|City of Martinez|
|Incorporated||April 1, 1876|
|• Mayor||Rob Schroder|
|• State senator||Bill Dodd (D)|
|• Assemblymember||Tim Grayson (D)|
|• United States representatives||Mike Thompson (D) and Mark DeSaulnier (D)|
|• Total||13.63 sq mi (35.31 km2)|
|• Land||12.63 sq mi (32.71 km2)|
|• Water||1.00 sq mi (2.60 km2) 7.64%|
|Elevation||23 ft (7 m)|
|• Density||2,800/sq mi (1,100/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-8 (Pacific)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-7 (PDT)|
|GNIS feature IDs||277553, 2411045|
Martinez (Spanish: Martínez)is a city and the county seat of Contra Costa County, California, in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area. The population was 38,290 at the 2020 census. The city is named after Californio ranchero Ygnacio Martínez. The downtown is notable for its large number of preserved old buildings and antique shops. Martinez is located on the southern shore of the Carquinez Strait in the San Francisco Bay Area, directly facing the city center of Benicia and the southeastern end of Vallejo, California.
In 1824, the western side of Martinez, Alhambra Valley was included in the Rancho El Pinole Mexican land grant to Ygnacio Martínez.East of these lands was the Rancho Las Juntas, a grant made to Irish born William Welch in 1844; his land lay between the lands of Don Martinez and Don Pacheco.
In 1847, Dr. Robert Semple contracted to provide ferry service from Martinez to Benicia, which for many years was the only crossing on the Carquinez Strait.By 1849, Martínez served as a way station for the California Gold Rush. The town was laid out in 1849 by Col. William M. Smith and named for Martinez. It became the county seat in 1850, but could not incorporate at the time because it lacked the 200 registered voters required, and only became a city in 1876.
Martinez was the home of naturalist John Muir from 1880 until his death in 1914. He was buried about a mile south of the building that is now the John Muir National Historic Site. Also nearby is the Vicente Martinez Adobe, built in 1849 by the son of Ygnacio Martinez.
The first post office opened in 1851.
In 1860, Martinez played a role in the Pony Express, where riders would take the ferry from Benicia (particularly if they missed the steamer in Sacramento).
The first oil refinery in the Martinez area was built in 1904 at Bull's Head Point, a then-unincorporated waterfront area two miles east of the downtown district. That area soon became known as Mococo, following the 1905 arrival of a smelting works, operated by the Mountain Copper Company (Mo Co Co).
That first facility, operated by the Bull's Head Oil Company, was followed in 1908 by a test refinery built by the Pacific Coast Oil Company. Shortly thereafter, Pacific Coast became part of Standard Oil (now Chevron), and consolidated their oil refining operations in the Point Richmond, Hercules, Rodeo waterfront corridor some 12 miles to the west of Martinez.
In 1913, the Golden Eagle facility became the third oil refinery to be built in the area. It was located in the newly-created company town of Avon, immediately to the East of Martinez. A fourth refinery, built by the Shell Oil Company on land adjacent to the Martinez City limits, went online in January 1916. The Shell Oil refining facility is still operational today (Currently owned by PBF Energy), maintaining the position of Martinez as a significant petroleum processing center. The Golden Eagle Refinery (currently owned by Marathon Petroleum Company) was idled in April 2020 as a response to lower petroleum demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Folk etymology in Martinez claims the invention of the Martini cocktail and that it is named for the city.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.1 square miles (34 km2), of which, 12.1 square miles (31 km2) of it is land and 1.0 square mile (2.6 km2) of it (7.64 percent) is water.
The city is largely surrounded by water and regional open space preserves. The Martinez–Benicia Bridge carries Highway 680 across the eastern end of the Carquinez Strait to Solano County. The city is a densely built downtown valley threaded by Alhambra Creek and north of Highway 4. Suburban areas stretch south of Highway 4 to join the neighboring city of Pleasant Hill. Unincorporated areas include the rural Alhambra Valley and the Franklin Canyon area.
The Martinez Regional Shoreline bounds the city to the north along the Carquinez Strait. Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline includes the Franklin Hills west of downtown, stretching west to the unincorporated community of Port Costa and the town of Crockett. Briones Regional Park borders the Alhambra Valley to the south. Waterbird Regional Preserve and the McNabney Marsh border the city and Highway 680 to the east.Martinez's location at the east end of the Carquinez Strait as it widens to Suisun Bay includes dramatic water views stretching to the Sierra range. From surrounding ridge tops views stretch to nearby Mount Diablo, Mount Saint Helena, Mount Tamalpais, and others.
Martinez is one of the only two places in the Bay Area, the other being Golden Gate Bridge, where the Bay Area Ridge Trail and the San Francisco Bay Trail converge. The Bay Trail is a planned recreational corridor that, when complete, will encircle San Francisco and San Pablo bays with a continuous 400-mile (640 km) network of bicycling and hiking trails. It will connect the shoreline of all nine Bay Area counties, link 47 cities, and cross the major toll bridges in the region, including the Benicia–Martinez Bridge. To date, approximately 240 miles (390 km) of the alignment—over half the Bay Trail's ultimate length—have been completed. The Bay Area Ridge Trail ultimately will be a 500+ mile trail encircling the San Francisco Bay along the ridge tops, open to hikers, equestrians, mountain bicyclists, and outdoor enthusiasts of all types. So far, over 300 miles (480 km) of trail have been dedicated for use. East Bay Regional Park District's Iron Horse Regional Trail will join the Bay Trail along the waterfront, and the Contra Costa Canal Trail threads through the city from Pleasant Hill to the south.
Martinez has a mild mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csa/b). 87 °F (31 °C) and night time lows of 55 °F (13 °C) during July and August. Winters are wet and cool with occasional frost. The majority of the city is within a USDA hardiness zone of 9b.Summers are warm and dry, with some morning fog during sea breezes. The maritime influence is much less significant than in other parts of the Bay Area that are closer to the Pacific, which causes very high daytime averages compared to San Francisco and Oakland in summer. However, nights normally cool off significantly which results in daytime highs of around
|Climate data for Martinez, California|
|Record high °F (°C)||83.0|
|Average high °F (°C)||55.2|
|Average low °F (°C)||38.6|
|Record low °F (°C)||20.0|
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||3.93|
|Source: Western Regional Climate Center (1906-present)|
|U.S. Decennial Census|
The 2020 United States Censusreported that Martinez had a population of 38,290. The population density was 2,727.4 people per square mile (1,053.1/km2). The racial makeup of Martinez was 27,603 (77.1%) White, 1,303 (3.6%) African American, 255 (0.7%) Native American, 2,876 (8.0%) Asian, 121 (0.3%) Pacific Islander, 1,425 (4.0%) from other races, and 2,241 (6.3%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5,258 persons (14.7 percent).
The Census reported that 34,528 people (96.4 percent of the population) lived in households, 235 (0.7 percent) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 1,061 (3.0 percent) were institutionalized.
There were 14,287 households, out of which 4,273 (29.9 percent) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 6,782 (47.5 percent) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 1,751 (12.3 percent) had a female householder with no husband present, 640 (4.5 percent) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 928 (6.5 percent) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 137 (1.0 percent) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 3,920 households (27.4 percent) were made up of individuals, and 1,078 (7.5 percent) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42. There were 9,173 families (64.2 percent of all households); the average family size was 2.95.
The age distribution of the population showed 7,329 people (20.5 percent) under the age of 18, 2,842 people (7.9 percent) aged 18 to 24, 9,193 people (25.7 percent) aged 25 to 44, 12,121 people (33.8 percent) aged 45 to 64, and 4,339 people (12.1 percent) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42.2 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.8 males.
There were 14,976 housing units at an average density of 1,140.2 per square mile (440.2/km2), of which 14,287 were occupied, of which 9,619 (67.3 percent) were owner-occupied, and 4,668 (32.7 percent) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.4 percent; the rental vacancy rate was 4.9 percent. 23,876 people (66.6 percent of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 10,652 people (29.7 percent) lived in rental housing units.
According to the City's 2020 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,the top employers in the city are:
|#||Employer||# of Employees|
|1||Contra Costa County||9,823|
|2||Veterans Health Administration||962|
|5||Martinez Unified School District||672|
|8||City of Martinez||136|
|9||The Home Depot||125|
|10||Brand Energy & Infrastructure Service||120|
In 2017, Martinez had 24,134 registered voters, with 11,897 (49.3%) registered as Democrats, 5,497 (22.8%) registered as Republicans, and 5,394 (22.4%) decline to state voters.
According to Sister Cities International, Martinez is paired with:
Martinez and the surrounding area is served by several local newspapers, including the Martinez News-Gazette, the Martinez Tribune and the East Bay Times.
Martinez is also served by Martinez Patch, a local news website covering community news and events, and the local news and talk blog Claycord.com.
In December 2019, there was a flurry of reports from reliable sources including the Associated Press and the San Francisco Chronicle that the 161 year-old Martinez News-Gazette, one of the longest-running newspapers in California, may have to cease publication. But as of late May 2020, the threatened cessation did not materialize and the newspaper appears to have weathered that storm. The newspaper did cease publication of a print edition effective April 2, 2020 but this was characterized as a temporary measure arising from a lack of advertising revenue. This in turn arose as many local businesses were forced to suspended operations or even ceased to exist, when the area was under shelter in place regulations arising from the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic. The newspaper plans to resume a full print edition when the local shelter-in-place restrictions are lifted.The newspaper continued to operate its online news website presence during the pandemic restrictions.
Covering most of Martinez, the Martinez Unified School District encompasses four elementary schools, one middle school, one high school, and two alternative/independent study schools. Students in K-5 attend John Swett, John Muir, Las Juntas, or Morello Park Elementary School. Martinez Junior High School serves students in grades 6 through 8. St. Catherine of Siena is a private Catholic school that serves grades K-8. Alhambra High School serves as the district's comprehensive high school. As of 2006, the district's K-12 enrollment was 4,194. Part of Martinez is served by the Mount Diablo Unified School District, whose Hidden Valley Elementary School is located in Martinez. St. Catherine of Siena School (Martinez, California), a private Roman Catholic elementary, also serves the Martinez community.
The Martinez Library is part of the Contra Costa County Library and is located in Martinez. The Art Deco style building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in early 2008.
Benicia is a waterside city in Solano County, California, located in the North Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area. It served as the capital of California for nearly thirteen months from 1853 to 1854. The population was 26,997 at the 2010 United States Census. The city is located along the north bank of the Carquinez Strait. Benicia is just east of Vallejo and across the strait from Martinez. Steve Young, elected in November 2020, is the mayor.
Contra Costa County(listen) is located in the state of California in the United States. As of the 2020 census, the population was 1,165,927. The county seat is Martinez. It occupies the northern portion of the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area and is primarily suburban. The county's name refers to its position on the other side of the bay from San Francisco. Contra Costa County is included in the San Francisco–Oakland–Berkeley, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Crockett is a census-designated place (CDP) in Contra Costa County, in the East Bay sub-region of the San Francisco Bay Area, California. The population was 3,094 at the 2010 census. It is located 28 miles northeast of San Francisco. Other nearby communities include Port Costa, Martinez, Vallejo, Benicia, Rodeo, Hercules, Pinole and Richmond.
Interstate 780 (I-780) is an east–west auxiliary Interstate Highway in the San Francisco Bay Area of Northern California. It runs from Curtola Parkway and Lemon Street in Vallejo to I-680 just north of the Benicia-Martinez Bridge in Benicia. It closely parallels the Carquinez Strait for its entire route. Originally, this segment was part of I-680 before that Interstate was extended and rerouted to Fairfield. The city-maintained Curtola Parkway continues west from I-80 to State Route 29 in Vallejo.
Interstate 680 (I-680) is a north–south auxiliary Interstate Highway in Northern California. It curves around the eastern cities of the San Francisco Bay Area from San Jose to Interstate 80 at Fairfield, bypassing cities along the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay such as Oakland and Richmond while serving others more inland such as Pleasanton and Concord.
San Pablo Bay is a tidal estuary that forms the northern extension of San Francisco Bay in the East Bay and North Bay regions of the San Francisco Bay Area in northern California.
Suisun Bay is a shallow tidal estuary in Northern California. It lies at the confluence of the Sacramento River and San Joaquin River, forming the entrance to the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta, an inverted river delta. Suisun Marsh, the tidal marsh land to the north, is the largest marsh in California. Grizzly Bay forms a northern extension of Suisun Bay. Suisun Bay is directly north of Contra Costa County.
The Carquinez Strait is a narrow tidal strait in Northern California. It is part of the tidal estuary of the Sacramento and the San Joaquin rivers as they drain into the San Francisco Bay. The strait is eight miles (13 km) long and connects Suisun Bay, which receives the waters of the combined rivers, with San Pablo Bay, a northern extension of the San Francisco Bay.
Benicia State Recreation Area is a state park unit of California, United States, protecting tidal wetland. It is located in the Solano County city of Benicia, 2 miles (3.2 km) west of downtown Benicia and borders Vallejo's Glen Cove neighborhood. The park covers 447 acres (181 ha) of marsh, grassy hillsides and rocky beaches along the narrowest portion of the Carquinez Strait. Southampton Creek and the tidal marsh front Southampton Bay, where the combined waters of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers approach San Pablo Bay, the northern portion of San Francisco Bay.
The Carquinez Bridge is a pair of parallel bridges spanning the Carquinez Strait at the northeastern end of San Francisco Bay. They form the part of Interstate 80 between Crockett and Vallejo, California.
The Benicia–Martinez Bridge refers to three parallel bridges which cross the Carquinez Strait just west of Suisun Bay; the spans link Benicia, California on the north side with Martinez, California on the south.
The John Muir National Historic Site is located in the San Francisco Bay Area, in Martinez, Contra Costa County, California. It preserves the 14-room Italianate Victorian mansion where the naturalist and writer John Muir lived, as well as a nearby 325-acre tract of native oak woodlands and grasslands historically owned by the Muir family. The main site is on the edge of town, in the shadow of State Route 4, also known as the "John Muir Parkway."
The San Francisco Bay Trail is a bicycle and pedestrian trail that when finished will allow continuous travel around the shoreline of San Francisco Bay. As of 2020, 356 miles (573 km) of the trail have been completed. When finished, the trail will be over 500 miles (800 km) of paved and gravel paths, bike lanes, and sidewalks, linking 47 cities across nine counties and crossing seven toll bridges. It is a project of the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), in collaboration with other agencies, private companies, non-profit organizations, and advocacy groups.
The Solano was a large railroad ferry, built as a reinforced paddle steamer with independently powered sidewheels by the Central Pacific Railroad, that carried entire trains across the Carquinez Strait between Benicia and Port Costa in California, daily for 51 years from 1879 to 1930. When launched, the Solano was the largest ferry of its kind in the world, a record held for 35 years until 1914 when she was joined by her sister ship, the Contra Costa, which was 13 feet longer.
Selby is an unincorporated community in Contra Costa County, in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area in northern California.
Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline is a regional park, part of the East Bay Regional Park District system, located in northwestern Contra Costa County, California.
Radke Martinez Regional Shoreline (RMRS) is a regional park on the shoreline of Carquinez Strait in Martinez, located in northern Contra Costa County, California. Formerly known as the Martinez Regional Shoreline, it was renamed on December 6, 2016, in honor of the late Ted Radke and his late wife Kathy Radke.
Alhambra Creek is a stream in Contra Costa County, in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area in northern California.
The Alta California Telegraph Company was a telegraph company which operated in the mid-19th century within the state of California prior to the construction of the Transcontinental Telegraph. It was organized in July 1852, and incorporated in January 1854 and began constructing its first line that same year, stretching from Sacramento to Marysville and extending up into the foothills of the adjacent Sierra Nevada mountains. In subsequent years, a line was constructed between Sacramento and Benicia. From Benicia, a branch line was extended to Vallejo and the US Navy yard at Mare Island.
John V. Robinson is an American writer and photojournalist who specializes in photographing heavy construction work with a focus on bridge construction and the men and women who do the work. Robinson goes onto construction sites and does detailed photo essays of the iron workers, pile drivers, carpenters, laborers, and crane operators who do this demanding and dangerous work. He frequently collects oral histories of the workers.