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Benicia in Solano County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Site of the First Protestant Church in California

 
 
Site of the First Protestant Church in California Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Syd Whittle, February 20, 2009
1. Site of the First Protestant Church in California Marker
Inscription.  On this site was organized by the Rev. Sylvester Woodbridge, Jr., on April 15, 1849 the First Presbyterian Church of Benicia. This was the first protestant church established in California with an ordained resident pastor. The church of disbanded in 1875.
 
Erected 1932 by The Historic Landmarks Committee Grand Parlor Native Sons and Benicia Parlor No.89 and Benicia Parlor No.287 Native Sons and Native Daughters of the Golden West. (Marker Number 175.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Churches & ReligionSettlements & Settlers. In addition, it is included in the California Historical Landmarks, and the Native Sons/Daughters of the Golden West series lists. A significant historical date for this entry is April 15, 1849.
 
Location. 38° 3.212′ N, 122° 9.428′ W. Marker is in Benicia, California, in Solano County. Marker is on West K Street, on the right when traveling west. Marker is located on the grounds of the Benicia City Park between 1st and 2nd Streets. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Benicia CA 94510, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance
Site of the First Protestant Church in California Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Syd Whittle, February 20, 2009
2. Site of the First Protestant Church in California Marker
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of this marker. Site of Benicia Seminary (within shouting distance of this marker); World War I Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); First Masonic Hall Built in California (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); 1854 – Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church – 1954 (about 600 feet away); Saint Paul's Episcopal Church (about 600 feet away); Fischer-Hanlon House (approx. ¼ mile away); Founders of Benicia (approx. ¼ mile away); Robert Semple (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Benicia.
 
Regarding Site of the First Protestant Church in California. This site was designated as California Registered Historical Landmark No.175 on March 6, 1935.
 
Additional commentary.
1. First Protestant Church Site
In April of 1849 the Reverend Sylvester Woodbridge, a Prespyterian missionary, became the minister of the first Protestant Church built in California. Here, in a simple Gothic Revival style church, he preached on Sundays, conducted Benicia’s first public day school on weekdays, and slept in a sailor’s hammock in the building at night. Historians record that the reverend’s sympathies with the South during the Civil War caused dissention among the members of his congregation, causing his departure
The Grizzly Bear - January 1933, p.2 image. Click for full size.
Photographed By James King
3. The Grizzly Bear - January 1933, p.2
and the eventual closing of this church in 1871.
Source: Historic Downtown Benicia Walking Tour brochure.
    — Submitted February 21, 2009, by Syd Whittle of Mesa, Arizona.

2. The Reverend Syvester Woodbridge
The publication Genealogical and Personal Memorial of Mercer County, New Jersey by Francis Bazley states that:

"Sylvester Woodbridge was one of the pioneers of the Presbyterian faith in California. He, together with Revs. Wood and Williams, organized the first Presbytery in California. He also founded the Presbyterian Theological Seminary in San Francisco, and established the Occident newspaper, the first Presbyterian newspaper on the Pacific coast."
    — Submitted February 21, 2009, by Syd Whittle of Mesa, Arizona.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 14, 2016. It was originally submitted on February 21, 2009, by Syd Whittle of Mesa, Arizona. This page has been viewed 1,602 times since then and 48 times this year. Last updated on July 10, 2016, by James King of San Miguel, California. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on February 21, 2009, by Syd Whittle of Mesa, Arizona.   3. submitted on July 10, 2016, by James King of San Miguel, California. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Sep. 27, 2022