Hughes Mining Barge HMB-1
Hughes Mining Barge HMB-1 is among the collection of ships in the Mothball Fleet. It was constructed for Project Jennifer that was intended to raise a sunken Soviet submarine from the ocean depths during the Cold War. Howard Hughes in affiliation with the CIA built the Glomar Explorer and its associated Hughes Mining Barge HMB-1 for this task. Hughes involvement was intended to shield the actual purpose for the ships. The Glomar Explorer also spent some time in the Mothball Fleet before it returned to service for oil exploration. The Hughes Mining Barge was submersible. It was intended to be deployed below the Glomar Explorer in order to conceal its cargo. The project only was able to raise a portion of the Soviet submarine. The HMB-1 is easily recognizable as it has a rounded half dome top. However the barge currently hides another interesting ship. The Sea Shadow is currently inside of the HMB-1. The Sea Shadow was built in 1985 to experiment with naval stealth technology.
The Camel Barn
After the Civil War, the U.S. Army decided to experiment with camels as a way to patroling the vast arid spaces of the West. These camels were stationed at the Benicia Arsenal. A barn complex was built to house the camels. The experiment obviously didn't work out. After the Arsenal closed, the City let various non-profits used the barn complex, which has since been turned into a museum of local history, and is known as the Camel Barn Museum.
There are a couple of nice parks along the waterfront in Benicia. They offer a nice walking trail and they all have nice views. From the one on F Street you can catch a slight glimpse of the "mothball fleet".
Benicia - Former State Capital
Benicia is a small city in the North Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area. It is in southern Solano County right next to larger Vallejo and across the Carquinez Strait from Contra Costa County.
One of California's oldest cities, it was founded in 1847 and named after the wife of Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, Francisca Maria Felipe Benicia, who was the daughter of Dona Maria Carrillo of Santa Rosa. It was one of only 8 cities incorporated in 1850, the year California became a state (the others being San Francisco, Sacramento, San Jose, San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and Stockton).
Benicia was briefly the California State Capital from 1853 until 1854, replacing Vallejo. However, Sacramento became the capital in 1854 and has remained so ever since.
Because of its early importance, Benicia to this day has an attractive old downtown and surrounding area with a number of old buildings. These include the old California capitol, built in 1853, and the first Masonic Lodge in California, still used and built in 1850.