Martinez is one of California?s oldest Anglo cities. Incorporated in 1876, the community?s colorful history centers on its early farming and mining industries. The Gold Rush and grain and wine production were other major draws to the area in the 19th century. In 1849, a trading post was established in Martinez. In 1877, the railroad was introduced to Martinez and two years later, the world?s largest ferry boat arrived. All of these developments contributed to the rapid growth of the community. By 1880, vineyards dominated the area. The arrival of the Shell Oil Company in 1915 encouraged even more people to move to Martinez.
Martinez, CA today is home to many historical attractions that celebrate the community?s rich past. Captain Joseph Walker, who discovered the Yosemite Valley in the 1830s, is buried at Martinez?s Alhambra Cemetery, a California Point of Historical Interest. Joe DiMaggio was born in Martinez in 1915. The Martinez Museum houses a display of DiMaggio items, including his birth certificate. The community is also famous as the birthplace of the ?Martinez Special,? otherwise known as the martini. At the Martinez Historical Museum, residents and visitors have the opportunity to learn more about the area?s history. The museum is located in the Borland House, a Victorian home built in the late 1800s. A research library is also located at the museum. At the John Muir National Historic Site, residents can explore the naturalist?s 14-room mansion. The Don Vicente Martinez Adobe is also located on the site.
Martinez offers plenty of activities to the 55-plus set. A senior community center offers numerous services and classes, including country line dancing, china painting and quilting. Pancake breakfasts, bridge, poker and bingo are a few additional activities offered by the center. When they?re ready for some outdoor fun, Martinez residents journey to Waterfront Park, the city?s largest recreational facility. The 150-acre park has multiple ball fields, horseshoe pits, playgrounds, Bocce ball courts, a marina and a fishing pier.
Nearby Mt. Diablo State Park offers stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Farallon Islands and the Cascade and Santa Cruz mountain ranges from its 3,849-foot summit. Hiking, biking, horseback riding and camping are favorite activities at the park. A museum, an observation deck and an art gallery enrich visitors? experiences. Fishing, swimming and windsurfing are enjoyed at nearby China Camp State Park. At the Point Reyes National Seashore, residents can look for about 50 species of native land and marine animals and can enjoy biking, hiking, horseback riding, kayaking and camping. The 23,000-acre Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge is an ideal fishing, hunting, hiking and kayaking destination. Approximately 280 species of birds reside at the refuge, making it a bird-watcher?s paradise.
Post-secondary students can choose from various nearby colleges and universities. These include Cal State Hayward with its Concord campus, Diablo Valley College, University of California at Berkeley, Merritt College, Contra Costa College and Laney College.
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