Martinsville, Virginia


Historical Society to Celebrate Film at Founders Day

By: John Phillips, President, Board of Directors Martinsville-Henry County Historical Society

January 16, 2024


The Martinsville-Henry County Historical Society will celebrate the film industry at Founders Day on Sunday, January 21, 2024, 3:00 P. M., at the Historic Henry County Courthouse.

Distinguished Speakers will be Tracy Tate, granddaughter of the late Julius Hermes, founder of Martin Processing, and representatives of Eastman Performance Films – Ricky Nelson, Operations Manager, and Kristoff Lievens, Site Manager. Former employees of Martin Processing, Courtaulds, and CP Films and current and former employees of Eastman Performance Films are especially invited to attend to be recognized. Attendees are encouraged to wear or bring company products and other mementos.

Hermes came to Martinsville from Patterson, New Jersey, in 1935, and managed Fontaine Converting Works for many years. He disassociated himself from the firm and started Martin Processing in Collinsville in 1956. Once a major player in the textile and carpet yarn-dying business, the company was hard hit during the late 1970s. A chemist, engineer, and entrepreneur, he redirected the company's energies into plastic film products. Four generations of the Hermes family plan to attend Founders Day.

John Phillips, Historical Society president, stated, “The Historical Society honors an industry at Founders Day each year which helped to create and develop our community. Previously recognized are furniture, textile, and lumber. We are excited to celebrate film this year and encourage everyone to join us. Film may be a global industry, but its roots are local and continue to flourish.”

Admission to Founders Day is free, made possible by corporate sponsors, Carter Bank & Trust and The Lester Group. The Historic Henry County Courthouse is fully handicap accessible. Following the presentation, refreshments will be served, and the Martinsville-Henry County Heritage Center & Museum will be open.