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Martinsburg, West Virginia

Coordinates: 39°27′13″N 77°59′44″W / 39.45361°N 77.99556°W / 39.45361; -77.99556
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Downtown Martinsburg Historic District
Flag of Martinsburg
Official seal of Martinsburg
Interactive map of Martinsburg
Martinsburg is located in West Virginia
Martinsburg is located in the United States
Coordinates: 39°27′13″N 77°59′44″W / 39.45361°N 77.99556°W / 39.45361; -77.99556
CountryUnited States
StateWest Virginia
 • MayorKevin Knowles (D) [1]
 • City6.65 sq mi (17.22 km2)
 • Land6.63 sq mi (17.17 km2)
 • Water0.02 sq mi (0.04 km2)
Elevation495 ft (151 m)
 • City18,773
 • Estimate 
 • Density2,632.18/sq mi (1,016.31/km2)
 • Urban
 • Metro
260,070 (US: 167th)
Time zoneUTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
Area code304 681
FIPS code54-52060
GNIS feature ID2390615[3]
WebsiteCity of Martinsburg

Martinsburg is a city in and the county seat of Berkeley County, West Virginia, United States.[6] The population was 18,773 at the 2020 census, making Martinsburg the largest city in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia and the sixth-most populous city in the state. It is a principal city of the Hagerstown–Martinsburg metropolitan area extending into Maryland, which had 293,844 residents in 2020.


Martinsburg was established by an act[7] of the Virginia General Assembly that was adopted in December 1778[8] 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.[9]

Aspen Hall, a Georgian mansion, is the oldest house in the city.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

According to William Still, "The Father of the Underground Railroad" and its historian: Mr Robert Brown, alias Thomas Jones, escaped from slavery in Martinsburg on Christmas night in 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.[citation needed]

Civil war[edit]

The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad's Martinsburg Shops three years before the Civil War

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 the 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.


Residents of West Virginia were split in their allegiance during the war, with half of its soldiers serving in the Confederate army.[10] The vote to create a new state in western Virginia was very low, but statehood was approved by Congress and President Lincoln, and the new state was admitted to the Union on June 20, 1863.[11]

The city of Martinsburg was incorporated by an act of the new West Virginia Legislature on March 30, 1868.

Blockade of engines during the Great Railroad Strike of 1877

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 Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Martinsburg Shops.[12] After several unsuccessful attempts to quell the protests, Governor Henry M. Mathews called for federal troops. By the time these troops had restored order, the protest of the rail company had spread across the country.[13]

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.[citation needed]

The Interwoven Mills began operations in Martinsburg in 1891.[14]

Construction of the Apollo Civic Theatre was completed in 1913.[15]

World War I and beyond[edit]

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.

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.


Location and topography[edit]

Martinsburg is approximately 18 miles (29 km) southwest of Hagerstown, 73 miles (117 km) west of Baltimore, 63 miles (101 km) northwest of Washington, D.C., and 134 miles (216 km) east of Morgantown. U.S. Route 11 runs through the center of town, and Interstate 81 passes along the northern side of the town.

Martinsburg is 212 miles (341 km) distant from the state capital of Charleston. However, it is closer to no less than five other state capitals: Harrisburg PA - 80 miles (130 km), Annapolis MD - 85 miles (137 km), Dover DE - 132 miles (212 km), Richmond VA - 135 miles (217 km), and Trenton NJ - 179 miles (288 km).

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.[16]


Martinsburg lies in the transitional area between humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa) and humid continental climatic zones (Köppen Dfa), with four distinct seasons. Winters are cool to cold, with a January daily mean temperature of 32.4 °F (0.2 °C) and an average annual snowfall of 26.1 inches (66 cm), while summers are hot and humid with a July daily mean temperature of 75.7 °F (24.3 °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 at Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport range from −18 °F (−28 °C) on January 21, 1994, up to 112 °F (44 °C) on July 11, 1936; an even colder −19 °F (−28 °C) was recorded in the city on January 14, 1912.

Climate data for Martinsburg, West Virginia (Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport), 1991−2020 normals,[a] extremes 1891−present[b]
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 80
Mean maximum °F (°C) 64.0
Mean daily maximum °F (°C) 41.3
Daily mean °F (°C) 32.4
Mean daily minimum °F (°C) 23.5
Mean minimum °F (°C) 4.3
Record low °F (°C) −19
Average precipitation inches (mm) 2.60
Average snowfall inches (cm) 9.0
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 10.0 8.9 11.0 11.0 13.0 11.3 10.6 9.1 9.4 9.0 8.5 9.5 121.3
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 3.7 2.1 1.7 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.5 2.1 10.3
Source: NOAA (snow 1981–2010)[17][18][19]


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[20]

2020 census[edit]

As of the census[21] of 2020, there were 18,777 people residing in the city, living in 7,179 total households. The population density was 2,591.7 inhabitants per square mile. The racial makeup of the city was 79.9% White, 13.9% African American, 0.1% Native American, 1.3% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, and 3.1% two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race was 4.8% of the population.

The median household income (in 2019 dollars) was $42,835. The per capita income was $24,970. 29.5% of the population is recorded as being in poverty. 88.5% of households had a computer, with 77.9% having access to broadband internet.

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[22] 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.

2000 census[edit]

As of the census[23] 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 inhabitants per square mile (1,149.6/km2). There were 7,432 housing units at an average density of 1,478.0 per square mile (570.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 83.9% White, 11.6% African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.9% Asian, 0% Pacific Islander, 1.3%% from other races, and 2.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.9% 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.


Berkeley County Courthouse

Major private employers in and around Martinsburg include Quad/Graphics, Ecolab, Orgill, Macy's, and FedEx. In February 2015, it was announced that Procter & Gamble planned to build a $500 million facility near the city.[24]

The city also has numerous federal government employers, including the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), U.S. Coast Guard C5ISC-Kearneysville, U.S. Coast Guard National Maritime Center, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the Martinsburg VA Medical Center.

The Martinsburg IRS Facility, one of the two Enterprise Computing Centers of the Internal Revenue Service (the other is in Memphis, Tennessee), 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, which assembled the longest-made known cars to be built in the state of West Virginia.[25]


Major League Baseball Hall of Famer[26] 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[27] 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,[28]


Martinsburg High School

Elementary and intermediate schools[edit]

  • 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[edit]

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

High schools[edit]

Colleges and universities[edit]



Martinsburg has one daily community newspaper, The Journal and also is regionally covered by The Herald-Mail out of Hagerstown, Maryland. Martinsburg has a bi-monthly magazine, Around the Panhandle magazine.


The city is home to WEPM/1340 AM, WRNR/740 AM, WICL/95.9 FM, WLTF/97.5 FM, and WVEP/88.9 FM radio stations.


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.[29]

Martinsburg 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 was also the setting for the reality television series Gypsy Sisters on TLC.


Roads and highways[edit]

I-81 southbound in Martinsburg

Martinsburg is served by several significant highways. The most prominent of these is Interstate 81, which is the main north–south highway through the region. I-81 connects northward to Hagerstown and Harrisburg, and continues southward to Winchester and Roanoke. U.S. Route 11, the former primary regional north–south highway, now serves as a local service road to I-81, and travels through downtown Martinsburg. The main highway serving regional east–west travel is West Virginia Route 9. From Martinsburg eastwards, WV 9 follows an expressway, connecting the city to Charles Town and Leesburg. WV 9 follows US 11 through downtown Martinsburg. To the west, WV 9 continues to Berkeley Springs and Paw Paw. West Virginia Route 45 is the other state highway serving Martinsburg. WV 45 extends westward into rural areas of western Berkeley County, and continues eastward to Shepherdstown.

Mass transportation[edit]

Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Martinsburg Shops

Amtrak provides service to Martinsburg on its Washington-Chicago Capitol Limited route. 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 Washington Union Station in Washington, D.C.

Eastern Panhandle Transit Authority (EPTA) operates public bus transit routes in Martinsburg, surrounding Berkeley County, and neighboring Jefferson County, West Virginia.[30]

Eastern WV Regional Airport, south of the city, handles general aviation and Shepherd Field Air National Guard Base is located at this airport. 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 is home to two hospitals, namely the Berkeley Medical Center and the Martinsburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ Mean monthly maxima and minima (i.e. the expected highest and lowest temperature readings at any point during the year or given month) calculated based on data at said location from 1991 to 2020.
  2. ^ Records have been kept at Eastern WV Regional Airport since 1926.
  1. ^ "KEVIN JAMES KNOWLES". Voteref. Retrieved January 30, 2023.
  2. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  3. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Martinsburg, West Virginia
  4. ^ a b "City and Town Population Totals: 2020-2021". Census.gov. US Census Bureau. Retrieved July 3, 2022.
  5. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  6. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  7. ^ "An act for establishing the town of Martinsburg, in the County of Berkeley, and for other purposes". VAGenWeb. Vol. 9, Chapter XXXII. Retrieved March 4, 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  8. ^ "Journal of the Senate of the Commonwealth of Virginia". The Online Books Page. 1828. p. 71. Retrieved March 4, 2017.
  9. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 201.
  10. ^ Snell, Mark A., West Virginia and the Civil War, History Press, 2011, pg. 28, ISBN 978-1-59629-888-0
  11. ^ "Chapter Ten Statehood Referendum". Archived from the original on May 18, 2012. Retrieved March 3, 2020.
  12. ^ "Martinsburg Roundhouse – 304-260-4141". martinsburgroundhouse.com. Retrieved March 5, 2017.
  13. ^ Bellesiles, Michael A. (2010). 1877: America's Year of Living Violently. New Press. ISBN 978-1-59558-441-0.
  14. ^ Jenrette, Jerra. "Interwoven Mills". e-WV.
  15. ^ "About". Apollo Civic Theatre. Retrieved March 30, 2020.
  16. ^ "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on January 12, 2012. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
  17. ^ "NowData - NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved June 13, 2021.
  18. ^ "Station: Martinsburg E WV RGNL AP, WV". U.S. Climate Normals 2020: U.S. Monthly Climate Normals (1991-2020). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved June 13, 2021.
  19. ^ "Station: Martinsburg Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport, WV". U.S. Monthly Climate Normals (1981-2010). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved June 13, 2021.
  20. ^ United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved August 27, 2013.
  21. ^ "QuickFacts Martinsburg city, West Virginia". US Census Bureau QuickFacts. United States Census. Retrieved January 20, 2022.
  22. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
  23. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  24. ^ "Procter & Gamble to bring $500M plant to Berkeley County". The Journal. February 10, 2015. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  25. ^ The Norwalk: Martinsburg's Motor Car
  26. ^ "Hack Wilson". National Baseball Hall of Fame. Retrieved March 5, 2017.
  27. ^ "Lewis Robert "Hack" Wilson (1926-31)". Chicago Cubs. Retrieved March 5, 2017.
  28. ^ Thomas E Schott. "Hack Wilson". Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved March 5, 2017.
  29. ^ Local Television Market Universe Estimates, Nielsen, September 27, 2008. Retrieved November 2, 2008.
  30. ^ EPTA
  31. ^ "Ensign Frazer, Hugh Carroll". Congressional Medal of Honor Society. Retrieved 2014-August-23

External links[edit]