Martinsville, Virginia


Textile Heritage Trail Ribbon Cutting Planned

The Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corporation's (EDC) Tourism & Film Division, Dan River Basin Association, Henry County Parks & Recreation and the City of Martinsville are pleased to announce the grand opening of the area's newest attraction, the Textile Heritage Trail.

Once the sweatshirt capitol of the world and well known for producing bedding, towels and nylons, Martinsville-Henry County has been home to many great entrepreneurs. Along the interpretive Textile Heritage Trail, visitors will discover the innovation of our area textile manufacturers over the past 100 years and see how new technology has changed the face of textiles as we know it today.

A ribbon cutting ceremony for the Martinsville-Henry County Textile Heritage Trail is planned for Friday, February 15th at 1:00 p.m. and the public is invited to attend. After the ceremony, everyone is encouraged to walk the trail and enjoy live music by Fieldale Antiques' Mountain Music Jamboree.

The Textile Heritage Trail, located on South River Road in Fieldale, connects to the 3.5 mile long Fieldale Trail as part of the Smith River Trail System. The quarter-mile loop trail features an elevated boardwalk with a series of seven interpretive signs along the way. Along the self-guided tour in Fieldale, visitors will see a glimpse of the nearby historic Fieldcrest Mills opened by Marshall Field & Co. in 1919, and it's iconic smokestack. "This trail is a fantastic example how partners come together to complete a project that benefits the entire community and helps us capture a fascinating and intricate part of our heritage" said Brian Williams, Project Manager for the Dan River Basin Association. "With help from Dominion for the initial grant for phase II of the Fieldale Trail, we leveraged that in a partnership with the EDC and Henry County which allowed us to build this exciting new addition to the Smith River Trail System. The textile industry was part of who we were and helped build this community and now people can get out and learn about the history of our region while enjoying a hike and exercise at the same time."

A supplemental sign to the Textile Heritage Trail is located in Uptown Martinsville along the Uptown Connection Trail overlooking Commonwealth Clocktower. This building was home to Martinsville's very first textile mill, the Martinsville Cotton Mill Company, in 1910.

The Martinsville-Henry County Textile Heritage Trail has also been listed as a point of interest along the Southern Textile Heritage Corridor (STHC), a 700-mile National Heritage Corridor that spans from Richmond, Virginia to Montgomery, Alabama. Goals of the STHC, a grassroots organization, include:

• Saving the legacy stories of the region's cotton mill people and its textile industry, to preserve the places where those stories unfolded and to better document this era of history in all its cultural dimensions.
• Promoting economic development within the Corridor by attracting cultural heritage tourists and cultivating associated job-producing business and commerce.

According to Lynn Rumley, Executive Director of the Cooleemee's Textile Heritage Museum and Board Secretary of the STHC, "The new Martinsville-Henry County Textile Heritage Trail marks the contributions made by the men, women and children who once produced so much of the South's wealth by their labors. We are elated that the public will have a chance to share this rich heritage. Along with the Schoolfield Museum in Danville, Martinsville has made a great contribution to remembering that time when America still clothed itself."

"We are proud that the rich heritage of our area's textile mills has been included in the Southern Textile Heritage Corridor" said Jennifer Doss, Director of Tourism for Martinsville-Henry County, "This gives us an opportunity to share our stories with a much larger audience showcasing the accomplishments of our entrepreneurs and the natural beauty of Southern Virginia."

The Textile Heritage Trail was funded by The Martinsville-Henry County EDC as part of their Deep Roots Initiative with funding assistance from Dominion Power and The Harvest Foundation. It was developed by a public/private partnership between the EDC, Dan River Basin Association and Henry County Parks & Recreation Department. Roger Adams, Director of Henry County Parks & Recreation stated that "Henry County is blessed to have so many wonderful hiking, biking and multi-use trails for citizens and visitors to enjoy. These trails provide a great way for folks to get outdoors, stay active and enjoy the beautiful nature around us. The Textile Heritage Trail will add to the experience of the Fieldale Trail, while educating people on the rich textile heritage of Martinsville and Henry County."

Additional project contributors include Donald G. Trantham, Jr., Friends of the Fieldale Trail, MHC Rivers & Trails Group, Henry County PSA, Bassett Historical Center, MHC Historical Society, Virginia Department of Transportation, Fieldale Heritage Committee and the Walker and Pannill families.

About Deep Roots:

Martinsville-Henry County, Virginia is known as a destination with "Deep Roots" where unique assets and rich legacies related to Furniture & Textiles, Motorsports, Outdoor Recreation and Cultural Arts offer exceptional visitor experiences.

Deep Roots gives a respectful nod to Martinsville's past, bringing relevance to the present by celebrating contributions, and providing a gift to the future with re-purposed activities, facilities, and new economic development opportunities. Deep Roots demonstrates resilience, renewal, and revival.

About the EDC:

The mission of the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corporation is to create new job opportunities and expand the tax base for the area. The organization strives to support and develop local industry, as well as market Martinsville-Henry County globally as an exceptional place to live, work and play.

The EDC is a public-private partnership between the City of Martinsville, Henry County, the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce, the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber's Partnership for Economic Growth (C-PEG) and the Harvest Foundation of the Piedmont.