Martinsville, Indiana is a moderate sized town located south of Indiana state capital Indianapolis. Formerly known as the “Goldfish Capital of the World,” Martinsville was once a popular tourist destination for the recuperative properties of its artesian mineral water health spas, then called sanitariums. Since then, this historic Martinsville business has collapsed, though the city is still proud of its heritage.
Nowadays, however, Martinsville has become less of a tourist town, though it is currently experiencing a period of revitalization, both in downtown Martinsville and elsewhere in the community. For the avid historian, there are many things to do in Martinsville. A devastating flood swept the area in 2008, wiping the slate clean for many Martinsville residents, but now, with the help of several Martinsville businesses, organizations, and the Martinsville Chamber of Commerce, this southern Indiana town is turning into a hotbed of historical monuments and sites.
Top Martinsville Things to Do
|Antique hunting – The town of Martinsville has an unusually high concentration of antique shops, so foraging among them is a dream for Hoosier antique lovers. Some of the top places for antique shopping in Martinsville are Hummingbird Heaven and Jailbird Antiques, the Time Traveler Antique Mall, Antiques on Main, Good Ole Antiques and Berries and Ivy.|
|Historic sites in downtown Martinsville – Downtown Martinsville is one of the most historic downtowns in the Midwest. Completed in 1859, Martinsville’s Morgan County Courthouse is one of a startling few ante bellum courthouses left in the United States. Other historic sites include the Old Morgan County Jail, the Grassyfork Fisheries Office, the Goethe Link Observatory, and the Martinsville Sanitarium, one of the last legacies of the town’s tourist past.|
|Morgan-Monroe State Forest – Covering over 24,000 acres of fertile deciduous forest, it’s easy to immerse yourself in this massive monument to the former wilds of Central Indiana. Morgan-Monroe State Forest is filled with high ridges, sweeping valleys, and plenty of interesting landscape and wildlife.|
|Old Morgan County Jail – Here is a beautifully preserved example of period architecture and a noble historic building in the downtown sector of Martinsville. Well worth a visit, it makes a nice photo op and a fun thing to do in Martinsville for tourists.|
|Paintball Indiana – Twenty acres of fun and heart-stopping paintball games draws plenty of visitors to Martinsville from Southside Indy. Indeed, many Martinsville children of all ages consider it a rite of passage experience for growing up in this otherwise quiet town.|
|Town Hall – The Morgan County Courthouse or Town Hall in Martinsville’s regal downtown neighborhood makes our lists of things to do in Martinsville for its historic value alone, but its graceful antebellum architecture is memorable as well.|
Martinsville, once a thriving tourist town, has somewhat fallen from this former pinnacle of pet fish and healing waters. Now, however, the town 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. There are still many historical structures in Martinsville, and visiting them is a truly Martinsville thing to do, but that’s just the start of the new tourism in Martinsville. In this historic city, you can take in the beautiful sights of Central Indiana at the Morgan-Monroe State Forest, 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?
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