Martinsville, Indiana

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Martinsville is a city in and the county seat of Morgan County, Indiana, United States;[3] the population was 11,698 at the 2000 census.

Contents

History

The Morgan County courthouse, completed in 1859, still shines in its red brick and Italianate design. This is one of very few pre Civil-War courthouses existing in Indiana. Built by Perry Magnus Blankenship. Architect Isaac Hodgson designed the courthouse. Mr. Hodgson designed six Indiana courthouses including Jennings County (1859), Morgan County (1857), Henry County, Bartholomew County (1871), and his largest in Marion County, in Indianapolis.

In 1899 Eugene Shireman, a Martinsville entrepreneur, turned his swamp land into fisheries and started Grassyfork Fisheries.[4] Once dubbed the “Goldfish Capital of the World,” today Martinsville has several large fisheries that sell fish to many parts of the world. Shireman's actions transformed the landscape of the Martinsville area forever, and his fisheries can be seen today throughout Shireman subdivision. Martinsville is also home to other fisheries.

From 1888 until 1968 visitors sought out the many artesian mineral water heath spas (called sanitariums then) of Martinsville for health benefits. Over the course of nearly 100 years, almost a dozen sanitariums were in operation for various periods of time, including the first black spa in Martinsville.

Albert Merritt (1871–1958), beloved founder of the Boy's Club in Martinsville, born near Bowling Green, was the son of former slaves. He came to Martinsville Mineral Springs Sanitarium in the 1890s from a job as a porter at the Sennings Hotel in Louisville, and lived at the sanitarium for the rest of his life, never marrying. He worked with the children of Martinsville for fifty years, building a clubhouse on North Marion Street. Merritt Park on the northwest end of town is named for Albert.

Visitors would travel by rail and road to bathe and refresh in the mineral springs and waters. Many luminaries visited Martinsville in the early 20th century to enjoy the mineral waters and spas for their perceived therapeutic and health restoring qualities. (Photographs of the sanitariums.) On top of what used to be the National Sanitarium a refurbished neon sign still displays "Martinsville City of Mineral Water " as it did so many years ago.

In 1892 the Old Hickory Furniture Company [5] was formed. The Morgan County Public Library’s Digital Archive has a collection of photographs of Old Hickory furniture including some displays for Marshall Field & Co.

Carol Jenkins Murder

On the night of Sept. 16, 1968, Carol Jenkins [6], a 21-year-old black woman, was murdered in Martinsville. Many assumed the murderer was a local person. Many reporters complained of locals refusing to talk about the case and there was speculation of a cover up [7].

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