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.
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
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.