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Preservation Move For Olive Grove Above Rankin Park

State commission may designate as point of historical interest the olive trees planted by Martinez pioneer James Rankin.

Preservation Move For Olive Grove Above Rankin Park

An olive grove gracing a hillside west of downtown Martinez is on a historical preservation list.

Patty Lorick, recreation supervisor for the city of Martinez, said, "When you stand on Main Street and look west, it's a blue-green-gray, shimmering. It's so pretty in the hills. That is the olive grove."

On the agenda for Friday's meeting of the state Historical Resources Commission is a consent calendar item to designate the Rankin Olive Grove as a California Point of Historical Interest. The agenda is attached to this story as a PDF.

The trees — the ones remaining from an estimated 400 originally planted by Martinez pioneer James Rankin in the 19th century — sit on a hillside above Rankin Park. Rankin was the sheriff when he moved his family to Martinez in 1885. He later became president of the Bank of Martinez. Rankin Park sits on a portion of the original Rankin property, according to the virtual cemetery tour on the website of the Martinez Historical Society.

Much of the Rankin estate acreage was sold to the city of Martinez in 1937 for $12,000 and converted into Rankin Park. In 1978 more land, including the Olive Grove, was gifted to the city and is used as open space, according to a city report in October by City Engineer Tim Tucker. That report is attached to this article as a PDF.

Bill Wainwright, the great grandson of James Rankin, said he planned to attend the Historical Resources Commssion meeting Friday. He cited the "contribution and professionalism" of Martinez resident Kristen Henderson for initiating the nomination.

The state Historical Resources Commission meets at 9 a.m. Friday at the Secretary of State Auditorium, 1500 11th St., Sacramento.

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