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Benicia Barracks (1849-1964) - Established as the Post near Benicia on 9 Apr 1849 during the California Gold Rush by Bvt. Lt. Colonel Silas Casey, 2nd U.S. Infantry and named after the nearby town. Renamed Benicia Barracks in 1852 by General Order #6, Division of the Pacific.
Benicia Barracks History
The U.S. Army built three installations on this property:
- Benicia Barracks (1849-1898) occupied 99.5 acres in the northwest corner of the parcel; its hospital still exists today as an office building. It was the U.S. Army headquarters for the Department of the Pacific from 1851-1857 and was the embarkation point for most troops destined for Pacific Coast service up to the U.S. Civil War.
- Benicia Quartermaster's Depot (1849-1858) in the southern part of the Arsenal reservation near the waterfront, used for storing supplies from 1849-1858; none of its original buildings survive today.
- Benicia Arsenal (1851-1964) - established in 1850 for the storage and issuance of military materials; it was the first Ordnance Supply Depot in the West. In 1852, the US government designated the Benicia Arsenal as one of the country's five permanent arsenals.
Only the hospital building remains of the original Benicia Barracks and it is now an office building. The old barracks and arsenal are both registered State historical landmarks. In 1965, or 2 years after the Army inactivated the arsenal, it conveyed the installation to the city of Benicia. The city has leased it to a corporation, which has modified some of the buildings. All of them are open to exterior inspection, but may not be entered except by permission. To facilitate a walking tour, the corporation has published a brochure on the history of the buildings. The barracks and arsenal sites are situated about one-quarter mile apart. Extant on 252 acres of the 2,200 acres that comprised the military reservation are 21 one- and two-story structures, four of frame and 17 of brick and sandstone, that were constructed between 1854 and 1884. One of these, the hospital, believed to be the first military hospital on the Pacific coast, in which Indian war casualties were treated, is at the barracks; and the remainder at the arsenal. Three other buildings date from 1900, 1909, and 1911. -- nps -- U.S. National Register of Historic Places #76000534 California Landmark #177
Location: 711 Hillcrest Avenue, Francesca Terrace Park, Benicia, Solano County, California
Maps & Images Lat: 38.054036 Long: -122.135561
- Hart, Herbert M., Tour Guide to Old Western Forts, Pruett Publishing Co., Boulder CO, 1980, ISBN 0-87108-568-2, page 22-23
- Roberts, Robert B., Encyclopedia of Historic Forts: The Military, Pioneer, and Trading Posts of the United States, Macmillan, New York, 1988, 10th printing, ISBN 0-02-926880-X, page 62
- North American Forts - Benicia Barracks
- California Military Museum - The Posts at Benicia
- Wikipedia - Benicia Arsenal
- National Park Service - Benecia Arsenal
- Historic Photos
Visited: 25 Aug 2009
Benicia Barracks Picture Gallery
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