Compiled by Nick Sestanovich
75 years ago
Four First Aid Stations Will Be Set Up Here (Aug. 13, 1942)
A talk on demolition, fragmentation, incendiary and gas bombs was given by Thomas V. Reeves, safety engineer at the Benicia Arsenal, at the weekly meeting of Air Raid wardens at City Hall Monday night.
Announcement was made of four first aid stations to be located thus:
1. Gando residence at west end of J Street.
2. St. Catherine’s convent.
3. Benicia fisheries (blankets only, but arrangements are being made for an ambulance service here.)
4. Emergency Hospital
It was reported that the Benicia air raid lookout station is dangerously understaffed with only eleven volunteer watchers, whereas forty-two are needed. This lookout station is located at Ehman’s duck pen seven miles north of Benicia and is a part of a vast network of more than 1,000 lookout stations scattered over the state and constantly reporting airplanes to a “filtration center” at Sacramento.
The chief difficulty in keeping the Benicia lookout post staffed has been bad transportation, but it was announced at Monday night’s meeting that the Army had an officer here last week studying the problem, and that he promised to have transportation arranged for volunteer watchers.
50 years ago
Benicia Recreation Area Debut Waits Hiring Freeze Thaw (Aug. 10, 1967)
The new Benicia State Recreation Area, expected to open in a few weeks, is somewhat of a phoenix, rising as it does from the ashes of the one-time Vallejo-Benicia dump.
And similar to that mythological bird the park displays new beauty, including striking water and hilly vistas.
Final touches are now being put on the 367-acre recreation area by painters, plumbers and electricians. Soon, Ranger Lorin B. Forsyth said hopefully, construction of the park’s Phase 1 will be complete, and the remaining personnel vacancy filled.
Then it will be on the mark, set and go for an anticipated flood of eager anglers, picnickers, hikers and just plain rest-and-lookers. Forsyth is looking forward to a big play by Bay Area residents for the state recreation area on this section of the Sacramento River.
Although many more features are planned for the future, the park already has attractions enough to draw heavily from recreation-hungry citizens.
There are 75 picnic tables accommodating eight persons each, strategically placed to provide scenic views of the Straits, Southampton Bay and the soaring nearby hills. Twenty-five charcoal blazers are going in.
There will be initial parking space for 230 cars in six thoughtfully spaced lots.
25 years ago
Exxon searches for fire’s origins (Aug. 11, 1992)
A burst pipe was apparently the source of a highly visible fire Sunday afternoon at Exxon refinery.
The high-pressure pipeline carrying the liquid naphtha burst at about 4:45 p.m., Lt. Joe Thurin of the Benicia Fire Department said.
Exxon officials could not confirm where the fire originated except to say that it affected a hydrocracker unit that produces a component of gasoline.
Neither Exxon nor Benicia firefighters know what ignited the blaze.
After containing what was “a rather large fire, initially,” firefighters poured large quantities of water on to pipes near the fire’s point of origin to keep them from heating up and igniting more flareups, Thurin said.
Officials estimate it took between 15 and 30 minutes to contain the blaze and roughly another two hours to extinguish it.
The full articles of these and other stories are available on microfilm at the Benicia Public Library.