Martinsburg was founded in 1778
by General Adam Stephen who named it in honor of Colonel Thomas
Bryan Martin, a nephew of Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of
The first post office in what is now West Virginia was
established at Martinsburg in 1792.
The Baltimore and Ohio (B&O)
Railroad reached Martinsburg in 1842. The B&O Roundhouse and Station
Complex was first constructed in 1849.
In 1863, Isabelle “Belle”
Boyd, a famous spy for the Confederacy, was arrested in Martinsburg
by the Union Army and imprisoned.
The city of Martinsburg was
incorporated by an act of the West Virginia Legislature on March 30,
The Great Railroad Strike of 1877 began July 14, 1877 in
Martinsburg and spread nationwide.
Telephone service first began
in Martinsburg in 1883.
In 1889, electricity began to be
furnished to Martinsburg as part of a franchise granted to the
United Edison Manufacturing Company of New York.
mills began operations in Martinsburg in 1891 and grew to be the
largest manufacturer of men's hosiery in the world.
of the "Apollo Civic Theatre" was completed in 1913.
thousand (1,039) men from Berkeley County participated in World War
I. Of these, forty-one were killed and twenty-one were wounded in
battle. A monument to those who fell in battle was erected in 1925.
During World War II, the Newton D. Baker Hospital in Martinsburg
treated thousands of soldiers wounded in the war. In 1946 this
military hospital became a part of the Veterans Administration (VA).
The VA Medical Center in Martinsburg is still in service providing
care to United States veterans.
Beginning in the late 1940s and
through the 1950s, many of the mills and factories operating in
Martinsburg shut down and went out of business, dealing a major blow
to the local economy.