Did you know that…

1. There are eight places in America named Martinsburg. At one time there were nine, but Sandy Hook, Kentucky, was quickly renamed after its founding in the 1870s to avoid confusion with a different town.

2. Martinsburg was founded during the American Revolution by the Scottish born Gen. Adam Stephen. He named the town for a friend of his and nephew of Lord Fairfax, Thomas Bryan Martin.

3. Stephen was eventually kicked out of the Continental Army after a friendly fire accident at the 1777 Battle of Germantown. He was drunk.

4. You can still visit the house he built, which is located on East John Street, just east of Downtown. (Near the Triple Brick Museum.)

5. Stephen built his house over an opening to an extensive natural cave system that sits below Downtown Martinsburg. It was probably seen as a just-in-case escape route if the British or Native Americans attacked.

6. Other houses also had openings to the tunnel system, but most were eventually closed off or used to dump sewage into when indoor plumbing arrived.

7. The railroad arrived in Martinsburg in 1842, though the roundhouse and other railroad buildings you see today are all from after the Civil War. The originals were destroyed (they were obviously a hot target that neither side wanted the other side to have).

8. In fact Stonewall Jackson actually blew up the original B&O roundhouse in 1861.

9. The area east of Tuscarora Creek was called Irish Hill, named for the many Irish immigrants who came with the railroad.

10. Martinsburg is the 8th most populated city in West Virginia, though Berkeley County as a whole is #2 in the state. Some 104,000 people live in the county, though only 17,000 technically live in Martinsburg’s city limits.

11. The 167th Airlift Wing has been co-stationed at the Martinsburg Airport since the 50’s and has flown missions all over the world. The unit’s motto is “Mountaineer Pride Worldwide.”

A C-130H from the 167th Airlift Wing over Harper's Ferry in 2006 (Public Domain)

A C-130H from XXX over Harper’s Ferry in 2006 (Public Domain)

12. Three laps inside the Martinsburg Mall equals 2 miles.

13. The mall technically changed its named to the Foxcroft Towne Center at Martinsburg on October 1, 2015.

14. The first post office in what is now West Virginia was opened in Martinsburg in 1792.

15. All three of Martinsburg’s high schools, Martinsburg, Musselman, and Spring Mills, are ranked AAA, meaning they are among the largest in the state. (So to is nearby Hedgesville High.)


16. The oldest of the three, Martinsburg High, dates back to 1883 but was relocated in 1913.

17. Musselman High is named after Mr. and Mrs. C.H. Musselman, who owned and operated the Musselman Apple Processing Plant. Many of their workers help build the original building.

18. Before the Civil War, nearly one third of the town’s population was enslaved.

19. Noted Confederate Spy Belle Boyd operated out of Martinsburg. Her home is now owned and operated by the county’s historical society.

20. When Union forces took Martinsburg, soldiers put a Union flag over her house. One soldier insulted her mother, so she shot and killed him.

Belle Boyd, a Confederate Spy (Library of Congress/Public Domain)

Belle Boyd, a Confederate Spy (Library of Congress/Public Domain)

21. I-81, which runs through Martinsburg, was completed in West Virginia in 1966. Some 45,000 to 60,000 vehicles travel on the highway every. day.

22. Martinsburg’s only newspaper has been known as both the Evening and Morning Journal since it was founded in 1907. It’s been The Journal since 1993.

23. Martinsburg is the setting for a 1997 episode of the X-Files called “Small Potatoes,” where the town is “blessed” by babies being born with tails. The episode, however, was not shot in Berkeley county.

24. The 1985 movie “Sweet Dreams,” a biopic about Patsy Cline, however, was filmed in Martinsburg. Cline is from nearby Winchester, Virginia.

25. At the turn of the 20th century, nearly half of all workers in Martinsburg worked in the textile industry.

26. The Middlesex Knitting Company, which would become the Interwoven mill, was established in 1890. It was once the largest men’s hosiery plant in the world.

Entrance to the Plant of Interwoven Mills Martinsburg

27. Martinsburg is the fastest growing city in the state, adding more new residents in 2014 than ay other city in the state.

28. The town has a sad nickname though—”Little Baltimore“–because of its heroin problem.

29. Martinsburg once had its own car company called Norwalk, manufacturing autos from 1912 to 1922.

30. A nationwide railroad strike, which would leave many workers dead throughout the country, began in Martinsburg on July 14, 1877.


31. Martinsburg is closer five state capitals than its own: Annapolis, Maryland; Richmond, Virginia; Wilmington, Delaware; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; and Trenton, New Jersey.

32. We don’t want to play favorites, but the old Hag Mart had some of the best hot dog sauce around. We found the recipe.

Featured photo by Doug Kerr/Flickr

More: 23 Things You May Not Have Known About Berkeley County