Martinsburg, West Virginia is the "big city" of the Eastern Panhandle with a population of approximately 18,000. It has been recognized as the fastest growing city in the state and the "Gateway to the Shenandoah Valley".
Founded if 1778 by General Adam Stephen during the Revolutionary War, Martinsburg is rich in history and full of character. Its history actually predates back to the middle of the eighteenth century with significant events relating to the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War, and eventually the Civil War. Martinsburg's location relevant to Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, D.C. brought about the B&O Railroad in 1842 and the B&O Roundhouse and Station Complex in 1849. Later in history Martinsburg became the epicenter for the Great Railroad Strike of 1877 which spread nationwide. In 1907 The Evening Journal was established as the source for Martinburg's local news. It has had several name changes since its inception, but it still serves as the Eastern Panhandle's primary newspaper.
During World War II the Newton D. Baker hospital treated thousands of wounded war veterans. In 1946 the military hospital became part of the Veterans Administration and the hospital has grown to become the VA Medical Center of Martinsburg, West Virginia, providing care to the nation's veterans . A neighboring hospital formerly known as City Hospital has since been incorporated into West Virginia University Healthcare's portfolio and been renamed to the Berkeley Medical Center, serving area residents for decades. Numerous other federal government agencies have operations throughout Martinsburg such as the United States Coast Guard (USCG); the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco (ATF), and Firearms; the Internal Revenue Service (IRS); the West Virginia Air National Guard; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Martinsburg has developed into the commercial center for the Eastern Panhandle, drawing in a multitude of restaurants and stores which support the neighboring towns of Jefferson County, Berkeley County, and Morgan County. Lying on the Interstate-81 corridor between Winchester, Virginia and Hagerstown, Maryland, the city is a prime location for regional transportation services. Large employers such as Quad Graphics, Macy's, FedEX, and Ecolab have taken advantage of the location for major distribution and other companies are following suit.
Retail centers at Foxcroft Towne Center and the Commons Shopping Center have become destinations for many of the best big-box retailers like Target, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Dick's Sporting Goods, Lowe's, KMart, and Gabe's. The same retail centers are also home to numerous restaurant chains such as Outback, Olive Garden, Applebee's, and Cracker Barrel. Martinsburg is also home to the regions largest movie theater, several hotel chains, and higher learning institutions such as Blue Ridge Community and Technical College or the James Rumsey Technical Institute.
The city is home to two municipal parks at War Memorial Park and Lambert Park and several festivals for the public. The largest community event is the Mountain State Apple Harvest Festival which is a week-long celebration that includes arts and crafts merchandise, numerous music acts, a float parade, and the county's beauty pageant.
The real estate market in Martinsburg is generally a buyer's market with plenty of opportunity for investment. Downtown Martinsburg is primed for a rejuvenation with an abundance of commercial and industrial buildings available for renovation. The housing market is similar with lower entrance points than many of the neighboring towns making a prime location for first-time buyers and those looking for investment property. Martinsburg is a rather large town in area so many of the listings in Berkeley County are listed with a Martinsburg address, and so there are several areas which feature higher-end homes with larger lots, luxury features, and higher values. The rental market in Martinsburg is similar with many low payment rentals throughout the downtown areas. Larger single-family homes can be found in the outlying areas with a variety of size and construction. Rental opportunities have a large band of payment options ranging from a low of several hundred dollars monthly for a small one or two bedrrom efficiency up to $2,500 for a large single-family home with four or more bedrooms.
**This article was written by Adam Miller. All thoughts and opinions are my own and do not reflect Coldwell Banker or its affiliates. The above information is for promotional purposes and may not be factual.**