Old Sacra­mento serves up seven mu­se­ums

Escalon Times - - LIVING - By DEN­NIS WY­ATT

OLD SACRA­MENTO— Not only is it the de­fin­i­tive mu­seum for Sacra­mento history but it is ar­guably the best lo­cated mu­seum in the north state if not all of Cal­i­for­nia when it comes to sur­round­ing ameni­ties.

The Sacra­mento History Mu­seum lo­cated next door to the worl­drenowned Cal­i­for­nia State Rail­road Mu­seum in Old Sacra­mento is worth the $8 price of ad­mis­sion. In a city crawl­ing with mu­se­ums — there’s seven in Old Sacra­mento alone — you’ll be hard pressed to find one that tells the story of Sacra­mento per se as well.

It has a se­ries of per­ma­nent ex­hibits as well as tem­po­rary ex­hibits. The per­ma­nent ones ex­plore Sacra­mento’s first 50 years dubbed “Gold, Greed, & Spec­u­la­tion”, the Gold Rush com­plete with gold sam­ples, a work­ing 19th cen­tury print shop (they even print per­son­al­ized wanted posters), agriculture, and one fo­cus­ing on Sacra­mento’s com­mu­nity from the Nise­nan In­dian cul­ture, Vic­to­rian era child­hood , and river­boat trans­porta­tion to the nuts and bolts.

Among the tem­po­rary ex­hibits now on dis­play it’s tough to top the “Place and Re­place: The mak­ing of Old Sacra­mento.”

It is the story of the 28-acre Na­tional Land­mark known to­day as Old Sacra­mento.

Any­one who grew up in the Sacra­mento area in the 1960s and ven­tured to down­town Sacra­mento knew the area as the place where your par­ents warned you to lock the doors as you made the re­turn down­town loop from one-way J Street to one-way K Street as you looked for a park­ing place to shop at Bre­uner’s Fur­ni­ture Store — they sold the state the desk for Cal­i­for­nia’s first gov­er­nor — or places like Flagg Broth­ers Shoes that sold the day’s fash­ion craze Bee­tle boots.

It was a mini ver­sion of the skid row you see in Los An­ge­les to­day com­plete with tran­sients, home­less, and all of the anti-ameni­ties that in­cludes. See­ing the ex­hibit might just jar some peo­ple’s mem­o­ries to re­al­ize home­less and sub­stance abusers liv­ing in the streets isn’t a 2017 oc­cur­rence.

The ex­hibit tells of how re­de­velop-

ment trans­formed the city’s derelict west end in tan­dem with the cre­ation of the K Street Mall.

The other cur­rent tem­po­rary ex­hibit is a photo history of how the I Street Bridge that ranked as a true engi­neer­ing ac­com­plish­ment when it was built in 1912 by the South­ern Pa­cific Rail­road was built.

Those liv­ing in the 209 ar­guably among the few who — on day trips — can visit three prime, and very dif­fer­ent, ex­am­ples of the Old West towns born dur­ing the Gold West.

There’s Bodie State Park — an Old West min­ing town that has been left in a state of ar­rested de­vel­op­ment af­ter be­ing aban­doned for good af­ter gold mines were re­opened tem­porar­ily for the ar ef­fort in the 1940s — that is 4½ hours away High­way 108 and Sonora Pass.

There’s Columbia State Park — a liv­ing Gold Rush town com­plete with ho­tels, restau­rants, the­atre, and stores that has been kept as true as pos­si­ble to its roots — that is 90 min­utes away just north of Sonora.

And there’s Old Sacra­mento — a re­stored Gold Rush era busi­ness dis­trict that has been trans­formed into an en­ter­tain­ment and din­ing mecca with shop­ping as well as an ex­tremely healthy dose of history rang­ing from the Gold Rush and river trans­porta­tion history to the rail­road that opened the West — that is 90 min­utes away via In­ter­state 5.

Old Sacra­mento boasts five other mu­se­ums be­sides the Sacra­mento History Mu­seum and the Cal­i­for­nia State Rail­road Mu­seum. There’s the Cal­i­for­nia Au­to­mo­bile Mu­seum, the Delta King River­boat, Hunt­ing­ton & Hop­kins Hard­ware, Old Sacra­mento School­house Mu­seum, and Wells Fargo History Mu­seum. You are also within blocks of the Cal­i­for­nia State Capi­tol Mu­seum and Crocker Art Mu­seum.

The Sacra­mento History Mu­seum also con­ducts tours with the Un­der­ground Sacra­mento Tour and Ghost Tour be­ing the most pop­u­lar.

The hour-long Un­der­ground Sacra­mento Tour cov­ers a half mile and shows how the city ad­dressed re­peat flooding con­cerns that crested with the flood of 1961-62 of bi­b­li­cal pro­por­tions that cov­ered much of the Great Cen­tral Val­ley. Sacra­mento lit­er­ally lifted it­self up roughly 10 feet.

You’ll see hol­low side­walks, sloped al­ley ways and the un­der­ground spa­ces that were cre­ated.

Tick­ets are $15 for adults, $10 for ages 6 to 17 and free for those un­der 5. There are dis­count pack­age tick­ets when you com­bine the un­der­ground tour with a reg­u­lar mu­seum ad­mis­sion.

There are Un­der­ground Af­ter Hours tours for those 21 and older that touch on more risqué and vi­o­lent history. The $20 tick­ets in­cludes a com­mem­o­ra­tive shot glass and a dis­count ticket for a drink at the River City Sa­loon.

The hour-long Ghost Tours are of­fered Oct. 13 through Oct. 28 Fri­day and Satur­day night ev­ery half hour from 6:30 to 9 p.m. with plenty of his­toric ghost may­hem to make it worth the $15 adult ticket and $10 youth ticket. The tour is not rec­om­mended for those 8 and un­der. They also fill up fast mak­ing reser­va­tions via the mu­seum’s web­site a must. The tour is a mile long.

A re­cently added Gold Rush Fever Tour is a walk­ing tour of Old Sacra­mento that of­fers touches that bring the era to life. Tick­ets are $10 for adults, $6 for ages 6 to 17, and free for those 5 and un­der.

Photo courtesy of Steve Rouho­tas The Bran­non House Site at 112 J Street in Old Sacra­mento.

Pho­tos courtesy Sacra­mento History Mu­seum

TOP PHOTO: The Sacra­mento History Mu­seum’s Un­der­ground Sacra­mento tours are pop­u­lar. The mu­seum also of­fers other tours in­clud­ing special Ghost Tours in Oc­to­ber. BOT­TOM PHOTO: The Sacra­mento History Mu­seum in­cludes a work­ing 19th cen­tury print shop...

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