Benicia Arsenal

Also known as: Benicia Arsenal, Benicia Barracks
Army Point and I-680, Benicia, California


Benicia Arsenal, Powder Magazine No. 5

1. Photocopy of photograph (from San Francisco Examiner Library) Photographer unknown 1915 WEST AND SOUTH SIDES OF BUILDING NO. 13 (FOREGROUND) AND NO. 14

Photo from the Historic American Buildings Survey

View photos at Library of Congress



Part of post-Spanish-American War spurt in building, this powder magazine was part of a pair (see CA-1839-1). Building #13 (Powder Magazine No. 4) was demolished for a freeway intersection. / The Benicia Arsenal Powder Magazine was one of two such outlying buildings erected in 1903. The Benicia Arsenal is a National Register historic district and a California State Historic Landmark. This building was determined to lie outside the boundaries of both Landmarks and not to be individually eligible for inclusion in the National Register. Nonetheless, the California Department of Transportation and the California State Historic Preservation Officer agreed that the building should be recorded prior to its demolition for its associative values, so that there would be a record of its existence entered with the HABS records for the Benicia Arsenal. -- Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS CA-1839)

"BENICIA ARSENAL - Captain Charles P. Stone, with 21 enlisted men, established Benicia Arsenal as an ordnance depot in August 1851. The first building, a small wooden powder magazine, was erected in September 1851. Between 1853 and 1863, Congress authorized $550,000 to be spent on the establishment, and some 15 stone and frame buildings were constructed. The arsenal was first called 'California Ordnance Depot,' then 'Benicia Arsenal Depot,' and finally, in the spring of 1852, 'Benicia Arsenal.' It played an important role in crises such as the Indian wars. Some of its original buildings are in use today. Descendants of the men who established Benicia Arsenal are still living in Benicia and other parts of California." - California Historic Landmark No.176

"SITE OF FORMER BENICIA BARRACKS - Benicia Barracks, established on April 30, 1849 and organized by Brevet Lt. Col. Silas Casey, 2nd U.S. Infantry, was the U.S. Army headquarters for the Department of the Pacific from 1851-1857. Also known as the 'Post near Benicia,' it remained a garrison installation until 1898. The post hospital, built in 1856, is the only remaining structure associated with the original Barracks. The Barracks became part of the Benicia Arsenal, which closed in 1964." - California Historic Landmark No.177

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on November 7, 1976
Reference number
Areas of significance
Military; Architecture
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic function
Arms storage
Current functions
Single dwelling; Manufacturing facility
Periods of significance
1900-1924; 1875-1899; 1850-1874; 1925-1949
Significant year
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 23
Contributing sites: 1

Update Log 

  • March 26, 2019: Updated by Richard Doody: Added historical info