Benicia Capitol State Historic Park, Benicia

#170 of 263 in Historic Sites in California
Benicia Capitol State Historic Park is a state park in Benicia, California. The park 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 capital to Sacramento. 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.HistoryFollowing 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.
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
61 reviews
  • August 8, 2017
    If you love state history, or want to take the kiddies someplace unique and educational. i would stop by here. Its the original state capital of California. this would be a nice stop in the quaint tow...  more »
  • July 23, 2017
    Benicia served as the third capital of the State of California (after San Jose and Vallejo), albeit briefly, from February 1853 to February 1854, when the Legislature voted to move the capital to Sacr...  more »
  • July 19, 2017
    If you are visiting the charming town of Benicia this little park is worth a visit. The capital building is nicely restored and appropriately furnished, complete with top hats on the desks. The staff ...  more »
  • February 9, 2017
    The entire little down town area of Benicia is beautiful. Very dog friendly and old school shops everywhere. One of our favorite places to take our dog for a day on the town.
  • June 16, 2017
    Small building with interesting history.
  • August 20, 2016
    I learned that Benicia was once the Capitol of California before the Capitol moved to Sacramento! So surprising that this small town with the artsy flair was once the Capitol.
  • March 26, 2016
    A well preserved state Capitol building located in Benicia, is a very neat place to visit. You can go inside and see things left the way they are in the mid 1800's when Benicia was the 3rd state capitol before it moved to Sacramento.
  • June 14, 2017
    Just saw the outside

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