This mural in downtown Jefferson commemorates the Martin Institute, a coeducational center of learning first established as the Jackson County Academy in 1818. The name was changed around 1860 upon the bequest of a large monetary gift by the late Inferior Court Judge William Duncan Martin. The original home of the institute was burned in 1883 and replaced by the structured depicted here in 1886. The school’s reputation reached far beyond Jefferson; U. S. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Rucker Lamar was but one of its distinguished alumni. The Institute served the community until 1942, when it was the victim of an arsonist who turned out to be the son of the Jefferson Police Chief.
Built just before the Civil War, the Presbyterian Church is the oldest church building in Jefferson. It originally featured a steeple which was lost to a storm in 1943. The Presbyterians shared the church with the Baptists until they built their first permanent home in 1887. A former private residence adjacent to the church now serves as the congregational office.
Jefferson Historic District, National Register of Historic Places