Visit the Former Capitol of California

Sign reading Benicia Capitol, State Historic ParkLast week I told you many fun facts about Benicia. Did you know that in 1853 Benicia was the state capital for 13 months? 

California’s state capitol moved from San Jose to Vallejo, to Benicia and then to Sacramento. In 1849 the Constitutional Convention assembled in Monterey and one of the items on the agenda was to establish the state capital. From 1849 to 1851 San Jose was chosen. Many despised the accommodations in San Jose. General Vallejo came up with the winning bid to move the capital to Vallejo. It turned out to be a similar situation, the building was not finished and the city itself was not ready for the entourage that the legislatures traveled with. After back and forth discussion, Sacramento hosted the Senate and Assembly as backup. When Sacramento was recovering from a flood in 1853 Benicia offered their newly built City Hall. The assembly quickly outgrew the temporary home and Sacramento’s generous proposal won the bid. 

Benicia Capitol State Historic Park in downtown Benicia is the oldest original California State house that remains. 

A top hat on a small tableThe furnishing shows the upper and lower chambers and some of the tables are original. On each of the tables is a hat showing off the fashion of that time. I really liked the coonskin cap that is mixed in with the top hats. Additionally, I really liked the old printing press and the Mythological Theme Screw Press for the State Seal. 

Admission to see the Benicia Capitol State Historic Park is $3 for adults, children 6 to 17 pay $2 and under 5 admission is free. Opening hours are Thursday Noon – 4pm, Friday, Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 5pm. The State Park is located at 115 West G Street in downtown Benicia, CA.

The Mythological Theme Screw Press for the State Seal.Resources:

California’s State Capitol’s

2 thoughts on “Visit the Former Capitol of California

  • February 3, 2023 at 9:57 am

    What an interesting history lesson!

    • February 3, 2023 at 5:33 pm

      Indeed 🙂

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