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Benicia Capitol State Historic Park

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The Fischer-Hanlon House

The Fischer-Hanlon House was originally a hotel on another site in town. It was a fourteen room frame structure built during the gold rush. After extensive damage occurred by fire in 1856, Joseph and Catherine Fischer moved and remodeled the building for their home in 1858. Josephs occupied by successive generations of the family until it was donated to the State of California in 1969. His granddaughters, Raphaelita and Catherine Hanlon donated the home as a memorial to their family, and especially to their sister Marie Rose.

It has been restored as a completely furnished home representative of middle-class living in the late 1800's in Benicia. Its parlor features a Steinway piano of the era; the upstairs bedrooms display such period treasures as a crazy quilt and children's wooden toys. A Victorian Christmas is recreated each year with appropriate decor, docents in period dress, and St. Nick visits.

The Victorian Garden at the Fischer-Hanlon House features heirloom varieties of trees and flowers, including a wisteria plant over 100 years old. It offers a qunique opportunity to observe some of the trappings of teh 19th century middle class life as it was lived in the quiet little riverside city that was once the capital of California.

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