Did you know that Benicia was once the capitol of California? That’s right! Benicia Capitol State Historic Park is a state park that is dedicated to California’s third capitol building, where the California State Legislature convened from February 3, 1853 to February 24, 1854, when they voted to move the state capitol to Sacramento. It is the only pre-Sacramento capitol that still survives today.
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 and it would be a great place to visit this summer.
At Benicia Plumbing, we’re proud of our little town with a great history and all of its fun places to visit.
The History of the Benicia Capitol State Historic Park
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.
The original building has been restored with reconstructed period furnishings and exhibits. The interior includes a reconstruction of the building’s original floor with ponderosa pine. The desks, four of which are from the 1850s or earlier, are furnished with a candlestick, a 19th-century newspaper, a quill pen, blotting sand, a spittoon, and a top hat.
The historic park is located at 115 West G Street in Benicia, a city in the northern San Francisco Bay Area between San Pablo Bay and Suisun Bay.
On February 16, 2000, the California State Legislature met in a symbolic session to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Legislature’s first meeting.
At Benicia Plumbing, Inc., we’ve been serving our clients since 1975 and always looking to utilize the latest technology in today’s plumbing world. By providing complete plumbing services to businesses, industry, homebuilders and homeowners throughout the northern California Bay Area, we’ve been able to stay at the forefront of this industry and succeed at a high level.
Sources: Wikipedia and History.com