“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Martinsville, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Connecting Communities

The Dick & Willie Passage

— Smith River Trail System —

Connecting Communities Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bernard Fisher, September 8, 2022
1. Connecting Communities Marker
Inscription.  The Dick & Willie Railway linked the rural counties with the urban worlds of Martinsville and Danville in a new and exciting way. "Dick & Willie" was the popular name for the Danville & Western Railway. At a time when most travel was made by horse, mule or river transport, the train almost seemed alive with its breathy, powerful steam engines. It became a central feature of life shared by mountain and city dwellers. Families rode the train to visit relatives and other loved ones. Farmers and businesses used it to transport their crops and goods to wider markets.

Today, the concept of connectivity and economic development remains vital as Martinsville and Henry County develop a system of recreational trails that makes the area a more active place to live and do business while preserving the important history of routes like the Dick & Willie.

The first steam engine on the Dick & Willie, circa 1890 Photo from the collection of Kenney Kirkman
An early steam engine on the Dick & Willie Photo courtesy of Bassett Historical Center
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City of Martinsville Department of Parks & Recreation, Henry County Parks & Recreation, Dan River Basin Association, the harvest foundation.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceParks & Recreational AreasRailroads & Streetcars.
Location. 36° 41.047′ N, 79° 50.567′ W. Marker is in Martinsville, Virginia. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Fisher Street and Fishel Street (Virginia Route 174), on the right when traveling east. Access the trail from the Fisher St parking lot. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 815 Fisher St, Martinsville VA 24112, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Continued Connections (approx. half a mile away); The Dick & Willie Passage (approx. half a mile away); Dry Bridge School (approx. 0.7 miles away); a different marker also named The Dick & Willie Passage (approx. one mile away); Changing With Industry (approx. 1.2 miles away); DeShazo's "Silo" (approx. 1˝ miles away); Traditions to Celebrate (approx. 1.6 miles away); Martinsville's Early Textile Mills (approx. 1.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Martinsville.
Also see . . .
1. Dick & Willie Passage Rail Trail. Official Tourism
Connecting Communities Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bernard Fisher, September 8, 2022
2. Connecting Communities Marker
Site for Martinsville-Henry County, Virginia (Submitted on September 9, 2022.) 

2. Dick & Willie Passage Rail Trail. TrailLink by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (Submitted on September 9, 2022.) 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 9, 2022. It was originally submitted on September 9, 2022, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia. This page has been viewed 39 times since then and 7 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 9, 2022, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.

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Oct. 4, 2023