Martinsville Downtown: Historic Buildings, Wide Streets and Lots of Businesses

Martinsville, Indiana possesses one of the great historic downtowns near Indianapolis.  These sectors dot the Heartland and represent not only the persistent past but also the forward-looking present of their home towns.

The centerpiece of Martinsville’s downtown sector is the Morgan County Town Hall and Courthouse, rife with the antebellum architectural details used at the time of its creation. This edifice, on Courthouse Square, is a real star. Built in 1857 with typical red bricks trimmed with white, the building sports an enormous, frothy clock tower in front of its entrance. Make sure you take your camera to capture this monolith of Americana.

Another historic site in the downtown Martinsville neighborhood is the Old Morgan County Jail. The lovely brick building, more like a church than a jail, dresses up the streets nicely, and sits only a block away from the Morgan County Circuit Court. Its Italianate style, employed by designer T.J. Turner, harkens back to 1890. The facility was used as the county jail for a full century, at which point, it was bought by the Morgan County Historic Preservation Society. This group performed renovations and in 1996, the Old Morgan County Jail received a permanent listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The facility is open to the public and makes a good photo op for Midwest Indiana and greater Indianapolis history buffs. You can even get brunch inside every Sunday.

The Old Morgan County Jail, once also used by the sheriff for a home, is now used by a catering company. Dozens of other interesting businesses fill Martinsville’s downtown area. You’ll find everything from appliance repair to video arcades in the center of the city. Antique hunting in Martinsville is quite the thing to do in Martinsville for visitors and residents alike, and you’ll find several fun antique shops downtown. Martinsville real estate is also represented by a number of residential opportunities in the downtown sector, including apartments.

In February of 2010, the city government put out a plea for Martinsville residents to get involved in planning the revitalization of downtown Martinsville. Public input was requested about all aspects of the plan to renew the area, from ideas about beautifying the square to lists of businesses and services residents would like to see occupy downtown Martinsville. The town received a grant for $50,000, a Community Focus Funding contribution to get the ball rolling. Looks like Martinsville will be a town to watch in the near future.

City of Martinsville, Indiana photos