Workers discover treasures from the past in Martinez building

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Workers in Martinez have made a fascinating discovery under the floorboards of an old building in the corner of Court and Main Street. (KGO-TV)

Workers in Martinez have made a fascinating discovery under the floorboards of an old building on the corner of Court and Main streets. Inside, they found pictures and documents, some more than 100 years old.

"I found a pile of papers, so I started pulling them out. Pulling them out," said Alberto Perez of Southport Land and Commercial.

Hidden in the old Starkey building in Downtown Martinez, Perez found black and white portraits of men, women, families dressed up and a faded and water-damaged baby photo that reads "Lancaster."

Perez is an employee with Southport Land and workers are earthquake retrofitting the building. He made the discovery Monday when he ripped up part of the floor. Under those floorboards were old picture and documents. The items provide a glimpse into Martinez's history and some people who may have lived there. Among the items is a handwritten note for J.J. Kelly dated 1910. There's even an old Hershey's chocolate wrapper.

"You always wonder, you know, what's behind this? Why did people put it there? Was is it something they're hiding?" Perez said.

The company's president David Fischer's favorite find is a 1921 brochure from the Chamber of Commerce.

"They talk about how the streets here in town are paved and how it's nice to have four refineries in town," Fischer said.

For now, Perez is holding on to his find with hopes he can unravel the mystery behind it.

"Our immediate reaction was to get it on social media to find out if there was any families still in town that would be able to recognize the photographs, in which case we'd like to see those reunited with the proper families," Fischer said.

Fischer and Perez say there's still a lot of work left to do on the building and perhaps more local treasures may be waiting to be discovered.
Related Topics:
societyphotosphotohistoryconstructionfamilydistractionbay areaMartinezCalifornia
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