Martins Ferry, Ohio

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Martins Ferry, Ohio
Fourth Street downtown
Fourth Street downtown
Nickname(s): 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
Coordinates: 40°5′57″N 80°43′31″W / 40.09917°N 80.72528°W / 40.09917; -80.72528Coordinates: 40°5′57″N 80°43′31″W / 40.09917°N 80.72528°W / 40.09917; -80.72528
Country United States
State Ohio
County Belmont
 • Total 2.33 sq mi (6.03 km2)
 • Land 2.33 sq mi (6.03 km2)
 • Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)
Elevation[2] 709 ft (216 m)
Population (2010)[3]
 • Total 6,915
 • Estimate (2012[4]) 6,831
 • Density 2,967.8/sq mi (1,145.9/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 43935
Area code(s) 740
FIPS code 39-48104[5]
GNIS feature ID 1061478[2]

Martins Ferry is a city in Belmont County, Ohio, United States, on the Ohio River. A part of the Wheeling, West Virginia Metropolitan Statistical Area, it is the largest city in Belmont County. The population was 6,915 as of the 2010 census.


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).[6]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.33 square miles (6.03 km2), all land.[1]

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%
Est. 2015 6,786 [7] −1.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[8]

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[3] 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.

2000 census[edit]

During the census[5] of 2000, there were 7,226 people, 3,202 households, and 1,959 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,345.1 people per square mile (1,291.7/km²). There were 3,680 housing units at an average density of 1,703.6 per square mile (657.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 93.19% White, 5.11% African American, 0.30% Native American, 0.04% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.22% from other races, and 1.11% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.64% of the population.

There were 3,202 households out of which 26.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.2% were married couples living together, 15.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.8% were non-families. 35.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.24 and the average family size was 2.86.

In the city, the population was spread out with 22.4% under the age of 18, 7.2% from 18 to 24, 25.9% from 25 to 44, 24.1% from 45 to 64, and 20.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 84.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $23,960, and the median income for a family was $32,365. Males had a median income of $30,486 versus $21,979 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,672. About 16.1% of families and 18.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.6% of those under age 18 and 9.9% of those age 65 or over.


Today, Martins Ferry's largest employers include East Ohio Regional Hospital, a 250-bed hospital that is home to a level three trauma center, a popular birthing unit and a rapidly expanding surgical department. A new surgical building is scheduled for completion this year. Other major employers include Nickles Bakery, one of three modern bakeries in the Nickles family providing fresh baked goods to a 7-state area; United Dairy, a family owned dairy serving nine states; and the Wheeling Pittsburgh Steel Corporation, which operates their galvanizing plant in Martins Ferry, producing some 700,000 tons of SofTite Galvanized Steel each year. The steel mill was bought out by Severstal and went bankrupt.

Martins Ferry is also home of the corporate headquarters of United Bancorp, a financial institution operating two banks, The Citizens Savings Bank of Martins Ferry and the Community Bank of Lancaster. These two banks have a total of 15 locations across Eastern and Southern Ohio. The city is also home of Carolina Furniture Company, Deluxe Toy and Hobby, one of the oldest and largest independent toy stores in the country and The Times Leader, one of East Central Ohio’s largest newspapers serving more than 50,000 people.


The children of Martins Ferry are educated by the Martins Ferry City School District, which currently has an enrollment of 1,488 students on one campus. 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.

Over the 2007 Christmas vacation, all Martins Ferry Public School studets were relocated to their new K-12 campus-style school. The new school cost a reported $40.9 million. It includes a new elementary school building and combination middle/high school building. 75% of the cost, or $31.9 million, was covered by the state, while the remaining 25%, or $9 million, was funded locally. Land for the campus was donated by the Ayers family.

On March 28, 2008, The Times Leader reported that Elm Middle School, as well as the former high hchool, were set to be demolished. Demolition cost a reported $458,000. The high school area lot has become a person's residence, and the lot where Elm Middle School has also become a person's residence. Both North School and South School remain closed, awaiting bids for the space.


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.[citation needed]

Notable people[edit]


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.[11]

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 [12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on January 24, 2012. Retrieved 2013-01-06. 
  2. ^ a b "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-06. 
  4. ^ "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on June 17, 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-17. 
  5. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  7. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  8. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Archived from the original on May 11, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  9. ^ Leonard, Vince (November 22, 1968). "DeNardo Quits Over Climate At Channel 2". The Pittsburgh Press (VOL. 85, No. 150). p. 58. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  10. ^ Meet Joe Niekro
  11. ^ Climate Summary for Martins Ferry
  12. ^ "". Weatherbase. 2013.  Retrieved on September 14, 2013.

External links[edit]