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  #1  
Old Posted Apr 21, 2008, 10:11 PM
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Vallejo & Benicia, CA

For those not familiar with the Bay Area, Vallejo and Benicia are located on the Northshore of the Bay in Solono County. Here they are on google maps:



These images really only show the cities in the best of light. Benicia has a lot of industry (which gives the city a certain chemical smell when you pass it on the freeway) and Vallejo is struggling with crime and bankruptcy. But, as with everything, there is always good amongst the bad.

Vallejo (pop 116,760)

Downtown Vallejo was probably the most surprising to me. There are a lot of old, historic buildings which are now empty, but, many are currently under renovation and, once filled, may help to create a more vibrant downtown.



























For something a little different, all streets downtown are named after states in one direction, California counties in the other.

























































Vallejo could use some inspiration...









The city's more famous "skyscrapers"



Benicia (pop 26,865)

Pronounced Be-nee-sha...not Be-na-ki-ya as some out of towners hilariously once said it to me...the city was the capital of California from February 1853 to February 1854. Now it's just a typical small Bay Area city with a nice waterfront and many local restaurants. A fun place to spend a weekend afternoon.





























Bay Area residents love to spoil their pets...











The old Capital Building undergoing some sort of renovation































































New, meant to look old...and not too bad done...


















________________________________________________________________

Tour of California

1: Los Angeles, 2: Hollywood, Glendale, Pasadena, Beverly Hills, 3: Riverside, Santa Ana, Long Beach, 4: San Jose, 5: San Diego, 6: Fresno, 7: Stockton, Modesto, 8: Gold Country, 9: Eureka, Arcata, 10: Monterey, Carmel, 11: Santa Cruz, 12: Sacramento Pt One, 13: Sacramento Pt Two, 14: Roseville & Folsom, 15: Concord & Walnut Creek, 16: Tri-Valley, 17: Berkeley, Emeryville, 18: Fremont, 19: Santa Clara, Mountain View, Palo Alto, 20: Redwood City, Foster City, San Mateo, 20: Oakland
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  #2  
Old Posted Apr 21, 2008, 11:02 PM
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interesting... just today I read about how Vallejo is on the verge of bankruptcy
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...BADG108NOD.DTL

But it looks nice!

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  #3  
Old Posted Apr 21, 2008, 11:25 PM
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Glad to see my home county, maybe some Dixon in the near future?
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Old Posted Apr 21, 2008, 11:31 PM
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I've seen bits of Vallejo, but Benecia apparently has much more to offer than what's visible from 680.
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  #5  
Old Posted Apr 21, 2008, 11:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evergrey View Post
interesting... just today I read about how Vallejo is on the verge of bankruptcy
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...BADG108NOD.DTL

But it looks nice!
Wow, you had to have gone quite a bit out of your way to find that story.
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  #6  
Old Posted Apr 21, 2008, 11:39 PM
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These places look quite nice
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  #7  
Old Posted Apr 21, 2008, 11:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vertex View Post
Wow, you had to have gone quite a bit out of your way to find that story.
One of my favorite economists here at Pitt posted the story on his blog today. I'm not making any value judgment on Vallejo... it was just a coincidence that I read about it today before seeing these attractive photos. The financial problem is due to the housing crisis and escalating public service costs.

And besides... in the internet age... nothing is "out of the way"... I can access news and information in Buenos Aires just as quickly as Pittsburgh.

Last edited by Evergrey; Apr 22, 2008 at 12:23 AM.
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Old Posted Apr 22, 2008, 12:09 AM
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Nice...but I wonder about the cost of living there? Nice shots.
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  #9  
Old Posted Apr 22, 2008, 1:47 AM
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Beautiful!
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  #10  
Old Posted Apr 22, 2008, 3:48 AM
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Great tour, stepper. All these years and I've never stopped in either city. Driven through enough times though. I'll definitely have to change that one of these days.
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Old Posted Apr 22, 2008, 4:42 AM
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Cool. I've always been curious about Vallejo for some reason, but have never seen it.
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Old Posted Apr 22, 2008, 4:51 AM
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Yet another great thread. The Bay Area has so many enchanting towns. Not sure about Vallejo, but perhaps in the coming years Vallejo will catch fire as the next up and coming area and a model for redevelopment. Stranger things have happened.
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  #13  
Old Posted Apr 22, 2008, 5:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Top Of The Park View Post
Nice...but I wonder about the cost of living there? Nice shots.
This side of the bay is one of the more "affordable" places in the Bay Area. According to DataQuick, the medium home in February 2008 cost $548,000 in the Bay Area overall. The median house in Benicia was $502,000 while in Vallejo is was about $353,000.
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  #14  
Old Posted Apr 22, 2008, 5:05 AM
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Another thing Vallejo has going for it is direct ferry access to SF. It must take them around an hour, but it beats driving.
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  #15  
Old Posted Apr 22, 2008, 5:50 AM
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Thanks for highlighting a couple of the Bay Area's lesser known cities. Vallejo does have big development plans for Mare Island (across the drawbridge in the first 2 pictures) and the downtown has tons of potential, but it's a shame about the bankruptcy. Hopefully things will turn around, it's an interesting little city. Benicia has a much quieter, small town vibe.
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Old Posted Apr 22, 2008, 6:40 AM
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Well Vallejo can be kind of boring, and most of it is suburban hell. But I see since the last time I was in central Vallejo its looking much better.

Also I have friend in the area, actually right behind the amusement park. Still I have never visit the park, perhaps one day as they can actually walk to it from their home.
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  #17  
Old Posted Apr 22, 2008, 9:13 PM
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There is alot of Anglo California history, er Trivia

No instructions on pronouncing VAL-LAY-HO?
Admiral Farragut established a naval shipyard at Mare Island in 1854. It closed in 1996 - which led to a lot of Vallejo's current financial problems. Many Civil War era structures remain on Mare Island. They built and maintained nuclear subs during the Cold War. This is where the Napa River enters S.F. Bay.

Benicia is where the Sacramento River enters S.F. Bay. Trains would cross the river between Benicia and Contra Costa on railroad ferries that were the largest that have ever been built. A bridge was built in 1930 to replace the ferries. Benicia's founders (1846) initially wanted to name their city Francesca, but decided otherwise because it sounded to similar to San Francisco. The US Army established the Benicia Arsenal in 1847, which became the army's staging area on the West Coast during the Civil War - General Grant served time there. The Army's only Camel Corps was established for a very short time, a failed military experiment. The Arsenal closed in 1964, and the town recovered when Exxon (then Humble Oil) built a huge oil refinery in town. A lot of old buildings (by California standards) are still there, some used as artist lofts, some empty.
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Old Posted Apr 23, 2008, 12:01 AM
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No. I thought it was obvious. I've never heard anyone mispronouce Vallejo before.

I just looked at it briefly, but, there is more information on the redevelopment going on Mare Island: http://www.lennarmareisland.com/ From the Vallejo Marina, I could see there were a lot of really interesting, old buildings on the island. I hope some of them are renovated and preserved in the new development.
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  #19  
Old Posted Apr 23, 2008, 12:09 AM
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Benicia > Vallejo... judging from the photos. Heard lots of reference to Vallejo when I watched Zodiac!
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Old Posted Apr 23, 2008, 8:00 AM
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Awww, my old stomping grounds. Nice shots!
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