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The Courthouse: After Martinsville was established as the seat of Henry County in 1791, a log courthouse was built in 1793 on the present historic court square. Circa 1824 a two-story brick courthouse, built by Samuel W. Taliaferro, had replaced the log building, which a fire destroyed. Designed by George Tucker in a Federal-style, this second courthouse was significantly  remodeled in 1929, leaving only a few visible portions of the 1824 buildingmost notably the four columns of the front portico.
   Today the 1929 remodeled courthouse is a “contributing” building to the Martinsville Downtown Historic District. Efforts are now underway to individually list it on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places.

Martinsville: Prior to the Civil War, Martinsville’s growth centered on the courthouse square. The arrival of the railroads in the latter 19th century, however, transformed it from primarily a courthouse town to an industrial city tied to the region’s economies of tobacco, textiles, and timber, all of which spurred the city’s development during most of the 20th century.


Map by Dominic Bascone, DHR