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Martinsburg Roundhouse Center

National Historic Landmark, Martinsburg, WV

Use Plan

Approved November 1, 2005


The purpose of this document is to establish an approved Use Plan for the Martinsburg Roundhouse Center.


The present buildings date from 1866, when the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad began rebuilding of their facilities in Martinsburg, West Virginia, after the destruction during the Civil War. The main buildings, consisting of the Bridge and Machine Shop, the West Roundhouse, the Frog and Switch Shop, and the East Roundhouse were completed by 1872. The facility was in full operation until the mid-1980's, when operations began to be transferred to other locations. Operations closed down completely on March 14, 1988, and the property was effectively left abandoned. On May 14, 1990, young vandals set fire to wooden pallets stored in the East Roundhouse nearly totally destroying the building. Vandalism, weather and neglect further damaged windows, doors, and roofs of the remaining buildings.

In 1999, the Berkeley County Commission purchased the complex and transferred ownership to the newly created Berkeley County Roundhouse Authority. The Authority began active fund raising through Federal, State and private funding and started restoration of the complex. In June 2003, the complex was designated a National Historic Landmark.

A feasibility study for the adaptive reuse of the complex was undertaken by the Hillier Group. A later study was performed by Janice Barlow Associates to further identify possible uses. In addition, an in-house study group was tasked with developing a general use plan including a survey of potential users. During the intervening years, many individuals and local organizations have made suggestions.

The restoration of the complex began in earnest in 2000 and has progressed to the point that something beyond limited use can begin by the end of 2005. With this in mind, it is time to establish the official Use Plan for the Martinsburg Roundhouse Center.

The Complex

The facility is sited on 13.65 acres in downtown Martinsburg. It consists of three major buildings, the Bridge and Machine Shop, the West Roundhouse and the Frog and Switch Shop. In addition, there are the East Roundhouse Ruins, the Car Shop and the Saw Shop. Also on the site is a switch control building, Miller Tower.

Planned Uses

The overall planned use for the facility is a multi-purpose community center providing facilities for concerts, trade shows, conventions, exhibits and other public events. A certain amount of space is set aside for dedicated uses, such as office space, long-term lease space, and museum space. The specific use of each of the principal buildings follows:

Long Range Plans

Ultimately, the historic rail heritage of the property will be emphasized. The Center owns a circa-1925 B&O caboose (presently the office) and will look to add a steam locomotive and other cars in the future. With a spur rail reintroduced to the complex, switching of the spur will be controlled from Miller Tower.