The city of Martinsburg, West Virginia is in the eastern panhandle region of the state, and it is the state’s eighth most populated city. It was originally founded in the state of Virginia (before the land was named West Virginia) by Adam Stephen, a Major General who worked with General George Washington during the American Revolutionary War. It was named after Colonel Thomas Bryan Martin who is the nephew of Thomas Fairfax, the Sixth Lord Fairfax of Cameron. Adam Stephen established a home in Martinsburg, and it is now open as the Adam Stephen House and Triple Brick Museum. You can visit the house and museum and get a glimpse into the life of this man.
Now some of you are saying, “This is great. I like how they were able to make his home into a museum. It is good to know that he served with George Washington. I did hear that he died in 1791 which means that he was not around when the railroads began in America. This means that this man had nothing to do with railroads. Therefore, I will have nothing to do the Adam Stephen House and Triple Brick Museum.”
Adam Stephen had nothing to do with the railroad since he passed away over twenty-five years before the railroad began in America. Therefore, you are right to say that he has nothing to do with the railroad. However, there is more to the story.
The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, the first railroad in America, began in Baltimore, Maryland in 1828, and it made it way to Martinsburg in 1842. In 1849 the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Roundhouse was constructed to serve the locomotives and rolling stock. (The roundhouse still stands today but is partially in ruin. It is the oldest steel truss roundhouse in the world, and tours are available on select Saturdays. It was also the site at a train raid led by General Thomas Stonewall Jackson in 1861.)
Now some of you are saying, “That is nice. It is great that they were able to spare this roundhouse, but what does this have to do with Adam Stephen?”
That is a very good question. Here is the answer.
As mentioned, the Adam Stephen House is a museum. It is park of the Adam Stephen House and Triple Brick Museum complex. What is the Triple Brick Museum? Here is where the connection to the railroad. Today, it is a museum displaying artifacts of old Martinsburg. Built in 1874 by Philip Showers, it was built as three dwellings, and it was rented out to… railroad workers and their families. Among the relics on display in the museum are railroad items.
Now you have a reason to visit the Adam Stephen House and Triple Brick Museum, and you can also watch trains roll by as well.
The Adam Stephen House and Triple Brick Museum is located at 309 East John Street in Martinsburg, West Virginia, and it is operated by the General Adam Stephen Memorial Association Incorporated. It is open from May to October on Saturday from 10:00am to 5:00pm and Sunday from 12:00pm to 5:00pm. Plus, on occasion, tunnels that are under the house are also open for tours. Please note that neither the house, the museum nor the tunnels are handicap accessible. Parking is on the street, and there is an uphill climb from the street to reach the house and museum. Admission is free, but donations are gladly accepted to keep the structures open and to keep the history alive for generations to come. You can get more information at http://www.orgsites.com/wv/adam-stephen/.