|B.F. Hastings Building|
The B. F. Hastings Building is an original structure located on the corner of Second and J Streets in Old Sacramento. Benjamin Franklin Hastings was not the original owner of the property where his building now stands. It was part of the land grant made to John Sutter by Mexican governor Alvarado in 1841. John Augustus Sutter, Jr. sold the lot to William Petit in 1849; he in turn sold the property to Wesley Merritt, who built a grocery store.
The Merritt Building was lost in a fire which devastated most of the city on November 2, 1852. Almost immediately Merritt leased space in a structure under construction at the corner of Second and J Streets. Financial problems appear to have beset the businessman, however, and the property was sold at a sheriff's sale to Benjamin F. Hastings on March 16, 1853, for $1,500.
Hastings completed and opened the building with his bank, Hastings & Company, on the corner (with an address of 30 J Street) on April 25, 1853. Other occupants of the street level offices in the early years included two clothing merchants (W. Meyer & Company, becoming I. & S. Wormser in 1854, at 28 J Street and L. Herzog & Company, at 38 Second Street). Wells, Fargo & Company were tenants at 40 Second Street from early 1854 until November of 1857.
Space on the second floor was leased to Theodore Dehone Judah (1826-1863), the engineer for the Sacramento Valley and transcontinental railroads, from the spring of 1854 to February of 1855. Both the Alta Telegraph Company and its successor, the California State Telegraph Company, were occupants. The building was also the western terminus of the famed Pony Express.
When Sacramento became California's capital in 1854, the state's Supreme Court took space in the Hastings Building (beginning in February 1855). In 1857 the Court moved to the Jansen Building at Fourth and J Streets, but returned to its original location in the Hastings Building in December of 1859. It stayed there until 1869, when its new quarters were ready in the State Capitol.
On December 3, 1869, the California Supreme Court heard its first case in the new Capitol and a significant chapter in the life of the B. F. Hastings Building came to a close. The B. F. Hastings Building was officially dedicated as a unit of the California Department of Parks and Recreation on March 17, 1976.
Today, the first floor of the B. F. Hastings Building houses the Wells Fargo History Museum, along with changing exhibits from the Towe Auto Museum. The second floor (including the former Supreme Court chambers) is currently closed for renovation.