For many, the Halloween season provides an opportunity to indulge their interest in those iconic films that form the “B” horror movie genre and the actors who populate them. Think Vincent Price, Bela Lugosi, and Boris Karloff, all of whom would have felt quite at home in this structure, St. Mary’s of the Pacific: Episcopal School for Girls, the site of which is now occupied by Benicia City Hall. Built in 1870 by Dr. James Lloyd Breck, the school was established as a sister institution to the Episcopal College of St. Augustine’s School for Boys. Lansing Mizner served on the board of trustees, and his son Addison was a pupil there. The building was razed before the turn of the twentieth century, although our records here do not indicate when or why. Author Gertrude Atherton is considered to be the most prominent student to attend St. Mary’s of the Pacific. Her novel, Black Oxen, was turned into a silent movie of the same name. She also wrote Rezanov, which details the star-crossed affair between the Russian envoy Chamberlain Nikolai Rezanov and the young and beautiful Concepcion Arquello. Concepcion is buried in St. Dominic’s cemetery. Their haunting story, no pun intended, is a much beloved Benicia legend.
About The Author
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