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.26% from other races, and 2.17% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.91% of the population.

There were 6,684 households out of which 24.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.7% were married couples living together, 13.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 44.8% were non-families. 37.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.21 and the average family size was 2.92.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.1% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 28.7% from 25 to 44, 22.3% from 45 to 64, and 16.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 91.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $29,495, and the median income for a family was $36,954. Males had a median income of $29,697 versus $22,212 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,314. About 14.7% of families and 20.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.8% of those under age 18 and 15.1% of those age 65 or over.


Martinsburg lies in the transition from a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa) to a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfa), with four distinct seasons. Winters are cool to cold with a January daily mean temperature of 30.9 °F (−0.6 °C) and an average seasonal snowfall of 26.6 inches (68 cm), while summers are hot and humid with a July daily mean temperature of 74.7 °F (23.7 °C) and 27 days of 90 °F (32 °C)+ readings annually. Precipitation is moderate, with winter being the driest period and May thru July the wettest. Extreme temperatures range from −18 °F (−28 °C) on January 21, 1994 up to 112 °F (44 °C) on July 11, 1936.

Climate data for Martinsburg, West Virginia
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 80
Average high °F (°C) 39.5
Average low °F (°C) 22.3
Record low °F (°C) −18
Average precipitation inches (mm) 2.44
Average snowfall inches (cm) 9.3
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 9.4 8.9 10.6 10.5 12.6 11.0 10.1 8.7 8.8 8.5 9.3 9.1 117.6
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 3.7 2.2 1.7 .2 0 0 0 0 0 0 .5 2.1 10.4
Source: NOAA (normals 1981−2010, extremes 1926−present)[11]


Major private employers in and around Martinsburg include Macy's, and FedEx. In February 2015, it was announced that Procter & Gamble plans to build a $500 million facility near the city.[12]

The city also has numerous federal government employers including the Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Coast Guard Operations Systems Center, U.S. Coast Guard National Maritime Center, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the Veteran Administration Center.

The Martinsburg IRS Facility is one of the two Enterprise Computing Centers of the Internal Revenue Service (the other is in Memphis, Tennessee). The Martinsburg facility processes most of the country's electronically filed tax documents from businesses, and about one-third of electronically filed tax returns.

The area is also home to the 167th Airlift Wing of the West Virginia Air National Guard, based in Eastern WV Regional Airport.

Martinsburg had its own automobile company from 1912 to 1922, called Norwalk. The cars that were assembled there are the longest-made known cars to be built in the state of West Virginia.[13]


Postcard view of veterans medical center
  • Berkeley Medical Center (formerly WVUH-East City Hospital and City Hospital)
  • Veterans Affairs Medical Center


Martinsburg has one Shopping Mall

  • Martinsburg Mall: 551,351 square feet (51,222.2 m2) with approximately 50 stores and anchored by Walmart, JCPenney, and The Bon-Ton. Opened in 1991. Location: Foxcroft Avenue, Interstate 81 Exit 12 & 13.

Other retail centers/areas in Martinsburg include:

  • The Commons Shopping Center: 400,000 square feet (37,000 m2) anchored by Target, Dick's Sporting Goods, Best Buy, TJ Maxx, Staples, Books A Million, Bed Bath and Beyond, Michaels, Petsmart, and Five Below. Opened in 2009. Location: Retail Commons Parkway, Interstate 81 Exit 12.
  • Old Courthouse Square: 201,350 square feet (18,706 m2) anchored by Food Lion and Auto Zone. Opened in 1987. Location: Edwin Miller Blvd.
  • Apple Harvest Drive: K-Mart, Food Lion, Lowes, and Advance Auto.
  • North Queen Street: Weis Markets, Tractor Supply, Big Lots, and Aarons.
  • Other shopping areas in the city are the Berkeley Plaza on Williamsport Pike and Martinsburg Plaza on Winchester Ave.


Elementary & Intermediate Schools

  • Back Creek Valley Elementary
  • Bedington Elementary
  • Berkeley Heights Elementary
  • Bunker Hill Elementary
  • Burke Street Elementary
  • Gerrardstown Elementary
  • Inwood Elementary
  • Marlowe Elementary
  • Opequon Elementary
  • Rosemont Elementary
  • Spring Mills Elementary
  • Tuscarora Elementary
  • Valley View Elementary
  • Winchester Avenue Elementary
  • Mountain Ridge Intermediate
  • Potomack 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
  • Musselman High
  • Hedgesville High
  • Spring Mills High

Colleges and universities


B&O Roundhouse and Station Complex

Major highways

Mass transportation

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, known more popularly as "Pan Tran," operates bus 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.



  • Martinsburg has one daily community newspaper, The Journal.
  • Martinsburg has a bi-monthly magazine, Around the Panhandle magazine.



  • Martinsburg is home to W08EE-D Channel 8 (West Virginia Public Broadcasting) and (WWPX 60 (ION), all part of the Hagerstown sub-market that is further grouped under the Nielsen-designated Washington, D.C.-Hagerstown, Md. market, the ninth largest market in the nation.[14]
  • Martinsburg, WV was the setting of the X-Files episode "Small Potatoes" (Season 4, episode 20). However, the filming did not take place in the vicinity.
  • Martinsburg is the setting for the reality television series Gypsy Sisters on TLC.
  • Martinsburg is the town used for making the movie "Sweet Dreams", starring Jessica Lang and Ed Harris, portraying the life of First Lady of Country Music Legend "Pasty Cline" & Charlie Dick.

Notable people


  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010".  
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder".  
  3. ^ a b "Population Estimates".  
  4. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names".  
  5. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  6. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 201. 
  7. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  8. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  9. ^  
  10. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  11. ^ "NowData - NOAA Online Weather Data".  
  12. ^ "Procter & Gamble to bring $500M plant to Berkeley County".  
  13. ^ The Norwalk: Martinsburg's Motor Car
  14. ^ Local Television Market Universe Estimates, Nielsen, 27 September 2008. Retrieved 02 November 2008.
  15. ^ Phoning Home, University of South Carolina Press, 2014
  16. ^ "Ensign Frazer, Hugh Carroll". Congressional Medal of Honor Society. Retrieved 2014-August-23

External links

  • Chamber of Commerce of Martinsburg and Berkeley County
  • Martinsburg High School
  • Martinsburg-Berkeley County Public Library
  • WEPM Radio station, established 1946
  • Eastern Panhandle Transit Authority "Pan Tran"
  • Encyclopedia VirginiaMartinsburg, Virginia, During the Civil War in
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