Skip to content

Von Pfister general store placed on National Register

THE VON PFISTER GENERAL STORE, seen in a 1940s-era photo. Courtesy Benicia Historical Society
THE VON PFISTER GENERAL STORE, seen in a 1940s-era photo. Courtesy Benicia Historical Society

For decades, those interested in Benicia history have told the story of how Charles Bennett stopped at Edward Von Pfister’s general store in 1848 and announced that gold had been found at the mill site of his employer, John Sutter. The announcement touched off what became known as the California Gold Rush.

Completed in 1847, the little adobe building where Bennett made his proclamation is one of Benicia’s first buildings. Now it’s on the National Register of Historic Places, said Jerry Hayes, former mayor and president of the Benicia Historical Society.

Read full article …

All Aboard for History: Help Restore the Benicia Depot with a Caboose!

Benicia: A Hub of California’s Railroad History


Benicia: The Last Stop for the Southern Pacific 4741 Caboose from Beck Media Productions on Vimeo.

The Benicia Depot, a proud landmark on the National Register of Historic Places, tells a remarkable story. Built in 1879 for Banta, California, this depot arrived in Benicia in 1902 by an extraordinary journey – floated by barge across the Carquinez Strait! It became the heart of Benicia’s rail operations, serving as a crucial link in the transcontinental rail system for passengers, freight, and the innovative train ferries, the Solano and Contra Costa. These behemoths carried entire trains across the water to Port Costa in a mere 9 minutes, a marvel of engineering that solidified Benicia’s role in California’s rail network.

Witnessing Change and Preserving the Past

The Benicia Depot witnessed a turning point in 1930 with the opening of the train bridge. Through-traffic dwindled, and the depot closed its doors in 1958. Thankfully, in 2002, the depot was restored and reopened to the public.

The Missing Piece: A Historic Caboose

Now, we have a chance to complete the picture! By adding a restored Southern Pacific caboose next to the depot, we can create a captivating historical exhibit. Imagine walking around this iconic car, feeling the weight of history, and understanding the lives of railroad workers who helped shape California’s growth.

Your Contribution Makes a Difference

Your generous donation will help us:

  • Restore the caboose to its former glory, preserving a vital piece of railroad heritage.
  • Enhance the Benicia Depot experience, offering visitors a deeper connection to Benicia’s railroad past.

Together, we can ensure that the Benicia Depot continues to tell the captivating story of California’s railroads and Benicia’s significant role in its development.

Donate Today!

Click on the button below or mail your contribution to P.O. Box 2393 Benicia, CA 94510.

Every dollar brings us closer to bringing this historic caboose home!

Benicia Historical Society Newsletter

Current Benicia Historical Society Newsletter

Recent Updates


A Railroad Town


An Industrial Town

Coming Soon to the Benicia Historical Society Site


An Army Town


An Waterfront Town


Local Historical Organizations


Archeology and Pre-History


Resources for homeowners

The Future of our Past

Community Involved in Preservation


History in Art

In Context

Context with State & National

Historic Homes

Historical Images