The Martinez Historical Society was created in 1973 to save this 1890 cottage and its site from becoming another parking lot in downtown Martinez. Convinced that our city’s history deserved a repository where papers, documents, photographs and artifacts could be housed, we prevailed upon the City of Martinez to join with us in acquiring use of the “Borland House” for our purpose. A lease was obtained from the Contra Costa College District, and we took possession in February 1974.
Working with volunteers and with some funding from Community Development sources, we opened two rooms in June 1976. From there we managed to open another room every four months until finally, the entire house was accessible to visitors by June 1979. Our present library room was left much as it had been simply to show what had been done in the other rooms to restore the structure to an approximation of its original appearance.
Our present displays are part of the on-going effort to keep interest alive in our community’s history and encourage repeat visitors. All displays, cataloging, housekeeping, gardening, and other duties are performed by volunteers.
Our society has developed a comprehensive county history library and newspaper clipping file for serious researchers. We have maps, the city’s property assessment books from 1884 to the late 1940’s, a massive collection of historic photographs, artifacts from the city and county, the county census from 1860 – 1920 including some other parts of California, and other interesting things to see.
We hope that you enjoy your cyber visit to our Museum and leave with some knowledge of our town’s past. We invite you to stop by whenever you are in Martinez. We are open first four Tuesdays and Thursdays of each month from 11:30 am to 3:00 pm and the first four Sundays of each month from 1pm – 4pm. Admission is free.