Take a Virtual Tour through the Borland Home, site of the Martinez Museum.  Inside are artifacts and displays showing how Martinez has changed over the years.

Click on one of the 8 rooms.



Front Room


phonograph1906 Edison Disk Photograph












straitsPainting of the Carquinez Straits 1880’s by Etha Holton









musicboxMusic Box - German Polyphon from the late 1880’s










ForestermodelA beautiful model of the Forester -- courtesy of the Telfer Family. The model is almost 6 feet long. This 4-masted schooner burned to the waterline in 1975, and her remains can still be seen on the Martinez shoreline at low tide.









Shoe Bench that you would have found in the L.M. Lasell Co in the 1900’s










Dining Room


diningroomThe dining room is setup with pictures of the Martinez and Welch families as well as items you may have seen in early homes around the area.  In the corner sits an organ which would have provided evening intertainments to families.




telephoneIn 1881 a new fangled invention was brought to Martinez by James Borland.  The first telephone was installed in the Southern Pacific Depot.  The telephone number was 1.  The wall phone on display was number 10F2 from the home of Anthony F. and Marie G Maderos.






fliptoptableThis Austrian “Tilt Top” table is from the 1880’s






Hanging on the walls of the dining room are pictures of some of the early Martinez residents

vbmartinezVicente (Barber) Martinez. Son of Vicente Ramon Martinez and Nieves Soto Briones.






vpmartinezVincente (Pete) Martinez. Son of Vicente Jose Martinez and Encarnacion Welch.








ewelchEncarnacion (Chona) Welch. Wife of Vicente Jose Martinez, daughter of William Welch II and Philipa Soto Briones.








cmartinezCarolyn Martinez. Daughter of Vicente J. Martinez and Encarnacion (Chona) Welch, Wife of Thomas James.








fwelchFrank Welch. Son of William Welch II and Philipa Soto Briones, sister of Encarnacion Welch Martinez.








dmamartinezDona Martina Arrellanes Martinez. (1787 - 186?). Wife of Don Ygnacio Martinez and mother of Maria Antonia, Juana, Encarnation, Jose, Louisa, Susana, Francisca, Dolores, Rafaela, Conception, and Vincente. Married August 29, 1802.







dvrmartinezDon Vicente Ramon Martinez. Son of Don Ygnacio Martinez and Dona Martina Arellanes








wwelchWilliam Welch 1848 - 1895. Grandson of William Welch Irish sailor. Owner of Mexican Land Grant - Rancho Las Juntas.








ammartinezAnnie Martinez Peters Wife of Joseph Peters








jpetersJoseph Peters Husband of Annie Martinez Peters










County Room


countybellThis bell hung in the Original Court House built in 1855-1856, its weight is around 500 pounds.  It was cast by Rumsey and Co of Seneca Falls New York in early 1805




ccchousePicture of the Original Court House





diningorgan19th Century Victorian Parlor amusements were important in the American home. To accommodate non-musical families, self playing and easy to play instruments were developed and priced for the less then wealthy:  pump organs, player pianos, machines as melodeones, music boxes, gramophones, organettes and clarions.  Shown here is a pump organ from the Raap Rancy CA 1827.  The grand parents of Florence Rapp brought the organ to California by wagon.  Gift of Compaglia-Marchi Family






Resource Room

Some of the many resources we offer are:

  • Cemetery and death records.
  • U.S. Census from 1860 - Contra Costa County and part of Alameda Countyresource1
  • Alhambra High School year books from 1909 to present, Years missing - 1923,1924,1925,1928,1929,1930,1931,1997,2001
  • Gazette Microfilm Various Years from 1882
  • History videos
  • Photographs
  • Family histories
  • Scrap books
  • Maps
  • Refinery and Historical Newsletters
  • Contra Costa County, local and California publications
  • Early telephone directories



School Days Room

school1Our School room is filled with various displays of the rich history of the educational institutions that have been a part of Martinez.  Also visit our history section to find out more about John Swett the founder of public education in California.




schooluniformAlhambra High School Marching Bank Uniform - circa 1970 - 1984


schooltubaSousaphone used by the Alhambra band - engraving on the bell reads “Martinez Municipal Band



schoolbandSousaphone Bell Cover



schooldeskA desk similar to what would have been found in the Elementary Schools.





Olden Days Room

Our Olden Days room is filled with displays showcasing how things used to be.

Alhambra Water was established in 1903 and was located in Alhambra Valley








oldenhitchingHitching posts like this would have been found outside stores or hotels.  Circa 1875







oldenfireCollection of fireboxes.  These boxes were used to transmit an alarm to a fire station. They were placed throughout the town on corner posts.  In case of fire you could sound the alarm and give the location






Picture of downtown Martinez taken from Thomas Hill in 1916, you can see the 1901 courthouse in the background


Lasell’s General Merchandise store







oldenlaundryWashing machine and irons.  Peerless washer circa 1930 (in back) Humbolt washer (in front)









Waterfront Room

Located on the Carquinez straits Martinez has had a history deeply rooted in the waterfront from the ships that sailed out of Grangers Wharf to the ferries that transported cars, people and trains across the strait.  The Waterfront room shows some of this wonderful history.

waterfrontforesterOil on canvas, showing Martinez in 1937 by artist Lowney D. Young of Walnut Creek.  Shown is the schooner Forester and the domed 1903 Court House.





waterfrontforestermodelSeveral items are on display from the schooner Forester, a 1900 lumber schooner that lays off the shore line of Martinez Grangers Wharf.  The Forester burned to the waterline in 1975.


wflanternShips Mast Lantern


waterfrontcanonLyle Gun. Breeches buoy cannon.  Donated to the Martinez Historical Society by Joseph Bonin




waterfrontnetsSalmon fishing net like what would have been used by the Italian Fishermen.’




waterfrontnavyA piece from one of the two ships that exploded on July 17th, 1944 in Pot Chicago.





Railroad Bridge dedication November 1, 1930









George Miller Jr. Memorial bridge between Martinez and Benicia opened September 12, 1962. The opening marked the end of the longest inland ferry transportation system west of the Mississippi.




Barber Shop

bbshop02The Barber Ship room is a replica of one of the several late nineteenth-century Martinez Barbershops. The family of Manual Dutra gave many items in the display to the Historical Society in 1985.  The Champion barber chair was brought around the Horn to Placerville, then on to Martinez in 1849. 


bbhop3Manual’s mother’s family had a boarding house, and when one of the residents, a barber, failed to pay his rent his grandmother claimed the chair, the footrest, and other items now on display: the mirror, razor strops, shaving mugs, razors, scissors, shaving brush, shoe brushes, and a hairbrush.  These items were donated by Melvin Dutra and Barbara LeFleur, and David Biles and volunteers restored the room. The ceiling is a reproduction of a period tin ceiling.


bbshop2Also on display are several grooming tools once belonging to Harvey Harker, a barber and proprietor of the Martinez Hotel Barber Shop, located at 802 Main Street, ca. 1920-1939.  The strait razors belonged to John Hooper, and were used from 1917 through 1948 in a Ferry Street  barbershop. 


The pitcher and wash bowl belonged to Michael and Hanna Winslow, owners of Sunnyside Farms, now Golden Hills Park, and were donated by Ruth Winslow Jamison. The shaving stand and whetstone, dating from the 1890s, was used by Evi Osborne, and donated by Geneva Welch Stinson














Martinez Historical Society

1005 Escobar Street - Martinez, CA 94553  (925) 228-8160