Martinsville, Indiana

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Martinsville, Indiana
City of Martinsville
Martinsville, Indiana
Martinsville, Indiana
Nickname(s): "Goldfish Capital of the World"
Location in the state of Indiana
Location in the state of Indiana
Coordinates: 39°25′24″N 86°25′26″W / 39.42333°N 86.42389°W / 39.42333; -86.42389Coordinates: 39°25′24″N 86°25′26″W / 39.42333°N 86.42389°W / 39.42333; -86.42389
Country United States
State Indiana
County Morgan
Township Washington
 • Mayor Shannon Kohl (R)
 • Total 4.51 sq mi (11.68 km2)
 • Land 4.49 sq mi (11.63 km2)
 • Water 0.02 sq mi (0.05 km2)  0.44%
Elevation[2] 604 ft (184 m)
Population (2010)[3]
 • Total 11,828
 • Estimate (2016)[4] 11,669
 • Density 2,634/sq mi (1,017.1/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 46151
Area code(s) 765
FIPS code 18-47448[5]
GNIS feature ID 438684

Martinsville is a city in Washington Township, Morgan County, in the U.S. state of Indiana.[6] The population was 11,828 at the 2010 United States Census. The city is the county seat of Morgan County.[7]


Martinsville was founded in 1822.[8] It is said to be named for John Martin, a county commissioner.[9] A post office has been in operation at Martinsville since 1823.[10]

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.[11] 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.[12] 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.[13] 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.[14]

In 1892, the Old Hickory Furniture Company[15] 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.[16]

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,[17] the local hospital's decisions,[18] 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.[19]

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.[20]

Racial Prejudice[edit]

Historically, Martinsville was the place of some racial controversies, such as the 1968 murder of 20-year-old African American, Carol Jenkins, who was stabbed to death with a screwdriver while doing part-time work selling encyclopedias door-to-door.

Carol Jenkin's murder remained unsolved for 33 years until Kenneth Richmond was arrested for the crime. Richmond was a nearby Hendricks County resident who was passing through Martinsville on the night Jenkins was murdered.[21] It was revealed that, following Carol's murder, Richmond laughed and said to his unknown accomplice, "She got what she deserved."[22]

The white couple Don and Norma Neal, who called the police to try to help Carol a half-hour before she died, received harassment and death threats after it was revealed they tried to help the young woman.

In 2014, the Neals proposed a monument in Martinsville in Carol's memory. The town committee voted to put it on the town square, but the plans were scrapped after the county commissioner, Norman Voyles, said he "started getting flack" about it. The Neals are currently looking for a new location for the monument.[21]

Martinsville still fights its reputation for racism and prejudice, though many people living there say they welcome people from all races, sexual orientations, and religions. The high school's LGBTQ club was the highest charter in 2015,[23] and town leaders have spoken out against and enacted orders in defiance of Indiana's controversial RFRA.[24]


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).[25]

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.[1]


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.[26]




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%
Est. 2016 11,669 [4] −1.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[27]

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[3] of 2010, there were 11,828 people, 4,610 households, and 2,990 families residing 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 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.

2000 census[edit]

As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 11,698 people, 4,621 households, and 3,086 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,620.6 people per square mile (1,012.7/km²). There were 4,880 housing units at an average density of 1,093.2 per square mile (422.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 98.62% White, 0.01% African American, 0.27% Native American, 0.18% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.25% from other races, and 0.56% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.00% of the population.

There were 4,621 households out of which 32.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.8% were married couples living together, 11.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.2% were non-families. 28.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the city, the population was spread out with 25.1% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 29.3% from 25 to 44, 20.9% from 45 to 64, and 15.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 96.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $32,746, and the median income for a family was $40,304. Males had a median income of $31,215 versus $22,090 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,664. About 8.7% of families and 11.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.8% of those under age 18 and 16.4% of those age 65 or over.


  • Fall Foliage Festival[28]
  • Martinsville on the Square
  • Farmer's Market Day
  • Morgan County Fair[29]
  • Morgan County Relay for Life[30]
  • Artie Fest


The Metropolitan School District of Martinsville administers the public schools of Martinsville. Elementary schools include Brooklyn Elementary, Centerton Elementary, Green Township Elementary, Paragon Elementary, Poston Road Elementary, Smith Elementary, and South Elementary. There is an intermediate academy called Bell Intermediate Academy 5th and 6th grade. There is also a middle school called John R. Wooden Middle School 7th and8th grade. Martinsville High School.[31] Is the high school. There is also Hammons off-campus community school. Martinsville has one private school, Tabernacle Christian School, which has classes for preschool through twelfth grade.

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ a b "G001 - Geographic Identifiers - 2010 Census Summary File 1". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-07-29. 
  2. ^ "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 2012-12-11. 
  4. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017. 
  5. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ "Martinsville, Indiana". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2017-05-07. 
  7. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  8. ^ Blanchard, Charles (1884). Counties of Morgan, Monroe and Brown, Indiana: Historical and Biographical. F.A. Battey & Company. p. 81. 
  9. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 201. 
  10. ^ "Morgan County". Jim Forte Postal History. Retrieved May 7, 2017. 
  11. ^ Grassyfork Fisheries[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ "Our Town: Martinsville". 
  13. ^ Photographs of the sanitariums[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ "Martinsville, IN : City of Mineral Water Sign". 
  15. ^ Old Hickory[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-06-11. 
  17. ^ url=
  18. ^ url=
  19. ^
  20. ^ National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  21. ^ a b Chapman, Sandra. "Monument for Martinsville murder victim rejected". WTHR. 
  22. ^ Rimer, Sara. "After Arrest, Town Shamed by '68 Killing Seeks Renewal". 
  23. ^ url=
  24. ^ url=
  25. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  26. ^ "Martinsville, Indiana Kppen Climate Classification (Weatherbase)". Weatherbase. 
  27. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Archived from the original on May 12, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  28. ^ "". 
  29. ^ "Morgan County Fair". 
  30. ^ "Relay For Life of Martinsville". 
  31. ^ "Metropolitan School District of Martinsville". Retrieved 2013.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)

External links[edit]