During the 1920's through seventies, Fayette Street was a bustling area of Martinsville with shops, restaurants, entertainment, and more. Dr. Dana O. Baldwin and brothers were prominent entrepreneurs during that time. The City of Martinsville designated the The Dana O. Baldwin Block to memorialize the contributions of Dr. Baldwin. The Baldwin Building which houses New College Institute was built on the property. As a tribute, the foundation commissioned Susan Morten to produce an oral history featuring local citizens who described the lives of African-Americans in that era. The DVD's are available for purchase at a cost of $5.00 each. They may be purchased at the FAHI Museum, Martinsville Visitor Center, or the Foundation office. Read more.
Building Receives Official Name
Four years since its opening, the building on the Dana O. Baldwin Block has an official name, The Baldwin Building. New College Foundation board members chose the name because it is how the building has been unofficially referred and it memorializes Baldwin’s contributions to city.
Built to house New College Institute, the facility also is home to the Martinsville Henry County Economic Development Corporation, and the Martinsville Visitor Center. Venue space is provided to the public for private, community and corporate functions in the Martin-Lacy Lecture Hall.
“It is very much a building for the community,” said Patrice Newnam, chairwoman of New College Foundation. “It is state of the art and considered a local gem.”
The City of Martinsville deeded the land to the Foundation and construction was funded through public contributions, federal and state grants so that New College Institute would have a modern location where residents could earn bachelor’s degrees locally. Over four hundred students have earned degrees and professional certificates through programs at NCI over its twelve-year history.
“It is a fitting name considering Dr. Baldwin owned the entire block,” FAHI executive director, Chauncey Adams said. He and his brothers contributed much to the entrepreneurial spirit which helped the city as a whole.
On the walls of an exterior seating area, murals painted by Amanda Honore’ Donley of Woolwine depict scenes from the past of the Fayette Street area which features the business and cultural life during Baldwin’s era. Inside is a historical exhibit on the first floor that follows a similar theme.
“We are proud of this facility and happy to make it available to the public. It is an asset to uptown Martinsville and the community,” said Newnam.