Bay area backroads | camel barn museum

I had no idea that this historical place just less than an hour away from where I live ever exists. Camel barn museum aka Benicia Historical Museum is such a gem! I would have never known about it if we had not been invited to attend Mr Sweetie’s cousin’s birthday celebration here. When Mr Sweetie texted me the invitation, I readily looked up the venue and got excited that we were about to attend a party at a historical museum! What a cool place to have a big birthday bash!

Benicia Historical Museum is a small town local museum but fun to know and visit nonetheless. From reading about it, there used to be camels in California in the mid-1800s as part of military caravan from Texas to California. They were used to mapping and surveying the lands. When the “camel experiments” ended, they were housed in this place in Benicia, California! The original stone buildings from the 1800s are preserved and have been turned into museums. (Sadly, there are no more camels in Benicia. But there is a camel ranch in San Diego!) Benicia is a small town that is an hour away from San Francisco. This small dot on the map is actually full of California history. Here are some of the fun facts:

  • The Pony Express came through Benicia
  • US Camel Corps was also in this city.
  • There was a U.S. Army Post in Benicia before California became a State in 1849.
  • American Novelist, Jack London, lived in Benicia. “It was during his stay in Benicia that he began to write and where he garnered the experiences and inspiration for two of his well-known works, “Tales of the Fish Patrol” and John Barleycorn.”  The Jurgensen Old Corner Saloon was located at this site and was a favorite hangout for London and provided much material for “John Barleycorn.” Benicia Public Library

Benicia Historical Museum was hidden among rolling hills. I did not expect to find such a quaint place whose ambiance transported me to old California Days such as the Gold Rush. We were there to celebrate and did not really get to explore the buildings. I really do not mind visiting again someday to hear lectures about The Gold Rush, founding of California and see artifacts from the 1800s.

It does not have the popularity of famous museums like the Smithsonians but it is beautiful and interesting in its own way. If you are traveling between San Francisco and Sacramento or Reno, Nevada, search for it. I think you will enjoy a couple of hours of quiet historical lessons and experiences.

August 2019

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