Scenes from Martinez, 1927

Footage of our fair city 84 years ago.

It's amazing what you can find on YouTube if you look. Here is a 15 minute video of Martinez, taken in 1927. It mostly features people, but you can also see the Italian fishing area, the waterfront before any bridges existed, Shell Oil in the days before there were air quality regulations, and Main Street.

Notice the apparel -- you can see, especially by how the students are dressed, the diveristy of social stata that existed in Martinez even then. The last scenes are evidently some kind of contest where the boys dressed as movie stars. This being 1927, the stars then were Charlie Chaplin, cowboys and Indians; mostly Charlie Chaplin.

What's heart-wrenching is to know, from our vantage point, what the smiling, shy, seemingly-content people in this film did not know; that in two brief years from the time the film was shot, the country would be plunged into a deep and decade-long depression, followed by a World War.

But these are people who endured these wrenching events and found a way to survive, and eventually thrive. These are our civic ancestors; they loved this city, too. And we can't help, watching this footage, loving them right back.

Donna Allen August 28, 2011 at 04:52 AM
How fun!!! Thanks Jim. I really like the part where you can see the shadow of the man cranking the camera. I wonder if anyone will recognize their parents or grandparents.
Donald Pallotta August 28, 2011 at 11:59 AM
I agree with Donna-It is so much fun to look back. The refinery, businesses and schools were pretty interesting and when you consider the ages of even the youngest of those students, they will be the 90 year-olds of today! Thanks for a great find! Donald Pallotta
Alex Cortlund August 28, 2011 at 04:21 PM
Great discovery and thanks for sharing it, Jim. I don't know what legal limitations might be, but it seems that if there are none, this film could be edited to include captions related to events and locations, voice over commentary and background music that would make this film even more appealing, particularly to the younger generations of our awesome town and area. Thanks again for bringing it to Patch.
David Parks August 30, 2011 at 03:03 PM
It is rewarding, yet poignant, to watch these scenes of every day life in Martinez. I applaud whoever was able to share this, as this exemplifies best how technology can enrich us with our past. Thanks, Jim!


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