Built in 1861, the Jefferson Street Mansion in Benicia, California, was a formal military mansion serving as the Executive Officer’s Quarters.
It’s located in the Historic Benicia Arsenal, part of a large military reservation location that served as the primary US Army Ordnance facility for the West Coast.
When the Arsenal closed in the 1960s, the mansion became privately owned and served as an office building. By 1997, it was dilapidated and went into foreclosure. The following year, J. Reed Robbins bought the estate with the intention of restoring it to become an event venue.
The design styles pay homage to the military with many French-inspired decorative elements.
Forbes magazine described the house in an old article: “Occupying a 1.5-acre lot overlooking the water, the mansion totals about 8,000 square feet of space. It has two ballrooms with 12-foot-high windows, elaborate wall and ceiling medallions, two fireplaces, crystal chandeliers and antique mirrors. The red velvet drapes were custom-designed by New Orleans designers Les Wisinger and Buzz Harper.
The basement used to have a dirt floor; now it is home to a gourmet kitchen. Each story has a tea/breakfast room, and one of the several bedrooms features detailed gilt moldings, a fireplace and chandelier. There is a pub modeled after a French officer’s club in Rangoon, and the grounds feature gardens and a colonnaded walkway.”
The house is surrounded by an acre of gardens and pavilions, and is now used for events. For more information, visit the website, http://www.jeffersonstreetmansion.com