Martinez Historical Society
Walking Tour of Martinez
740 Court Street
Library from 1883-1896
In 1883, a small group of young women formed a reading society and opened a public reading room at 620 Main Street in a building owned by Dr. John Strentzel. The goals were to discuss literature and raise money for a free library. In 1885, the society dissolved and reformed as the Martinez Free Reading Room and Library Association. Members were charged 25 cents per month for the privilege of borrowing books. Reading in the library was free to all.
Library from 1896-1941
After Strentzel's death, his wife and daughter donated a parcel of land at the corner of Estudillo and Main Streets to the Library Association. A new library was built at the cost of $6,371. The library stayed at this location for 56 years, until it outgrew the building. In a 1938 election, Martinez voters passed an $18,000 bond issue to fund a new library building. The Library Association offered a site at the corner of Court and Ward Streets.
1941 - Present
The present building was completed and opened to the public in 1941.
Martinez Historical Society Plaque #18 commemorates the entire history of the Martinez Library.