Author, Historian, Lecturer
"One of LinkedIn's top 1% most endorsed in the U.S. for History!"
Our family came to San Francisco in 1849 so we've been here for awhile. My ancestors include sheep herders, dairy ranchers, delicatessen owners, bankers, and no-nonsense bartenders. As a result, I grew up listening to stories around the dinner table about our California heritage -- ranching in the 1880s, the earthquake and fire of 1906, the wondrous 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition, and legends of immigrant life passed down by the first generation of European ancestors.
(I was especially intrigued by the '49er in our family tree who jumped ship in San Francisco at the height of the Gold Rush to hunt for gold.)
At an early age I became fascinated by the City's history and our family’s role in its many stories. I guess I've been a historian-in-training my whole life.
During my twenty-five year career as a National Park Ranger I was fortunate to be stationed at some of our nation's most important historic places, from Alcatraz Island to Pearl Harbor. But much of my career was spent in my own backyard, working at such famous San Francisco sites as the Marin Headlands and the Presidio of San Francisco. Here, I learned the skills of a historian and an interpretive Ranger, and developed a passion for sharing my love of San Francisco with others.
Today, I offer a variety of historical walks and talks about San Francisco and the Bay Area along with historical research and technical writing services. As the author of several books about San Francisco and military history, I'm as much a storyteller as historian.
I look forward to helping you discover -- or rediscover -- San Francisco and its many stories.
-John Arturo Martini
(P.S. Who are those sturdy folks at the top of the page? My great-grandparents, Michael Mafissiamo Righetti and Magdalena Tognazzini Righetti. Photo taken around 1900 near their dairy ranch at Cayucos, California.)
UPCOMING EVENTS & APPEARANCES
- August 7, 2016 Monthly Open House at Battery Townsley, Fort Cronkhite. Noon to 4 PM
- August 13, 2016 Fort Funston History Hike for members of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy
- August 25, 2016. Lands End History Walk for members of the Mechanics Institute.
- September 4, 2016 Monthly Open House at Battery Townsley, Fort Cronkhite. Noon to 4 PM.
- September 10, 2016. Morning. "Cliff House and Beyond" history walk, in conjunction with the Cliff House. Make reservations at https://cliffhouse.com/history/Johns_Walk.html
- September 10, 2016. Afternoon. Special Lands End history hike for members of the Western Neighborhoods Project. Sign up at http://www.outsidelands.org/events.php#event255
- September 24, 2016. "Streetcar San Francisco Movie Night" at the Balboa Theater, with the Western Neighborhoods Project.
- Just released! John's newest book Fort Point National Historic Site, published by the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. The complete story of the construction, wartime history, decline and restoration of San Francisco's best-known fort. Purchase it at the fort or on-line at http://store.parksconservancy.org/product-p/b-80.htm
- John's hugely popular Sutro's Glass Palace: The Story of Sutro Baths. A lavishly illustrated history of Adolph Sutro's magnificent bathhouse, filled with scores of historic photographs and new illustrations that bring San Francisco's lost landmark back to life. Now available at the Lands End Lookout visitor Center, the Cliff House, and on-line at http://www.outsidelands.org/store.php#sutrosglasspalace
- Watch John's presentation on the history of Sutro Baths at the infamous "Nerd Nite" get-together in San Francisco: https://vimeo.com/156440105
- Also available! Fort Baker Through The Years: The Post, The Park, The Lodge. John's history of Fort Baker, written together with historical architect Kristin Baron, published by Hole In The Head Press of Bodega Bay, CA. Available at Amazon.com at https://www.amazon.com/Fort-Baker-Through-Years-Lodge/dp/0976149427?ie=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0
- Watch John's televised historical lecture "The Forts of San Francisco Bay" now showing on the C-Span network and on-line at http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/SanFrancis