Today is July 14, 2024

History of Martinsburg, Pennsylvania

(Thank you to Randy Stoltz who compiled most of this information)

The land on which the Borough of Martinsburg now stands is part of a tract that was purchased from the Six Nations of Indians by the Penn family. This purchase is known as the “Albany Purchase of 1754″. A Cayuga Indian Chief named Logan was instrumental in bringing about the purchase.

The “Great Cove” or “Big Cove”, which were names given to our area by the Indians, was in 1770 named “Morrisons Cove” for surveyor James Morrison. In 1785 there were 1500 acres of land surveyed for John Brumbaugh, which is the site where Martinsburg is now located. In 1792 William Penn's sons Thomas and Richard Penn issued Brumbaugh a patent for his land.
In 1815 the first commercial building was erected near the square in Martinsburg at 100 East Allegheny Street. An elevation bench marker set at 1407 feet above sea level is located at 112 East Allegheny Street. In 1817 the growing village was made a "Post Town" with George Davies being named the first postmaster in 1821. On April 2, 1832  Martinsburg, which was then part of Bedford County, was incorporated as a Borough by and act of the State legislature. Martinsburg is thought to be named for early cove pioneer John Martin and is the oldest continuously incorporated borough in Blair County. In 1846 Blair County was formed from Bedford and Huntingdon counties.
By 1850 Martinsburg had grown to a population of 442 and had seen the formation of several churches along with various businesses. The second half of the century showed modest population growth along with the establishment of the first bank, newspaper and cemetery association. The 1860's brought civil war to the country with over 980 men from Morrisons Cove answering President Lincoln's call. Morrisons Cove had men serving in numerous regiments and participating in most of the major battles of the war. July 2, 1863 saw the second day of battle at Gettysburg with Morrisons Cove having 10 men wounded, 2 mortally wounded and 2 killed while serving in the 3rd Army Corps, 110th Company C under the command of Major General Daniel Sickles. Sickles lost his leg in the battle as a result of being struck by a cannon ball. In 1872 Martinsburg Junction was constructed as a branch line of the Pennsylvania Railroad with a train station being constructed near Railroad Street. Kerosene pole lights were placed along the main streets and a telephone company was formed. The first Borough ordinance was passed on September 28, 1878 and stated that "one shall not place any material on a public street except for public improvement; the sum of one dollar shall be paid for every such offense committed. On July 4, 1881 the Martinsburg High School building was built at 133 East Allegheny Street.
 The year of 1892 was a very important year with the formation of a fire company, the purchase of a hose cart with 500 feet of hose and water being furnished to the Borough from the Lock Mountain Reservoir. In 1893 a blacksmith shop was purchased to house the fire equipment.

The turn of the century brought continued growth to the Borough with the population reaching 590 in the year 1900. The first decade featured the ground breaking at Bean Hill to build the Brownstone building to house the University of Southern Penna. The Martinsburg Old Folk’s Home, presently the Morrison’s Cove Home, was dedicated along with the first electric light plant being established along South Market Street. Streets were on the agenda for 1919 when a portion of West Allegheny Street, South Market Street, and Locust Street were being paved with vitrified brick. Then in 1924 East Allegheny and North Market Streets were paved with reinforced concrete.

The Morrison’s Cove Memorial Park which currently encompasses nearly 30 acres was incorporated in 1921 and in 1934 a memorial was dedicated to all the soldiers and sailors of the Cove. In 1940 the Borough fire equipment was moved to 133 East Allegheny Street. The need was realized for a wastewater treatment plant and in 1942 a 250,000 gallon per day plant was put into service. In 1948 the Martinsburg Community Library was opened to the public on the second floor of the Municipal Building on Allegheny Street.

By 1950, the population had jumped to 1562. In the 50′s, Valley Rural Electric opened an office and the Martinsburg Shoe Co. began operations on Highland Street. Fred B. Higgins, general Borough employee, was appointed on March 6, 1951 by ordinance No. 221 as the first Borough Manager and a new card system was set up to record water and sewer rent.

The 1960′s were a busy time for the Martinsburg area. The Morrison’s Cove High School became a Junior High resulting from the construction of the new Central High School building. In 1962 the Cove Apple Packers Cooperative was started in the former Green Giant Cannery building South/West of the Borough. On Sunday December 16, 1962 @ 2:01 am the telephone system was changed to a direct dial system with the 793 prefix. On December 1, 1963 Joseph C. Beach took over the duties of Borough Manager. May 30, 1966 featured the dedication of the “Dr. and Mrs. J. W. Hershberger Memorial Swimming Pool” located at the Morrison’s Cove Memorial Park. The continued growth of the area necessitated the upgrade of the water supply and wastewater treatment. In 1967 Wineland Wells #1 and #2 were drilled just east of the Borough line to provide 350 gallons per minute of water for the Borough and in 1968 the wastewater treatment plant was expanded to double its capacity to 500,000 gallons per day. The last classes were held in the Brownstone building in 1969 as a result of the new Spring Cove Junior High School being built in Taylor Township near Roaring Spring and the consolidation of the Martinsburg and Roaring Spring Junior High Schools. The new Martinsburg Little League Field which was constructed by the D. Merle Tipton Post No. 43 VFW was dedicated in 1969.

In April, 1971 L.C. (Red) and Don Metzler purchased Martinsburg Auto Sales, renamed it to Metzler Auto Sales, and supplied the Cove with new Ford cars & trucks, Mercury cars, Jeep vehicles, and GMC trucks. The 1970′s also gave rise to more construction in the area starting in 1972 with a new Post Office being constructed on the North/East corner of the Borough square. Later that year the Borough’s first complete Zoning Ordinance was adopted and in December the Borough fire equipment was moved from the Borough Building to its new and present location at 205 South Market Street. In January, 1974, the newly constructed Homewood Retirement Center located just West of the Borough off South Market Street began accepting residents. 1975 saw the formal opening of the Showalter Apartments on the West side of the Borough.

was a time of celebration when the Borough marked its sesquicentennial year. The Martinsburg Municipal Authority increased its board from five to seven members and in 1985 John K. Hite was appointed as Borough Manager/Borough Secretary. The Roaring Spring Blank Book sewage pump station was built in 1989 to serve the expanding needs of the company which had relocated to the Cannery building..

The 1990′s with the population standing at 2119 has possibly seen more change than any previous decade. M. Jane Staily was appointed as the fourth Borough Secretary on February 5, 1990, four years after being hired by the borough on February 18, 1986. The new Martinsburg Elementary School was built in 1991 to replace the Benson and Martin Schools. Also the Municipal Authority had a one million gallon water storage tank constructed to replace the existing reservoir due to requirements in the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act. The Wineland Well Field water pumps were connected to a radio telemetry system to aid in operational efficiency and water conservation. On January 6, 1992 Randy K. Stoltz was appointed as the fourth Martinsburg Borough Manager after serving as Borough Coordinator since February 20, 1990. The square widening / new signal lamp construction project was completed in May 1994 to accommodate turning lanes for East / West motorists on Allegheny Street and a new storm water drain system was also installed in the square as part of the project. Over 10,000 feet of main sewer pipe was installed to replace existing lines in conjunction with the new $2.9 million, 700,000 gallon per day wastewater treatment plant that was completed on May 19, 1995. To improve water / sewer billing efficiency a radio read water meter replacement program was started in 1996 and also that year the Roaring Spring Ambulance Service placed an advanced life support ambulance in the Martinsburg fire hall. Martinsburg area residents pulled together in September of 1997 to construct the "Acorn Cove" playground on a 25,000 sq. ft. play area at the Memorial Park. 1,600 people volunteered to complete the $80,000 project and make the 5 day build event a success. In February 1997 Wineland Well #3 was added to the water system, with a water supply output of 245 gallons per minute. The demolition of the Benson School, the railroad station, and the former Querry Motors building all occurred in 1998 with the Replogle Locker Plant building demolition on Railroad Street in 1999. The Martinsburg Milling Co. built a large warehouse on the Querry Motors site in 1999 and the Hershberger Memorial Pool was rededicated after a $140,000 renovation project. The 32 year old Hoover Drive pump station was replaced along with 700 feet of main sewer line at a cost of $197,500. The first Annual Drinking Water Report was delivered to all water customers in September. The end of the decade finished with Y2K planning and Year 2000 census map and address verification.

2000-  The future for Morrison’s Cove looks great to make a living and raise a family.  The population of the Borough has increased to 2236 with the completion of another national census. Water and sewer service was extended from Homewood under Cross Cove Road to the new apartments at Dog Wood Circle. Hershberger Well was updated with the addition of underground chlorine contact piping and a new white split faced concrete block pump house. On November 24th Teeter's Hotel located at 108 East Allegheny Street being built in 1855 was destroyed by fire.
2001- The well was placed back in service on July 26th at a total cost of $ 181,000.  The Spring Street ditch had 108ft of gabion baskets filled with #4 stone installed by Borough employees to stabilize the South ditch wall along the street. June 9th Borough Manager Randy Stoltz was given permission by Borough Council to kick off a fund drive for a new EMS Station. The new South First Alley 6” water main project will be remembered as the project being constructed when the tragic events of September 11, 2001 occurred with the suicide plane crashes into the twin towers, the pentagon and the flight 93 crash in Somerset Co. PA. The line was completed on September 21st from Centennial Avenue to 100 ft east of South Market Street. October brought more water line construction as the 8” main from South Market Street to the Blair County Airport was replaced.
2002- The Municipal Authority recognized the importance of managing the timber on its 287 acre Lock Mountain water shed so on February 1st a Forest Stewardship Plan was completed. After a successful EMS building fund drive April 25th was the groundbreaking of the building with the footers being dug at the 303 West Allegheny Street site, which was donated by W. Gene and Edward Henry in memory of their parents Harry and Marian Henry. On July 2nd was registered as the domain name for the Borough web site. A Source Water Protection Grant for $ 50,000.00 was received to conduct a study with USGS of the area around the Borough of Martinsburg. A grant was received for $ 99,000 to study the feasibility of constructing a compost site and methane digester to process liquid cow manure and produce electricity. Borough Council purchased a house for $ 25,000.00 at 131 East Allegheny St. then demolished it to provide much needed parking and the Municipal Authority purchased the property at 413 South Nicodemus Street, for $ 87,000.00, a two acre site with a house located on the west side of the Wastewater Plant. 
2003- Began with the Village at Morrisons Cove starting Phase 1 of their 100 acre development of the Spring Hope Farm along Spring Street. July 28th marked the dedication of the new Martinsburg Area Emergency Medical Station at 303 West Allegheny St. The $ 75,000.00 building was completed as a result of the generous donations of time and money from area citizens. The building was debt free at the time of dedication. July 2nd marked another chapter in the long running battle with Dr. George Espy concerning the condition of his property at 505 West Allegheny St. The Borough police and employees authorized by a court order cleaned out the house of many drugs and chemicals including Strychnine. The clean-up costs of $ 15,527.00 were reimbursed by Mr. Espy in his 83rd year. Timber was cut from a portion of the Lock Mountain water shed. On December 29th the Hollidaysburg American Legion Ambulance Service started 24-7 ALS service from the Martinsburg Area EMS Station.
2004- April 10th the Uniform Construction Code was adopted by the Borough of Martinsburg. The USGS Source water Protection Survey was completed and the report indicates that the underground water flows from south to north under the Borough. September 8th brought heavy rains associated with Hurricane Frances totaling 5.5” and resulting in flooding along N. Nicodemus St. Nine days later on the 17th Hurricane Ivan dumped 6” of rain causing flooding at Nicodemus St and the waste water plant was flooded from the surrounding area causing the sewer lines to back up in several areas of the Borough. The record total rain fall for September was 14.23”. December 9th the Roxy Theater building at 110 E. Penn Street was demolished.
2005-  September 27, a “Martinsburg Junction 1872” sign designed by Manager Stoltz was erected at the Railroad Junction along Central High Road. October 19th the Spring Street Ditch culvert pipe project was completed at a cost of $ 153,651.79. The project included the formation of a “wet lands” behind the Borough Garage which was required by DEP. The water line from Spring Street to State St. on Maple and the line from Maple to Mulberry on State Street was replaced with a new 6” PVC line at a cost of $ 12,867.00. A new fire hydrant was added at the corner of Mulberry and State Streets bringing the total hydrants on the system to 95. An earthen dike was built at the Wastewater plant at a cost of $ 22,000.00 to prevent any future flooding like occurred in September of the previous year.
2006-  The first “slip lining” of a sewer line was performed on the Cross Cove Road line on January 24, 2006 with the manholes also being grouted and sealed. April 22, 2006, Dean A. Smith passed away at the age of 74. Dean was a member of the Municipal Authority representing Taylor Township since 1982.
Election day May 16 marked the day that “Punch card ballots” were replaced by a new eSlate voting machine. No more “hanging chads”. The Community Fund Goal was set at $35,000 with Randy Stoltz serving as chairman since 1998. August 25th Richard and Alice Over donated the property at 108 E. Allegheny Street to the Borough of Martinsburg. The Borough agreed to improve and maintain the property as a parking lot for the Town Center District and was opened for use on October 6th. East Christiana St. from Oakdale Road into the Edgewood Acres Development was accepted by ordinance. September 7th the borough garage was spray painted green by borough employees. The final inspection of the Spring Street Ditch closing was performed on September 22nd. Martinsburg 175year Commemorative Door Stops go on sale to help raise funds for the coming celebrations. Randy Stoltz’s mother Kathryn, aunt Nina Kay Stoltz, and niece Amber Rhodes designed and painted the brick door stops. December 30th Degol Lumber located on West Penn Street closed its doors. 

Starts off on a sad note with the passing of Councilman Sheldon O. Smith at the age of 79. Sheldon was very involved in church and community affairs and will be greatly missed. April 2nd marked the 175th anniversary of the Borough of Martinsburg. Linda K. Smith took the oath of office as councilwoman, administered by District Justice Craig Ormsby, to fulfill the term of her late husband Sheldon. Jerry Mieley representing the PSAB was present to award a plaque to the Borough in honor of its 175 years of continuous incorporation. Police Chief Kerry Hoover announced that for the first time lap top computers are operational in the police cars. A dinner dance was held on April 21st at the Memorial Park with 106 in attendance. May 9th saw the shingles come off of the 133 East Allegheny Street borough building and a new 29 gauge “ash gray” metal roof installed by Lawrence Burkholder and crew for a cost of $ 18,820.09.

2008- An Our Town DVD was produced and broadcast on public television with local residents telling the history of Martinsburg. September 3rd was marked with the passing of Walter "Bud" Frederick who was a self-employed excavator who always put the needs of the Borough of Martinsburg first on his list.

2009- August 4th brought and end to the Dr. George E. Espy era of disputes with the house located at 505 West Allegheny Street being demolished. Blattenberger Street was widened, paved and had curbing installed. October 16th brought the earliest snow fall on record for Martinsburg. A new "Swift Reach" dialing system was implemented to allow the entire water system customers to be called in a matter of minutes should an emergency arise. The Gazebo at the Morrisons Cove Memorial Park was restored and dedicated on November 21st.

2010- showed the population drop by 278 people to 1,958 according to the national census. A year of extreme weather presented on February 5th a blizzard with 24" of snow with another 10" on the 10th. April 2nd an all-time record high temperature for the date of 83 degrees. April 16th brought wind gusts of 79 mph. May 3rd was the ground breaking for the new Martinsburg Municipal Authority "state of the art" nitrate water treatment plant. A 1.7 million dollar loan and a 1.3 million dollar grant were obtained to build the new plant, install a new 8" water main from Hoover Drive to Park Street and drill replacement wells for existing Wineland Wells 1 & 2. May 7th was the groundbreaking for the new Borough Building at 110 South Walnut Street. 

February 11, was the official day of occupancy of the new Borough Building at 110 South Walnut Street. Local businessman W. Gene Henry constructed the building and then donated it to the Borough of Martinsburg. The 133 E. Allegheny Street property was sold to Attorneys Haberstroh, Sullivan, Keating and George. The inside of the old building was remodeled to accommodate their law offices.
July 21, 2011 the nitrate plant was put on line reducing the nitrate level from 11 ppm to less than 1.  

Due to persistent effort of installing storm water pipe in all of Martinsburg's active ditch lines the March 2, 2012 Federal Flood Insurance Rate Map shows no flood plane in the Borough which saves residents countless dollars in flood insurance. The intersections of Mansard and Allegheny along with Mulberry and Allegheny Street had new ADA compliant sidewalk ramps installed at a cost of $ 92,000.00. A new street was built and named “Borough Way” connecting W. Allegheny Street to West Penn Street. The Martinsburg Municipal Authority purchase 10 building lots, at a cost of $ 200,000, around the Wineland Well Field to expand the well head protection zone. In November we launched a newly designed web page on which you are currently reading this information.
2013- January 21st Martinsburg opened the first of its kind recycling center with Martinsburg, North Woodbury and Huston Townships contibuting to constuct a fenced area that is accessed with a "key card" to open the electric lock on the gate. Martinsburg recycles!

2014- Martinsburg and North Woodbury Township completed a joint "Comprehensive Plan" for their communities. A town center revitalization project was completed with a street clock installed at 101 East Allegheny Street, 49 Solar lamp post lights, 22 welcome banners on power poles and hundreds of feet of new sidewalk was installed. The project utilized $493,756.23 from four grant sources. 

2015- A list of 980 Morrisons Cove Civil War Veterans was compiled from numerous sources by Randy K. Stoltz and is available for viewing in the history section of this website. 1,760 ft of red brick stenciling was completed by borough employees along the sidewalk edges of the 100 block of Allegheny and Market Streets. September 18th the Moore Building @100 East Allegheny Street was demolished by W. Gene Henry to make room for a new 40' x 40' brick faced structure.
2016-  ADA ramps were installed at the corners of Walnut & Woodlawn, Woodlawn & Mulberry, South Market & State, and South Market & Spring for a total cost of $65,451.00. A new panel Mate control system was installed at the Wastewate Treatment Plant to replace the 21 year old original. First Borough Storm Water Map completed.
2017-  January 5 a funeral procession for slain PA State Trooper, Landon E. Weaver, passed through Martinsburg on its way to Fairview Cemetery.
2018 - Richard A. Brantner, Jr. is appointed as the fifth Borough Manager effective January 24, 2018.  The properties of Nathan Dick 117 E. Allegheny Street and Steve Hoover 121 E. Allegheny Street burned during a house fire originating at the Dick residence.  Both properties were torn down later in the year and purchased by Will & Tyler LLC for additional parking for the Bolger Funeral Home.  The Borough Face Book Page was created in April.  Home Town Bank comes to Martinsburg in July.

Welcome to Martinsburg, Pennsylvania.