Dunbar and Martinez Celebrate 40th Anniversary

Today – 18th April 2021 – marks the 40th anniversary of the twinning link between Dunbar and Martinez. Ten years ago Will Collin was instrumental in the arrangements to mark the 30th anniversary as he was, then, a member of the Friends of John Muir’s Birthplace committee; a Trustee of the John Muir Birthplace Trust; and a member of Dunbar Community Council. Will drew upon his personal connections with a number of people and organisations in Martinez to arrange the exchanges of messages between the two communities. Visits from Martinez residents to Dunbar, and vice versa, have also cemented the twinning links over the past decades. What follows is a summary of some of the interactions that have been reported in some of the newsletters articles and posts over the past 10 years.

The Dunbar and Martinez Celebrate 30th Anniversary and Dunbar-Martinez Sister City 30th Anniversary posts from 10 years ago. The first post includes the text of an article that Will Collin contributed to the FoJMB Newsletter April 2011 [pdf] newsletter. The second post includes a beautifully worded message to us all in Dunbar from the Board of Directors of the John Muir Association in Martinez.

Also in the April 2011 newsletter was an illustrated article about a John Muir’s Birthplace exhibition marking the 30th anniversary the twinning with Martinez, California. Local resident Steven Boyle, who was one of the first Rotary Club ‘ambassadors’ to visit Martinez in 1997, displayed some of his own nature photographs, alongside a selection of historical photographs of both towns, produced by Dunbar and District History Society and Martinez Historical Society, commemorative objects, and messages from our sister city.

Although the Martinez News-Gazette link in the Sister Cities celebrate Muir Legacy post is no longer valid the rest of the post provides more news about the 30th anniversary celebrations.

Will had also contributed a short article for the John Muir Association’s Spring 2011 Newsletter, as follows:

Dunbar and Martinez, California, were ‘twinned’ in 1981. On 18 April of that year, Martinez Mayor Eric Schaeferread the proclamation declaring Martinez and Dunbar “sister cities,” the American terminology. The twinning of Dunbar and Martinez was due to links with John Muir, the former being his birthplace and the latter being his home from his marriage in 1880 to his death on Christmas Eve 1914. The twinning is a civic link, not simply a John Muir one. There are benefits for many areas of our two towns and surrounding districts, for example in education, cultural exchanges and tourism.

To recognize the 30th Anniversary of the Dunbar-Martinez sister cities link, Friends of John Muir’s Birthplace, supported by the John Muir Birthplace Trust, have initiated an exchange of greetings between the two cities. In addition, Dunbar officials propose to send letters to schools, churches, history societies, Rotary clubs, Masonic lodges, senior citizen organisations, Dunbar traders and Martinez Chamber of Commerce, and other pairings.

John Muir Birthplace staff have also added a post to its website with Will’s updated version of the 30th Anniversary announcement. See John Muir’s Birthplace: Twins for 40 Years! Dunbar & Martinez for the complete story.

Under the title ‘Goodwill Ambassadors’ the article in the FoJMB Newsletter July 2011 [pdf] newsletter noted that:

Dunbar Community Council hosted a reception in the Birthplace on Friday 1 July for Frank and Carol Walsh who spent a couple of days in Dunbar in the capacity as Goodwill Ambassadors on behalf of the Martinez city council. Frank was involved in the early years of the twinning in arranging the student exchanges between Alhambra High School and Dunbar Grammar School.

[Note from the editor: This post may be updated with more twinning news over the next few days.]

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