The History of Martinez, California
For the stable population of the Karkines Indians, the gorgeous, lush Alhambra Valley was probably a seasonal foraging "pantry". The Karkines were part of the Indian community Costanoan.
In 1824, the Alhambra Valley was included in a land grant of 17,000 acres granted by the Mexican government to Don Ygnacio Martinez for services given to the Royal Spanish and Mexican armies. The adobe house now located at the rear of the John Muir Home Historic Site was built in 1849 by Don Ygnacio 's son, Don Vicente.
In 1847, Dr. Robert Semple, a Kentucky dentist who had served as a lieutenant in the Bear Flag Rebellion of California, contracted with General Mariano Vallejo to run a ferry service between Benicia and Martinez (the first such service in the Bay Area) across the Carquinez Strait. The ferry was meant to play a major role in Martinez 's production.
Semple 's primitive ferry boat was the only crossing on the Carquinez Strait, and one of the few ways to get to the gold fields in a hurry from San Francisco and points south, starting with the Gold Rush in 1849. With some interruptions, the ferry service between Martinez and Benicia will continue until 1962, when the opening of the George Miller, Jr. Uh, bridge.
Recognizing that the family of his wife (Martinez) might profit from trade with the waiting gold seekers and suppliers, Col. William M. Smith worked out an arrangement to allow him to build a townsite at the ferry crossing (west of Alhambra Creek) with all the heirs to the Ygnacio Martinez property. The townsite was extended by the Welch family to their property east of the creek in 1850.
In the District of Contra Costa, Martinez became the first town. The California Legislature met some months later to draw county lines and designate a seat of Justice (government) for the new counties. In 1851, Martinez was named the county seat. The burgeoning town quickly grew.
In the early years, agriculture will bring real growth. "Many of the disheartened gold seekers returned to settle in their hurry to" find their riches "on the rich lands they had hurriedly passed through. A number of these earliest settlers came from Nantucket and other parts of Massachusetts, and from Pike 's County, Missouri. There were also others coming from other lands. These settlers / farmers wrote about the wonderful climate, long springs and summer growing seasons, as well as the lush vegetation that was characteristic of the area, to family members and friends living elsewhere.
This amazing landmark in Martinez, California is located near some other must-see places of interest:
- John Muir House
- John Muir National Historic Site
- Martinez Gun Club
- Radke Martinez Regional Shoreline Park
- Mount Wanda
- Waterfront Park
- Hidden Lakes Park
- Rankin Park
- Suisun Bay
All of these wonderful landmarks are located just a short distance from our location at 1261 Locust Street in Walnut Creek California! Stop by for a visit anytime!