My Martinez
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History

Martinez is a city of 36,663 residents encompassing 12.47 square miles and a rich history dating back before California achieved statehood. It features 17 parks, a pool recognized in 2012 as "Best Aquatic Facility" by the California Park and Recreation Society District 3, and plenty of open space. The waterfront features a marina and hiking trails, world class bocce ball courts and newly-renovated baseball and softball fields.

 

Photo Credit:  Google Maps

 

Don Ygnacio Martinez, the early 19th century commandante of the Presidio of San Francisco, received a 17,000-acre land grant from the Mexican government in 1824 that first brought him to the Alhambra Valley. The City was named after Martinez in 1849.

 

Photo Credit:  Wayne Hsieh | Don Ygnacio Martinez Adobe

From a trading post in 1849 to incorporation in 1876, Martinez was a gold rush and shipping boomtown. Early settlers of the county bought, sold, and shipped their goods here. One of them created the popular drink known as the "Martini".

 

Photo Credit:  The George Towner

  The city catered to gold searchers who arrived on the Carquinez Strait's south shore to take Dr. Robert Semple's horse-powered ferry boat to Benicia, California on their trek to the gold country. 

 

Photo Credit:  Benicia Historical Museum

 

Martinez was declared the County Seat of Contra Costa in 1850 and incorporated in 1876.  It is the administrative center for ____ cities, providing services such as the county legislature, county courthouse, sheriff's department headquarters, hall of records, jail and correctional facility, etc.

 

Photo Credit:  Contra Costa County

 

The local newspaper began operation in 1858 and by 1860 Martinez was the shipping port for grain from Diablo to the Livermore Valley. Railroads arrived in 1877. The Central Pacific, with the tie to the transcontinental line, came in 1879 with the world's largest ferry boat, transporting trains across the Strait to Port Costa.

 

Photo Credit:  Martinez News-Gazette

Martinez is home to the John Muir National Historic site.  For more information on John Muir and his legacy, visit:  John Muir Association  |  John Muir a Brief Biography  |  Sierra Club  |  John Muir Trail  |  The John Muir Way  |  The National Parks: America's Best Idea People - John Muir (PBS)

 

Photo Credit:  National Park Service

  Joltin' Joe DiMaggio, famed New York Yankee baseball player of the 1930's and 1940's, was born on November 25, 1914 in Martinez, California.  He was the sixth of seven children born to Italian immigrants Giuseppe (1872–1949) and Rosalia (née Lucido; 1878–1951) DiMaggio, from Isola delle Femmine, Sicily, a sister city.

The Martinez Museum, a project of the Martinez Historical Society, is housed in a Victorian cottage built in 1890 and features artifacts, documents, City maps and photographs.

 

Photo Credit:  Martinez Historical Society

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