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A Guide to Martinsville, Virginia

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Breit Cantor Grana Buckner: Kevin Biniazan, Esq. Virginia Beach, VA Abuse Guardian

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This article is sponsored by the child molestation attorneys in Martinsville. We encourage residents and visitors to learn more about the history of the city.

All About Martinsville

Martinsville is an independent city of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Located near the state's southern border, the city is the county seat of Henry County and the principal city of the Martinsville Micropolitan Statistical Area. It was founded by Joseph Martin – an American Revolutionary War General, Indian agent and explorer – who developed his plantation Scuffle Hill on the banks of Smith River. In its early years, the city's chief industry was the manufacture of plug chewing tobacco. Later on, its main industry was furniture construction.

In 1941, American company DuPont developed one of the world's largest textile nylon filament manufacturing plants in Martinsville; thus, starting the growth of the textiles industry in the area. For several years, it was known as the "Sweatshirt Capital of the World." In the 1980s, the city had more millionaires per capita than any other city in the U.S. Business leaders like Whitney Shumate worked to improve the sub-standard housing in the area. He cleared out the sub-standard rental housing neighborhood of Mill Town for the construction of new nomes. The depressed civic area gradually became a center of progress as middle-class blacks began to prosper.

However, in the early 1990s, the textiles and furniture manufacturing industries in Martinsville became economically unsustainable. Firms closed down and production moved to other countries. Today, it is repositioning as a center for technology development and manufacturing.  On December 10, 2019, Martinsville's city council voted unanimously in favor of reverting from a city to a town because of economic and demographic concerns.

National Register of Historic Places (NRHP)

The city of Martinsville is home to many historic landmarks and establishments that were added to the NRHP. This includes the following:

  • Beaver Creek Plantation
    • Built in 1837 by the Harston family, it was a large tobacco plantation that was the center of an empire in tobacco growing and slave trading.
  • John Waddey Carter House
    • A Queen Anne architectural style historic home built in 1896, based on a design by architect George Franklin Barber.
  • Dry Bridge School
    • Previously known as East Martinsville Grammar School, it is a historic Rosenwald school built between 1928 and 1930.
  • East Church Street-Starling Avenue Historic District
    • Located in a residential section of Martinsville, it encompasses 117 buildings, one structure and one object.
  • Fayette Street Historic District
    • Located in a traditionally African American section of the city, it encompasses 116 buildings, including commercial, religious, educational and residential.
  • Litte Post Office
    • Part of the East Church Street-Starling Avenue Historic District, it is a historic post office building built in 1893.
  • Martinsville Fish Dam
    • Located near Martinsville, the dam is a Native American low head dam in the Smith River.
  • Martinsville Historic District
    • The national historic district encompasses 94 buildings, one site and three structures in the central business district of the city.
  • Martinsville Novelty Corporation Factory
    • Built in 1929, the historic factory was the last significant furniture manufacturer established in the city before the Great Depression.
  • Scuffle Hill
    • Originally built in 1905 by tobacco magnate Col. Pannill Rucker, the Colonial Revival style historic home was named after the first plantation in Henery County.


Other than the historical sites of Martinsville, visitors to the area can view its arts and culture scene at the Piedmont Arts Association and Virginia Museum of Natural History.

Established in 1961, the Piedmont Arts Association is a nonprofit museum accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. Opened by a group of local artists, including the American artist, historian and cartographer Jessamine Shumate, it is in partnership with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. The museum hosts up to six exhibits a year and houses six galleries. In 2017, it opened the outdoor gallery of installation art, R.P. Gravely-A.J. Lester Art Garden.

Founded in 1984 as The Boaz Foundation, the Virginia Museum of National History is the natural history museum for the state of Virginia. Located on Starling Ave. in Martinsville, it is affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution. The museum housed more than 22 million items, including the first intact stromatolite head – one of the largest complete heads in the world – ever to be found in Virginia.

Learn more: The Historical Significance of Pulaski, VA

Our Local Office

Contact our Martinsville child molestation lawyers if you or a loved one has been a victim of child abuse. We know it would not erase the trauma, but we can still help you get the justice and compensation you deserve. Call our office now to schedule your free consultation.

Breit Cantor Grana Buckner: Kevin Biniazan, Esq. Sexual Abuse Lawyers

600 22nd St #402
Virginia Beach, VA 23451
(757) 755-8483 

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