Sunday, March 12th –  Benicia Arsenal: A Cautionary Tale

Protect Historic Benicia!

Panel Presentation, 2:00 to 3:00 pm:

  • Gary Widman – former: 1st Lt., Benicia Arsenal, 1958-59; Prof of Environ. Law, UC Hastings; General Counsel, Council on Environmental Quality, Executive Office of the President; Gen. Counsel, Calif Dept.of Parks and Recreation & Office of Historic Preservation; Director, Office of Staff Attorneys, US Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.
  • Gregory Tilles – Professor Emeritus of History, Diablo Valley College
  • Steven Goetz – Benicia Arsenal Park Task Force

The panel will highlight the 162-year life of the Arsenal that shaped Benicia. Our Civil War-era military installation is a unique geographic and architectural gem of the Western United States, and a state and national-registered historic district. Development plans approved by the city pursuant to SB 35 are inconsistent with thirty years of City planning policies and decades of historic preservation efforts by hundreds of citizens to preserve and enhance the Benicia Arsenal.

Our lawsuit filed in November 2022, challenges city approval of two SB 35 multifamily complexes in the Historic Arsenal District listed on the National Register. The district is inclusive of the structures and grounds. The projects approved fail to comply with Secretary of Interior standards for development affecting historic structures and place. We are certain that court review will show wrecking a unique, historic district is not legal or right. Seeing and understanding the historical and cultural resources are critical for the court to understand why SB35 is wrongly used in this case and a flawed piece of legislation.

Tours – Docent-led

  • Historic Jefferson Street walks – 3:15 and 4:00 pm
  • Home tours: two non-commissioned officer homes – 3:15 to 4:30 pm

Docent-led tours of the Clocktower Fortress, the adjacent Officers’ Row, and historic homes on Jefferson Street will give you a window into Benicia’s history and life at a U.S. Army base more than 150 years ago. Gathering for recreation and spectacular views of the Carquinez Strait from Jefferson Ridge was part of the Army’s original design. We are called to protect this special place.

Related attractions at the Arsenal:

Benicia Historical Museum is open 1:00 to 4:00 pm
($3 for adults, $2 for children, free for active military with identification)
Arts Benicia – Exhibits at the Commanding Officer’s Quarters are open until 5:00 pm

Join the campaign!

…to find a way to “Preserve – Not Destroy” the Benicia Arsenal…
Stay Informed and Donate – (501)©(3)

See earlier on BenIndy: