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Benicia Travel Guide: 41 reviews and 118 photos

Benicia Depot

The first passenger and freight depot was built here near the ferry docks in 1879 upon the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. They used to transfer the passengers and freight to the ferries for transport to San Francisco. Later entire trains were ferried by large ferries like the "Solano". This building was built in 1887 in the railroad town of Banta and was moved here in 1902 as Banta began to dwindle and Benicia became more and more important as a trade center. In 1930 they completed a bridge between Benicia nd the town of Martinez retiring the ferries. Today this building, which was preserved as close as possible to original, serves as a visitor's center and headquarters to the "Benicia Main Street" organization an historical preservation group.

Commandant's House at the Arsenal

This large 20 room mansion built in the New Classical Style was the home of the commandant of the base containing the Benicia Arsenal. It was built in 1860, and has 14 foot ceilings and 2 foot thick walls. This was the social center of the town and guests frequently came by steamboat from San Francisco to attend the parties. Poet Stephen Vincent Benet lived here when his father was commandant of the arsenal. This building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Arsenal Clock Tower

This stone building overlooks the Carquinez Strait and was built to defend this strategic area. The building has long thin slots to allow rifle fire from inside and larger openings in the front and back for canon fire. The walls are two feet thick. There was originally a third floor and another tower on the rear of the building, but these were destroyed in a fire and were eliminated during the subsequent reconstruction. The Seth Thomas clock in the current tower was placed there as a memorial to Colonel Julian McAllister who commanded the arsenal for 25 years. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Pros and Cons
  • In a nutshell:Interesting History, Nice Town
  • Last visit to Benicia: Sep 2009
  • Intro Updated Dec 19, 2009
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Reviews (14)

Comments (1)

  • JLBG's Profile Photo
    Nov 6, 2011 at 10:18 PM

    In my mind, Jack London was associated with more northernly locations !


“As for me, I'll take the road less traveled.”

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