Comandante General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, must have loved his wife a lot or maybe it was tradition. He used her name for many towns around California. In December of 1846 he sold some land to two men, Thomas Larkin and Dr. Robert Semple and the City of Benicia was founded on May 19, 1847.
He wanted to call it Francisca but the little burg of Yerba Buena, by the bay, choose to change it's name to San Francisco and I guess there were no patents or copyrights on names then so his second choice was his wife's middle name and Francisca became Benicia. His last name, Vallejo, became the town just to the west of Benicia.
Mills College was founded here in 1852. It was the first women's college west of the Rockies. It moved to Oakland in 1871. Benicia became the capitol of California for one year in 1853. Soon after the legislature was moved to a courthouse in Sacramento which became the permanent state capitol. I think the residents of Benicia would like to have their "capitol" status back. This tile plaque is embedded in the sidewalk. It seems that there was or is a group that is called "Return Our Capitol".
here if you would like to learn more history about this interesting place. My mother worked at the arsenal for a short time before she married my father. I believe it was in the post office.
Benicia became much more accessible when, in 1962, the Benicia-Martinez Bridge was completed . That was the year I graduated from high school. I don't remember the new bridge being built. There must have been a lot of celebrating and excitement but I just don't remember. I was 17 years old. Could have been that I was more into boys than bridges then.
Last Tuesday the weather was in a holding pattern. No rain. Big fluffy clouds. A bit of sunshine. We had plans and the weather was going to cooperate for a while. We drove to Walnut Creek and picked up a good friend at her vintage/antique co-op called A Room With A Past. She and a bunch of other ladies have a once a month store that is more fun than ... "a barrel of monkeys". Did I say "monkeys". I did. For those of you who love monkeys.... it's that much fun. Here's the link for those of you who want some great buys and a real treat.
They were getting ready for the opening on the following weekend and Jan told us to meet her there. We dragged her away for the day, drove across the bridge to Benicia and just had a fun day of looking, laughing and eating. Jan was raised in Pleasant Hill too only she is much YOUNGER than us. She happen to read my blog a couple of years ago where I had written a post on Gregory Gardens, the housing development that we all lived in. We have been friends ever since. She helped us during Mom's illness and passing. She was always ready to offer any help she could give. I will always be grateful for this. She has a blog called Little Pink Houses and really lives in a little pink house. Our families went to the same church. Our dads were both from Napa, CA. and knew each other. We are a friendship of coincidence and love of old things, except for MONKEYS.... but that's another story.
So, we headed for Benicia....
We wandered through a few stores waiting until noontime and our reservations for lunch at the Camellia Tea Room
The sun disappeared as we headed toward the car. Sis took this picture of Jan and I so we could celebrate finally getting together. We had tried before and something always happen to our plans. This time we did it.
Let's do it again soon, Jan. Thank you for the handmade valentines you gave Sis and I. I have mine out where I can see it all the time. It's beautiful. You are a sweet person. We're so lucky to have your friendship.
The rain came in later in the afternoon. It poured. The next morning I went over to my Son's house and watched Little Bean so his mom could go to a meeting. We picked up The Bean from Kindergarden and all of us went to lunch. It was a fun day.
We need these special times. They give us fortitude for the other times that aren't so good. Please try to make some time for yourself ..... even if it's only a day or two. It's live giving. It's the umbrella in a rainstorm.