John's Publications














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 my roots are deep. My ancestors include sheep herders, dairy ranchers, delicatessen owners, bankers, and no-nonsense bartenders. I grew up listening to stories told 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.)



  • October 12, 2019 "Cliff House & Beyond" Brunch and history hike, in conjunction with the Cliff House. 9:30 AM. Reservations required.
  • October 19, 2019  Fort Point tour for members of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.
  • October 26, 2019 "Cliff House & Beyond" Brunch and history hike, in conjunction with the Cliff House. 9:30 AM. Reservations required.
  • October 30, 2019  Lincoln Park - City Cemetery walk for members of the Western Neighborhoods Project.
  • October 31, 2019. "Lost Cemetery of Lands End" for the residents of Smith Ranch Homes.
  • November 5, 2019. "Playland At The Beach." Illustrated talk for residents of Magnolia of Millbrae.
  • November 6, 2019. Sutro Baths & Sutro Heights hike for members of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.



  • John's newest book Fort Point National Historic Site, is now available. Published by the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, this is the complete story of the fort's construction, wartime history, decline and restoration. Purchase it at the fort or on-line!
  • 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. Available at the Lands End Lookout visitor Center, the Cliff House, and on-line.
  • Watch John's presentation on the history of Sutro Baths at the infamous 2016 "Nerd Nite" get-together at the Rickshaw Club in San Francisco: