Benicia, California Information
Situated along the coast in Solano County, Benicia is a cosmopolitan California city. Many people might not realize that this quaint little town was actually the capital of California back in 1854 for one year. As of the latest census, the population stands at just under 27,000. Located in the San Francisco Bay Area, Benicia is situated right along the northern bank of the Carquinez Strait.
Benicia, California Details
The official founding of the city dates back to 1847 when Comandante General Vallejo sold the land in the area to Dr. Robert Semple and Thomas Lankin. The city was originally meant to be called Francisca after the General’s wife, but that was quickly dropped. Benicia was the third state capital of California, even though it was quickly moved to Sacramento not long after. Through the decades that have followed, various industries, primary among then railroad companies, have been a central component to the economy of the region.
Things To Do
There is much to do and see throughout the city. This makes it a great pace to raise a family, particularly given its proximity to San Francisco. Many people will find the farmers’ market to be a welcome respite from the daily routine. It operates every Thursday evening from April all the way through October. It is been running since 1992. Another facet of community life revolves around the arts. There is a community based and not for profit organization that regularly hosts exhibitions, educational programs, and a variety of classes to support artists throughout the city.
Independence Day is always a big event throughout the city, beginning with the annual torchlight parade held on July 3. The goes all the way up and down First Street and usually includes a variety of dancing, floats, clown, horses, and a host of live entertainment. On July 4th, the fun moves to the city park where there is a huge community picnic starting at noon. Once it gets dark, a fireworks display dots the sky.
As the city is so close to the water, sailing has become quite popular. There is an active club that meets regularly, and competitions and events are both organized and frequent in nature. During the summer, Thursday evenings brings yacht racing competitions to the city. The Yack Club also sponsors an annual Jazz Cup regatta, and there is extensive training provided to youth throughout the city to teach them how to sail.
Some other interesting activities in the city are the peddler’s fair, the Holy Ghost Parade, and Tree City. The Peddler’s Fair dates back to 1963 and has grown to include more than 300 antique and collectible dealers. More than 20,000 people attend the fair every year. Tree City takes place on Arbor Day even year that inches multiple tree planting ceremonies throughout the area. Finally, the Holy Ghost Parade is a function of the Portuguese community and occurs on the fourth Sunday in July even year.
Housing Statistics and Neighborhood Information
The city is divided nicely into four distinct geographical regions. There is an industrial park and newer suburban neighborhoods that dot its landscape, but the bulk of residential properties are situated on the east and west sides of the city. Southampton is where one will find new single family housing developments going up, along with a fair share of condominiums that were built between between 1970 to 2000. The major retail area is largely centered around First Street. Quite a few shoppers from across this region of California come there to do some antique and boutique shopping, as well as to experience that small town ambiance that is still present here.
The housing market is relatively strong throughout the city, with the median home price currently standing at $569,600 according to Zillow. This is an increase of just under nine percent over the previous year, and it is predicted that prices will continue to go up next year at a rate of 4.4 percent. The median list price per square foot of a home in the city is $315, which is higher than the nearest neighboring cities value of $225 per square foot.
At the current time, the median rent price per month stands at a respectable $2,800. Crime is relatively low compared to neighboring cities, with 363 counts of theft being reported last year, of which 119 resulted in an arrest. The city has a total of eight public schools: 3 elementary, 2 middle, and 3 high schools. Of the residents currently living in the city, 29 percent are single and 75 percent are homeowners. The median age is currently 45 with the median household income standing at just under $86,881. Roughy half of the residents of the city have earned a college degree.
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