California's State Capitol Building
The California State Legislature, with the support of Governor John Bigler, moved to Sacramento in 1854. The capital of California under Spanish (and, subsequently, Mexican) rule had been Monterey, where in 1849 the first Constitutional Convention and state elections were held. The convention decided that San Jose would be the new state's capital. After 1850, when California's statehood was ratified, the legislature met in San Jose until 1851, Vallejo in 1852, and Benicia in 1853, before moving to Sacramento. In the 1879 Constitutional Convention, Sacramento was named to be the permanent state capital.
Begun in 1860 to be reminiscent of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., the Classical Revival style California State Capitol was completed in 1874. In 1861, the legislative session was moved to the Merchants Exchange Building in San Francisco for one session because of massive flooding in Sacramento. The legislative chambers were first occupied in 1869 while construction continued. From 1862 to 1868, part of the Leland Stanford Mansion was used for the governor's offices during Stanford's tenure as the Governor; and the legislature met in the Sacramento County Courthouse.