Benicia Capitol State Historic Park News,
Bay Area travel writer Carole Terwillger Meyers recently visited the Benicia Capitol State Historic Park and wrote a blog item about her experience at the two historic sites. Visit her article at this link.
In the Benicia Capitol SHP, on First and “ G “ Streets , there resides a 170 year old clock made in France. The clock was sent to “Gold Rush” California via ship around the Horn of South America. The French clock maker delivered the 1847 clock to Sperry & Co. in San Francisco in 1855. For years it tocked away in a hotel in Placerville, California.
It is unclear how the Clock got into the Benicia Capitol. The “ works ” inside the clock are from the 1700’s , as it was common to re-use “ works ” as they were so well made.
This clock has been clicking right along all this time. That is until this past summer. For some reason, maybe age, or dust, the ancient time piece stopped !!
Enter Joe Steffen , of Steffen’s Antiques ( who tends the four ancient clocks in the Capitol and the Fischer – Hanlon House ) , his friends Chris Mamere ( a clock repair man ) and Will Beasley ( a Capitol Docent ).
These three worked on the aged timepiece for quite awhile. The clock would work for a few days and then have a temper tantrum and stop ! We were all going crazy trying to guess the problem.
Finally, on Thursday Feb.2nd , they got the clock ticking, and after a brief hick up, it has been chugging along like it was new. Not bad for a 170 year old time piece!
If you have a hankering to see this marvelous piece of history, stop by the Capitol, purchase a ticket and learn more about our Historic town.
As we come out of this very wet winter, there is good news for the Benicia State Parks.
Two projects have been in queue for the Benicia Capitol State Historic Park.
- First is a project to paint the Fischer-Hanlon House. This is a project that had been scheduled for the fall of 2016 but was delayed. It is anticipated that the project will begin this Spring.
- Second is a Historic Structures Report for the Benicia Capitol State Historic Park. The HSR will establish the guidelines that will enable projects to address the maintenance issues within the BCSHP structures and also to guide the staff on potential expanded uses for the facilities. With this report, the Benicia State Parks Association will be equipped to foster reinvestment and fundraising for the BCSHP.
At the Benicia State Recreation Area, there has been progress as well.
- New staff will assure that the BSRA is kept in maintenance and secure. There will be a new park host that will reside at the BSRA to keep a close eye on the park.
- The new paving has proven to be a significant improvement to the trail system. During the recent heavy rain season, the paved trail system drained very nicely without the accumulation of slippery mud and moss that had plagued some parts of the trail before the repaving. Riding a bicycle on the road is now not a test of the riders endurance to the shocks and vibrations of the previous paving.
- The bathroom at the Dillon Point end of the park has now been reopened. The septic system was repaired and is now functional again.
The Benicia State Parks Association would like to thank the State Parks Staff for all of their hard work and for the successes that have been led by the State Parks Superintendent, Ryen Goering.
There is still much work to be done and we look forward to accomplishing more in the future.
CLIF AND FRIENDS CONCERT
Sunday March 26, 2017
2 – 4 PM
Come listen to professional musicians play in the wonderful acoustics of the Benicia State Capitol Senate Chambers.
Event: Potential New Board Member Meet and Greet Social Event
Date/Time: Thursday, January 26 from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Thursday, February 9 from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Location: Benicia Capitol State Historic Park
115 West G Street
Information/Agenda: Benicia State Parks Association is looking for new board members and will hold two meet and greet social events for interested local citizens. Light refreshments will be served during a short informative presentation and attendees will be able to meet present board members during the mixer.
RSVP is required to: Mike Caplin
707 483-5461 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For information on the event call: 707 483-5461
The public is invited to the Benicia Capitol State Historic Park, Staurday, December 10, 2016, from 10:00 am – 2 pm for Victorian Ornament Making at the Capitol (nominal fee) & St. Nicholas visits at the Fischer Hanlon House (no cost – bring your own camera).
Dona Benicia Day at the Benicia Capitol State Historic Park
21 August 2016 2 pm to 5 pm
Speaker – Steve Beck
The Vallejos,, Sutter, and the Bear Flag Flag Revolt
Californio Music by the Faulkners
Cake and Beverages following the Presentation
Mosquito Abatement is scheduled for the Benicia State Recreation Area this coming Monday, August 1st.
Note that the Recreation Area will need to be closed and cleared during the application, there will be no walking or biking on the trails and roads during the application.
Date: August 1, 2016
Time: begins at 7:00 a.m.
The abatement will be done by helicopter. The application should take no longer than 25 minutes and will be contained to the tidal marsh areas. The helicopter will be loaded off site and will not be landing inside the park. The State Parks District will need to close the public walking areas for the public’s safety during the application. The District will post notification of the closure at public access points starting 7/28 and will be available to address any concerns the public may have. The District staff will be present before and during the application.
The application consists of spreading small pellets in the marsh areas (near the high tide mark) that slowly dissolve as high tides come and go for a 30 day period. In the past they have done this manually with 60 lb bags and multiple trips by multiple persons which wasn’t good for accessing the marsh. This application will be quicker and less impactful to the Marsh and also less hazardous (well not if the helicopter crashes) to the applicators.
* If you’re interested, the picture of the mosquito comes from the CDC Public Health Image Library. Here is a link: http://phil.cdc.gov/phil/details_linked.asp?pid=9261
* 7/29/2016, the start time for the application has been moved from 6:00 am to 7:00 am so as to delay the early morning disturbance to the neighbors.
Tomorrow, Saturday July 30th
The Fratello Marionettes present – “Carnival of
Hand Churned Ice Cream – After the performance
Saturday, July 30, 2016
1:30 to 4:00 pm
All ages are invited – Admission Free! (Donations welcomed)
(Adults must accompany their children – no child care
Our sincere thanks to all of the people who made this event a success. See below for photographs.
A few photos from the event
This Sunday, join eleven of our local World War II veterans for a festive day at the Benicia State Capitol. Join the Sing-Along-Salute of GI songs to salute the WWII era Victory in Europe with lead singer Laura Dorais and keyboardist Rodney Burge.
The Benicia High School Jazz band will provide music in the front lawn beginning at 1:00. The performance will be at 2:00 pm in the Benicia State Capitol Senate Chambers. $10 Adults and $5 Children. Songbooks will be provided until they run out.
Sponsored by Benicia State Parks Association, California State Parks, and the City of Benicia.
A young juvenile was arrested last evening in the Benicia State Recreation Area for setting two small fires in the SRA. The two small fires were in the Forrest Deaner Native Plant Botanic Garden and adjacent to a trail by the PG&E station. He was taken to Junenile Hall.
Seven Benicia showpieces will open their doors and garden gates to the public on Saturday, May 7, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., for the Benicia Historical Society’s home and garden tour. The Fischer-Hanlon House Garden will be open with refreshments.
Four homes, a commercial building and two garden-only sites will welcome visitors during the tour.
The four homes and the commercial site are more than 100 years old and offer a glimpse into Benicia’s rich architectural past. Examples of Craftsman and Italianate homes are among the architecture styles on the tour.
“Three of them are on the tour for the first time,” said Jerry Hayes, tour chairman.
Ticket holders will have a chance to see beautiful homes and gardens while raising money to help restore the Von Pfister General Store. The store was named to the National Register of Historic Places last year, and the historical society has big dreams for it.
“We hope to restore and restock it as a general store, using Von Pfister’s original log as a guide for what to put on the shelves,” Hayes said.
“One of the homes has been very carefully restored over the past 10 years, both interior and exterior,” he added. “The commercial site started out as a saloon and has been a store and a preschool over the years.”
Gardens at several homes will be open to visit, plus two sites will be garden-only stops. The garden-only sites include one that was recently renovated in response to the drought. The second is the Fischer-Hanlon garden, where refreshments will be served amid the garden’s cacti, fruit trees and its 140-year-old wisteria.
Among the tour highlights:
— The Ward/Sanford home, an Italianate that has been meticulously restored over the past decade. This is the first time it has been on the tour.
— The Sage home, built originally in the 1850s from brick manufactured by Tim Sage. A wooden section was added later. The brick portion was torn down in the 1930s following a fire.
— The Jenny cottage, which features a charming garden and is making its debut on the tour.
— Also appearing for the first time is Capital Corner, the former saloon now office space. It also has been carefully restored.
— The von Studnitz home, a Craftsman bungalow from 1915 that features built-in furnishings and several original lighting fixtures.
Homes can be visited in any order.
Docents will be available at each location to provide historical and architectural information and answer questions.
“People have undoubtedly walked by these houses and wanted to see what they looked like inside,” Hayes said. “We are grateful these homeowners are graciously opening their homes for us.”
Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 the day of the tour. Advance tickets are available at BeniciaHistoricalSociety.org, or at Benicia Chamber of Commerce, Benicia Main Street, Bookshop Benicia, Camellia Tea Room and Steve’s Hallmark in Benicia.
On the day of the tour, tickets will be sold at Benicia Main Street, Camellia Tea Room and Capital Corner (602 West K St.), one of the tour sites.
Participants are asked to wear soft-soled shoes (no heels, please). The tour is for adults only. Homes and gardens are not wheelchair-accessible. Backpacks, baby carriers and strollers are not permitted. No photography is allowed.
The second of the Capitol Concert Series will be held at the State Capitol on Sunday, May 1st, 2 to 4 PM. Please join us for some splendid chamber music.
Join us for a Sing-Along-Salute of GI songs with Benicia signer Laura Dorais and WWII Vet Bob Hitchcock.
Sunday, May 15 at 2 pm
$10 Adults / $5 Children
Come early and hear the Benicia High School Jazz Band
Sponsored by Benicia State Parks Association, California State Parks, and the City of Benicia
Kudos to All
The event exceeded all expectations
- 113 Volunteers
- Girl Scouts Troop 55314 from Dublin
- Young teens from Six Flags Car Wash
- A delegation from Dish
- Volunteers from
- Walnut Creek
- and one guest from Portland!
- 60-cubic yards of weeds/shrubs and tree trimmings
- 76 perennials planted with 15 new species.
- Repaired 60% of the split rail fencing on the west side of the Garden
Please visit this link for photographs:
First concert is this Sunday, April 17th, 2016
The 150 year old Steinway piano located in the parlor of the Fischer-Hanlon House will once again come alive and be featured in a series of performances beginning this Sunday, April 17, 2016.
The performances are scheduled for the first and third Sundays of the month and will run from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. Show tunes, Classical pieces and Jazz will be played by local musicians, Tim Heney and Tom W. Jackson. Perhaps even a local ‘ghost’ may be among the attendees!
Historical records indicate that the Style VII Square Steinway was manufactured in 1866 and shipped by John H. Steinway from New York on March 13th of that year. The dealer’s records have disappeared so there is no way of knowing to whom the piano was originally sold. The records do say that this was “an ornate and expensive piano for its time”.
It is believed that the piano was purchased for Elizabeth Fischer to practice on while she attended the Young Ladies Seminary and that she was taught by Professor Mansfeldt who had studied under the European master, Franz List.
There is no charge for the performances but voluntary donations to the Benicia State Parks Association will be gratefully accepted.
We will be at the Benicia State Recreation Area on Earth Day (April 16, 2016), why don’t you come out and volunteer to keep our home in good shape, or just say hi! Sign up to volunteer at the Forrest Deaner Native Plant Botanical Garden 8:30 to 9:00 AM.
Saturday, April 16, 201618th Annual Earth Day Event
Benicia State Recreation Area
Location/Directions: Meet at the Forrest Deaner Native Plant Botanic Garden. 1 State Park Road, Benicia, CA 94510. From Interstate 780 West, exit Columbus Parkway. Turn left onto Rose Drive. Turn right into the park. From Interstate 780 East, exit Columbus Parkway. Turn left into the park. The Forrest Deaner Native Plant Botanic Garden is about one mile from the park entrance, west of the picnic area.
Check-In Time: 8:30 a.m.
Project Time: 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Projects: Plant native trees, shrubs, and perennials in Coastal Sage Scrub and Chaparral areas, mulch new plants, remove non-native plants in garden area and along pathways, and repair split rail fence bordering the garden
Registration: Register on or before April 13 at http://www.calparks.org/help/earth-day/
GREETINGS TO ALL,
The January 31, Jack London Capitol Neighbors Speaker program at the Benicia Capitol State Historic Park was a success and was well received by the attendees.
The success of the program was due to the work and support of the Benicia and Sonoma parks staff, volunteers, the BSPA board and especially, the program creator.
The Speaker Series exists with the support of the City of Benicia, the Benicia Arts and Culture Committee, the CA State Parks Foundation, California State Parks, Scout Troop 20265 and the Benicia Old Town Theater.
In addition, local Benicia artists contributed their works to enrich the program presentations.
All of those mentioned here, as well as those perhaps unintentionally missed have contributed to this educational and interpretive experience at the Benicia Capitol State Historic Park.
With much appreciation,