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Welcome to
Benicia Capitol State Historic Park

Benicia Capitol State Historic Park

 


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Location - Directions
Take East 2nd Street Exit off of Highway 780. Go left on East 2nd Street, right on Military East, and left on First Street.  The historic park is located at 115 West G Street in Benicia, not far from Vallejo.

Latitude / Longitude: 38.0494 / -122.1575

Benicia Capitol State Historic Park is a state park in Benicia, California.  The park is dedicated to California’s third capital building, where the California State Legislature convened from February 3, 1853 to February 24, 1854.  It is the only pre-Sacramento capitol that survives.  The park includes the Fischer-Hanlon House, an early Benicia building that was moved to the property and converted into a home in 1858, after the legislature departed.  Benicia Capitol State Historic Park just off the city's main street also includes a carriage house, workers' quarters and sculptured gardens.

History

Following large complaints by state legislators of inadequate furniture and sleeping quarters in Vallejo in early 1853, the Legislature, with the consent of Governor John Bigler, relocated the state capital to nearby Benicia that same year.  The Legislature would convene in the Benicia City Hall for a little more than a year, when again complaints over poor weather conditions, inadequate and uncomfortable sleeping quarters, and "the insecure condition of the public archives" arose in January 1854.

After a proposal by Sacramento to use the Sacramento County Courthouse free of charge as a capital building, the Assembly and Senate passed an enabling act, voiding all previous legislation, to move the state capital to its new location upriver in Sacramento.  On February 25, 1854, Governor Bigler signed the act into law, moving the capital to its current location.

The Legislature and governor climbed aboard the steamship Wilson G. Hunt to take up its new quarters. "So much opposed to the removal were the good people of Benicia," the Sacramento Union reported, "that the owners of the wharves, it is stated, refused to permit the steamer ... to land to take on the legislative furniture, unless she would pay $500."  This request was refused and the furniture was shipped from a different wharf.

The Greek Revival-Palladian building was listed as a California State Historic Landmark on January 11, 1935.  The National Register of Historic Places placed the Benicia capitol on the federal list on February 12, 1971.

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