Local City Government. Established in 1876, Martinez is the County seat of Contra Costa County. It is located on the Carquinez Strait in the central part of the County. The City’s roots can be traced to the late 1840’s when it served as a ferryboat transit point across the Carquinez Strait on the way to the gold fields. By the time of its incorporation, Martinez had evolved into one of the area’s most significant trading posts and shipping ports. Today, the City covers 12.5 square miles and has approximately 36,700 residents. As one of California’s first towns, Martinez retains a strong sense of history and family. The renowned naturalist John Muir made Martinez his home for nearly a quarter of a century and in 1915, the year after Muir’s passing, the legendary baseball great Joe DiMaggio was born here. One of the unique aspects of Martinez is its architecture. Many of the downtown shops still retain their early 20th Century look and charm, with some homes dating back more than 125 years.
Respecting its past but with an eye to the future, Martinez has modernized both its infrastructure and its downtown, while retaining its quaint, historic charm. The City opened an award-winning Intermodal Facility in 2001 that has become a popular stop along the Amtrak line.
Martinez citizens of all ages continue to enjoy the outdoors. With 19 City parks and a marina, there are plenty of recreational opportunities available to the public. The waterfront’s top-flight bocce ball courts are host to the nation’s largest bocce federation. Next door, a 10,000 square foot Skate Park offers an attraction for the youth of the entire region.