Pictured: The Commandant's Residence was built in 1860 on the grounds of the Benicia Arsenal. It was designed in the Greek-Revival style as a 20 room mansion, complete with Greek inspired columns, hipped roof, 14 foot high ceilings and thick double walls. Many of the interior artistic features were of imported Philippine mahogany. Original construction cost was $35,000. This photo was taken circa 1912. In 1964 the Arsenal closed and the building was no longer government property. For several years it served as a restaurant (called "Commandant's Residence Restaurant" of course). The building still stands across the parking lot from the Clock Tower.
James Montgomery Owens (1878-1955) was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi. He served with the 9th Cavalry, Buffalo Soldiers, in the Philippines (1896-1898) during the Spanish-American War. He came to Vallejo in 1903 and became an active member of the community by helping to establish many civic and fraternal orders including Vallejo’s NAACP chapter and Firma Lodge. He was also one of Vallejo’s first African-American building contractors. Photo courtesy of Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum
Genealogy Society of Vallejo-Benicia c/o: Vallejo Naval & Historical Museum 734 Marin Street Vallejo, CA 94590