Martinsville is the County Seat of Henry County (although it is a separate entity). According to the 2010 census, the population of the City was 13,821. Martinsville is an area of 11.0 square miles: 11 square miles of land and 0.1 square miles of water. The population density is 1,256 people per square mile. The City has a long history in manufacturing. In addition to the famous Martinsville Speedway, there are a number of interesting facts about the city and many things to see and do.
Martinsville was founded by Joseph Martin, who was an Indian Agent, explorer, and a General during the Revolutionary War. He built a plantation called Scuffle Hill on the bank of the Smith River. He was a good friend of Patrick Henry, who lived in Henry County for a short time, and for whom Henry County was named.
The primary economy of the City until after the Civil War was the production of plug chewing tobacco. Martinsville was known as the “plug tobacco capital of the world.” The city held on with plug tobacco until the early years of the 20th Century, when the local companies were bought out by R.J. Reynolds and James Buchanan Duke. The practice of these large companies was to immediately shut down the small companies.
For the next century furniture building was Martinsville’s primary industry. Today, many of these furniture makers remain in the area. However, the change in the global economy and a number of treaties made both textiles and furniture manufacturing economically unsustainable. This caused many of Martinsville’s textile and furniture companies to shut down and lay off thousands of workers because production was moving to other countries where labor was less costly. Among the furniture brands located in the area are Bassett Furniture, Bassett Mirror Company, Hooker Furniture, and Shenandoah Furniture.
Martinsville’s furniture producing history is chronicled at the Furniture Heritage Plaza in Uptown Martinsville, in the panels, “Furnishing a Nation” which is available online and at the Martinsville-Henry County Heritage Center and Museum. The nearby town of Bassett is home to the Bassett World Headquarters and the HGTV Design Studio. Name brand furniture from Bassett and Hooker is available for purchase at discount prices at local furniture outlets.
Early in the 20th Century, textile companies began to develop in Martinsville. One reason for development of the industry in this area was the availability of a willing labor pool. The furniture industry employed many local men. The textile industry employed many women. Until this time, textile and apparel manufacturing was centered in the Northeast. When the eager labor force went to work, they were able to produce competitive products at lower prices. In time, the textile industry relocated to the South. Many of the companies for which products were produced were very well know and well respected for the quality of the products. At the height of the textile industry in Martinsville, the local textile companies collectively employed more than 20,000 people.
The textile industry can be traced through a series of 6 interpretive signs. These signs are part of the Smith River Trail System and the Southern Textile Heritage Corridor.
In the 1950s, several local business leaders came together with a plan to replace the sub-standard housing in the “Mill Town” community. Using entirely private capital, they rebuilt homes originally built in the 19th Century for cotton mill employees. This effort marked the first time that houses in this area were well built and had access to all city services. When the effort was finished, they had rebuilt roughly 50 houses. The effect was a transformation from a depressed neighborhood to a center of progress for middle class African Americans.
Martinsville is now in the process of redefining itself. The goal is to create a center for technological development and manufacturing in the center of the City.
Due to the financial limitations of the city government, it is unable to provide some services to its citizens. It is possible, therefore, that the City leaders will legally convert to a Town and shift these services to Henry County.
Major industries in Martinsville are Health Care and Social Assistance, Administrative and Support and Waste Management, Local Government, Retail Trade and Manufacturing. The largest employers in the City include:
- Memorial Hospital of Martinsville
- Faneuil Inc. – Faneuil provide business process outsourcing to a number of sectors including healthcare, social programs, and transportation.
- Martinsville City Schools
- City of Martinsville
- Advantage Staffing Resources
- Piedmont Regional Community Service Board
- Wal Mart
- Southern Finishing Company – manufacturer of prefinished components for the cabinet industry
- ABH Staffing
- Kidd International Home Care – a membership organization of professional persons for the advancement of the interests of their profession.
- Palm Harbor Homes, Inc. – manufacturer and marketer of factory-built homes. Palm Harbor Homes is one of the nation’s largest builders of manufactured homes and modular homes.
Martinsville has a long history of providing medical care and other services to its residents. Memorial Hospital of Martinsville serves the greater Martinsville and Henry County area. The first hospital here was a 50-bed facility called Shackelford Hospital, which was founded by and named for Dr. Jesse Martin Shackelford, the founder of the Hospital Association of Virginia. He was an advocate of comprehensive care for the states’ citizens. Shackleford Hospital closed in 1946 and was replaced by Martinsville General Hospital, which was later replaced (1970) by Memorial Hospital of Martinsville.
A number of other healthcare facilities in Martinsville include:
- Hospice of Memorial Hospital of Martinsville
- Davita-Martinsville Dialysis
- Blue Ridge Nursing Center of Martinsville and Henry County
- Blue Ridge Rehab Center
- Golden Living Center
- King’s Grant Retirement Community
- Martinsville Convalescent Home
- Homecare of Memorial Hospital
- Housecall Home Healthcare
These facilities and agencies provide health care services to persons in Martinsville, and throughout Henry County.
Healthcare is a noble profession. Sometimes, however, mistakes are made and patients suffer. When medical malpractice occurs, it is possible to obtain compensation for your hurts and harms, lost wages, medical expenses, and your pain and suffering. If you, or a loved one, have been harmed due to medical malpractice, call Altizer Law, P.C. We have many years of experience handling medical malpractice and medical negligence cases. When you call Bettina, our entire team goes to work immediately to protect you, to seek justice for you, and to build a case that will win for you the best possible financial settlement.
Points of Interest
Martinsville is home to a number of points of interest that draw both local residents and visitors to the City.
- Virginia Museum of Natural History, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution
- Structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places:
- The Beaver Creek Plantation
- John Waddey Carter House
- Dry Bridge School
- East Church Street-Starling Avenue Historic District
- Fayette Street historic District
- Little Post Office
- Martinsville Fish Dam
- Martinsville Historic District
- Martinsville Novelty Corporation Factory
- Scuffle Hill
- Martinsville Speedway. This speedway currently has the shortest track in NASCAR stock car racing. It is paperclip-shaped, and it was one of the first paved speedways. Two NASCAR Sprint Cup and Truck Series races are held at Martinsville Speedway each spring and fall. Also in the fall is the annual Late Model Stock Car Race. Visitors to the Speedway, on weekdays between 9am and 4 pm, can walk the “Half-Mile of Mayhem.”
For other nearby points of interest, please visit our page about Henry County.
Call Altizer Law, P.C.
If you are subjected to any kind of personal injury or medical malpractice in the City of Martinsville, call your personal injury attorney at Altizer Law, P.C. When you call our office, you will be treated with compassion and respect, and our team will represent your desire for justice and compensation for your injuries and losses. With more than 25 years of experience, we are prepared to fight for you or your loved one.