NoeHill Travels in the American West: California

National Register of Historic Places in Solano County

National Register #79000556: Fischer-Hanlon House in Benicia
10 November 2004
(Click Photo to Zoom)
National Register #79000556
Fischer-Hanlon House
135 West G Street
Built c1850

The Fischer-Hanlon House preserves one of the few examples of heavy timber frame construction with mortise and tenon joints used prior to the advent of balloon framing in California in the mid-19th century.

The building was possibly used as a hotel during the Gold Rush period. It was purchased by Joseph Fischer, a Benicia businessman who moved the building to its present site and converted it into a residence. Fischer had migrated from Switzerland to New York in 1845. In 1849 he moved to California. A lucrative butcher business sponsored his remaining in Benicia, rather than attempting to mine.

At that time, and for twenty years thereafter, Benicia was a city to be reckoned with. In 1853-54, it was the capital of California. The State House was adjacent to the Fischer property. Once known as the Athens of the West, Benicia declined following removal of the capital to Sacramento and removal of the county seat to Fairfield.

Three generations of the Fischer family lived here. Joseph Fischer and his wife left their home to their three children, Martha Fischer Quinn, Joseph Fischer and Elizabeth Fischer Hanlon. Martha and Joseph resided in the house until their death, whereupon Elizabeth Hanlon's three daughters inherited it.

Adapted from the NRHP nomination.

The Fischer-Hanlon House is also California Landmark 880.

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