Martinsville, Indiana is the county seat of Morgan County in south central Indiana. This county, comprised of some 53 small towns, is one of the fastest growing in the state. Martinsville has over 11,000 residents, a number that belies the town’s rich history and the amazing amount of things to do the community has to offer.
Several working galleries represent the arts in Martinsville, a town surrounded by readily accessible beauty and excellent networking opportunities within the greater Indianapolis arts community. Whether Martinsville artists opt to stay home, work out of a local studio or make the short drive into big city Indianapolis’ art studios and classes, they will find a warm welcome and many like-minded creative people to comune with.
The majority of Martinsville attractions run along the lines of the scene at the local public library, the local Martinsville parks and the town’s many fine historic sites, such as the Old Morgan County Jail. Courthouse Square and the Morgan County Courthouse offer up a pleasant visit when strolling around downtown Martinsville. A popular draw to Martinsville is the Morgan County Fair in August, one of the largest of its type, which makes it a major Martinsville attraction. The city also puts together a fun Fall Foliage Festival, complete with a carnival, live entertainment and classic car show.
Bars in Martinsville are more often than not the type of friendly neighborhood establishment where fans love to hang out, watch their favorite Indianapolis sports teams on a flat-screen, and enjoy some tasty pub fare while they down a couple of beers. In the Martinsville downtown sector, for example, there are several inviting taverns, including the Jefferson Lounge, The Firehouse Pub and Dawg & Kats North Side Bar & Grill. Larry’s Billiards and Video Arcade sits right next door to the Firehouse Pub, for everybody’s convenience.
Some important industries that kept Martinsville, Indiana afloat over the generations were the grain, pork, mills, distilleries, barrel builders and tannery companies during the first half of the 1800′s. Later, the town became a famous gathering place for those who believed in the healing powers of its many mineral water spas, though that industry finally faded away in the late 1900′s, usurped by the use of antibiotics.
But one of top Martinsville businesses, successful from the city’s inception to the present day, is its fisheries. The Martinsville goldfish industry is the largest center for goldfish breeding ever developed in the United States. Started in 1899 as an experiment, these centers remain today, producing an estimated 20,000,000 goldfish per year at just one site.
Children in Martinsville have the luxury of living in a tranquil Midwest environment with ready access to the bustling capital of Indiana and all the fantastic opportunities there. Martinsville festivals and other attractions such as the popular Paintball Indiana facility supplement the great offerings of Martinsville parks and the fun learning experiences available through the excellent Martinsville educational system. And Martinsville is rife with history, so don’t miss the opportunity to teach your kids about the glory days of southern Indiana.
Wide, people- and vehicle-friendly streets separate a pleasant neighborhood full of unique shops, services and residences. The downtown sector of Martinsville is one of the stalwarts on the list of historic downtowns near Indianapolis. Two prominent downtown buildings, both on the National Register of Historic Places, are the Old Morgan County Jail, now replaced by a new prison, and the Morgan County Courthouse and Town Hall on Courthouse Square.
The biggest Martinsville event is the Morgan County Fair. Since 1860, it has attracted visitors from as far as Indianapolis to the small town of Martinsville every year in August. Activities include the quintessential small Midwestern favorites, a rodeo and calf round-up, a midway and 4-H competitions. Another major event in Martinsville is the Fall Foliage Festival, a week long celebration of autumn that includes displays of Martinsville art, a farmer’s day, poetry awards, a classic car show, live music, talent shows, and much more.
Martinsville history is not comparatively long, since the city was not founded until 1822, but it’s full of twists and turns, booming business, and devastating natural disasters. Several important fisheries in Martinsville trace their roots back to 1899, and Martinsville was the site of some famous mineral water spas. The town still retains two nicknames from those days, “City of Mineral Water” and “The Artesian City.” Historic buildings like the Morgan County Public Library and the Morgan County Courthouse are located in downtown Martinsville, preserving the past for residents of this southern Indiana community.
The population of Martinsville is approximately 12,000, and they are well-served by the salt-of-the-earth Martinsville hotels and motels around town, including a Best Western, a Hillview Motel, and a Holiday Inn Express. Mention must be made, however, of the historic and lovely Victorian Rose Inn, a bed and breakfast just some ten miles down the road in Morgantown.
The Morgan County Parks & Recreation Board, headquartered in Martinsville, works hard to keep up with the phenomenal growth in Morgan County, of which Martinsville, Indiana is the county seat. Throughout the city, there are walking trails, streams, and woods, all taken care of by the city parks operators. Martinsville parks offer all types of activities and space for special Martinsville events such as birthday parties, weddings and family reunions.
Jimmy Nash City Park is the main park in Martinsville, spanning 90 acres. It’s also very close to the Morgan-Monroe State Forest, an enormous and beautiful 24,000 acre preserve that meanders through Morgan County and beyond into southern-central Indiana.
The list of famous people from Martinsville is made up of citizens who are relatively well-known locally, but not nationally famous. One exception, however, is Martinsville’s most famous resident, John Wooden, a legendary college baskeball coach and player who played for Purdue University before going on to coach at Indiana State University and UCLA. Other famous Martinsville people include Richard Bray, a United States senator, Emmett Forrest Branch, Indiana’s 31st governor, and Glenn Curtis, a member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.
Martinsville offers a nice variety of real estate for anyone who appreciates life on a somewhat smaller scale–not that Martinsville is a small city. Nestled in between the college town of Bloomington Indiana and Indianapolis it is a family-oriented community that prides itself on hard work and traditional values. Homes for sale in Martinsville are affordable and Martinsville real estate tends to hold its value
Martinsville restaurants represent a nice cross-section of the Martinsville society and culture, serving everything from American gourmet to traditional Mexican to authentic Chinese and everything in between. The list of restaurants in Martinsville includes several specialty dining establishments, such as Charlie’s Drive-In, where diners go to get back in touch with their inner 50′s and they can even get curb service. Other popular restaurants in Martinsville include Bynum’s Steakhouse, a Chili’s franchise, Gatti’s Pizza, and Forkey’s Restaurant.
Martinsville is building a new kind of tourism, one founded on its illustrious past but still looking forward to the future, one recognizing and preserving its history but not dwelling on it. In this historic city, you can take in the beautiful sights of Central Indiana at the Morgan-Monroe State Forest, roam the midway at the Fall Foliage Festival or the Morgan County Fair, or consume some delicious vittles at a Martinsville restaurant. Of course, Indianapolis is only a quick car trip away, but with all these things to do in Martinsville, who needs to go to the Circle City?