Nostalgia Minute: Martinez in 1927

This old footage shows Martinez two years before the Great Depression.

On Friday, Martinez Patch posted a video of the wetlands doctored to look like vintage Super 8 footage. This video posted to YouTube appears to be the real thing—film of Martinez when Calvin Coolidge was president. It begins with shots of what looks like factory workers getting off work. Those scenes are followed by students at Alhambra High School parading out of the building around the 5:40 mark. 

If you could experience Martinez in an another era, to which year would you set the dial on the time machine? 

Chris J Kapsalis March 30, 2013 at 03:56 PM
None of my relitives worked at the refinery. The steel mill in Pittsburg, the suger facotry, but many were farmers, fishermen, ranchers, others, we would have been fine had it never came, in fact I think way better. But it is in our backyard. We all use fossil fuel. But "some" would not be here, not all, or even most by a long shot, most woudl be here had it been located in Palo Alto.
Patrick J. McNamara March 30, 2013 at 06:54 PM
I never meant that our relatives all refined hydrocarbons, although my grandfather McNamara came here to work at Mountain Copper Company, and the other grandfather made Digardi wines and grew the grapes out on Pacheco Blvd. What I meant was that the choice to go industrial versus academic set the mold on who would come to live here and why. Palo Alto gentrified, became an academic enclave and gave birth to Hewlett Packard and later Silicon Valley. Martinez went blue-collar (mills, factories, farmers, fishermen, ranchers) and that meant that all of us who live here, live here because our predecessors were such people. Why did your relatives not migrate to Palo Alto? That's why. Same for me. So I for one am grateful for Martinez' choice to go industrial and working class. It gave Martinez the destiny of family, non-pretentiousness and continuity of character. If we had gone academic, most of us would not ever have lived here. That's the ironic flaw of time machines, and meddling with historical "what-if's."
Chris J Kapsalis March 30, 2013 at 07:16 PM
You never know, but it is there. Other cities did fine with a mix of light industrial and commercial etc. without a college. The refinery, It is massive industrial comparable to a huge factory and continuously beaches out smoke and steam and has a huge effect on the imagine people get of Martinez, esp driving by on 680. They think that is Martinez, and how many don't bother looking beyond that to downtown or other parts? I wish it was mostly blocked form view from 680 and encourage more people to come into town via Highway 4 or Morello, coming into Martinez off 680 via Marina Vista or Pacheco is kind of depressing imo. So it is there, I just think we need to do more to de-emphasize it. Separate Martinez with the refinery. I even read on a Martinez Web site " The near by Shell refinery" suggesting it is not in Martinez and near by, when in fact it is our backyard, literally in some cases. I iwsh it bever came here, but that is a mute point I know.
Barbara Glenn March 30, 2013 at 08:09 PM
I love this old footage. I,like I'm sure a lot of you, scan the background for the landmarks we still recognize. There has to be many ancestors of ours in those crowds of kids. What I see when I look at that film is a prosperous and middle class town. The streets are clean, the houses are tidy, the children are well fed and well dressed and just as dialed in to the current media fashions of the day ( Charlie Chaplin, Our Gang and Mary Pickford). I see the same kind of people there that live here now. I'm proud to have been raised here, and proud that I raised my children and grandchildren here too. We have a legacy that is hard to beat in a place that is heaven on Earth. If I had to choose another time, it would have been the late 1800's- with the contemporaries of the day being the innovators of the day. Walker,Muir,Sweat still living.
Bill Mero March 30, 2013 at 10:23 PM
If you want to see more old, historical videos (including the one above), go the Contra Costa County Historical Society at cocohistory.com. Anyone wishing to save old flims, videos or pictures for posterity, contact the history society (info@cocohistory.com). Bill Mero


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