Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Again with the History- Geez!

The picture at right was taken in the third Capitol City in California- nope it's not Sacramento- it is Benicia.

Before California was even a state- Benicia became a busy shipping port. Soon the world was rushing in to California because of the Gold found in Coloma. Benicia is a sheltered port just down the river from San Francisco and soon it was a bustling shipyard. Whalers and merchants had their boats built and refitted here. It was selected as the Capitol of the new California in 1853-1854. A grand and glorius Capitol building was build of timber and bricks salvaged from abandoned ships in San Francisco Bay. It is the only Pre-Sacramento Capitol building still standing.

The first picture was taken between the Capitol and the Fischer-Hanlon House. Once a hotel, it was moved to the spot next to the Capitol and re built. It is outfitted in Victorian style and is open by appointement. There is a 100 year old Wisteria here, but unfortunatly it was not in bloom when I took the photo!

Inside the barn, just behind the house, is this collection of items, including this old saddle and bridle. Since Benicia and the surrounding area was settled by Californio's like Don Vallejo, and Don Pacheco it seems fitting.

Also in Benicia- a Camel Barn. Built in 1850-60's, the barn was built by the US Military to house guessed it... camels! Because of the Civil War, the plan to use Camels as pack animals in the American West was shelved, and the camels were housed at Benicia until they were sold. The Camel Barn Museum now houses archives, photos and an ocasionally a Camel Race.

Though I don't have photos- Benicia has many, many Victorian style houses that have been remodeled and refitted. Many have parlors and ballrooms still intact. It's a wonderful place to visit, I find myself going there often even though it is on the other side of the Carquinez Straits from Martinez. If you ever get down this way, take a drive down First Street and check it out for yourselves.

It sure beats shoveling snow!