Martinez is a small city of 36,663 residents, 12.47 square miles, where parents raise their children, antique stores fill the downtown, and Amtrak stops daily. It is the home of “Joltin” Joe DiMaggio, a local boy who made good.
Martinez was one of the oldest Anglo cities in California before California became a state. Martinez 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 on their trek to the gold country.
In 1850, Martinez was declared the County Seat, bringing lawyers, judges and other permanent residents. Martinez tried to incorporate in 1850 but did not have 200 registered voters, a state mandate for incorporation. Martinez was first incorporated in 1876 and became a sixth class city by reincorporation in 1884.
Martinez is the home of the John Muir National Historic Site which features his home from 1890 until his death in 1914. Also on the property is the Don Vicente Martinez Adobe, built in 1849 by the son of Rancho owner, Don Ygnacio Martinez, of the Rancho el Pinole.
Martinez is the birthplace of “Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio,” famed New York Yankee baseball player of the 1930’s and 1940’s. Mr. DiMaggio’s Chris Craft boat is on display at the Martinez Marina park. The Martinez Museum has a small display of DiMaggio items, including his 1915 birth certificate.
Today, Martinez is a city with a strong sense of its history and a keen appreciation for the families that are its future. More than a dozen parks and plenty of open space are located within its twelve square mile area. The waterfront now features a fine marina and related activities, such as, fishing, hiking trails, world class bocce ball courts and tournament-style baseball and softball fields. Youth programs and historical museums thrive here, along with the businesses that make this city a hub of activity.