Old Sacra­mento’s his­toric venues

The Oakdale Leader - - PERSPECTIVE -

The Cal­i­for­nia State Rail­road Mu­seum com­plex is lo­cated within Old Sacra­mento State His­toric Park — it­self a por­tion of the Old Sacra­mento His­toric District.

News of the 1848 dis­cov­ery of gold in nearby Coloma (site of Sut­ter’s Mill and today home to Mar­shall Gold Dis­cov­ery State His­toric Park) trav­eled quickly around the world, draw­ing thou­sands of peo­ple to the Sierra Ne­vada foothills and kick­ing off the Cal­i­for­nia Gold Rush.

Orig­i­nally part of the New Hel­ve­tia land grant of Cap­tain John Sut­ter, Sacra­mento sits at the con­flu­ence of the Sacra­mento and Amer­i­can Rivers. The com­mer­cial cen­ter of the Cal­i­for­nia Gold Rush, it be­came a cross­roads of trans­porta­tion — con­nected by steam­boats to San Fran­cisco, by sup­ply roads to min­ing re­gions, and to Fol­som by the first rail­road in the West. De­spite floods, fires, and epi­demics, Sacra­mento be­came Cal­i­for­nia’s cap­i­tal in 1854.

The cen­ter of the com­mer­cial district grad­u­ally moved east, and the Sacra­mento river­front be­came ne­glected. In the mid-1960s, a rede­vel­op­ment plan took shape.

Today, with 53 his­toric com­mer­cial struc­tures sited on 28 acres, Old Sacra­mento is a Na­tional His­toric Land­mark. Cal­i­for­nia State Parks owns and op­er­ates a num­ber of orig­i­nal and re­con­structed build­ings, mostly ac­ces­si­ble, as part of Old Sacra­mento State His­toric Park.

B.F. Hast­ings Build­ing

This 1853 struc­ture housed the owner’s bank, Hast­ings & Com­pany, and Wells, Fargo & Com­pany. It also served as the west­ern ter­mi­nus for the Pony Ex­press. Cal­i­for­nia’s Supreme Court held ses­sion here be­tween1855 and 1869. Today the build­ing houses the Old Sacra­mento Vis­i­tor Cen­ter and the Wells Fargo His­tory Mu­seum.

Te­hama Block

From 1850 to 1851, this re­con­structed Greek Re­vival build­ing housed nu­mer­ous busi­ness ven­tures.

Ea­gle The­atre

Built in 1849, the Ea­gle The­atre is a re­con­struc­tion of the first theater built in Cal­i­for­nia. Made with a wood frame, can­vas walls, and a tin roof, it pro­vided en­ter­tain­ment for only three months be­fore the flood of Jan­uary 4, 1850, de­stroyed it

CM&T Co. Build­ing

This re­con­structed 1849 build­ing was orig­i­nally home to the Con­necti­cut Min­ing & Trad­ing Com­pany, an auc­tion and com­mis­sion busi­ness, and gen­eral mer­chan­dise firms.

Big Four Build­ing

Hous­ing the Stan­ford Broth­ers Ware­house and the Hunt­ing­ton & Hop­kins Hard­ware Store from the late 1850s into the 1880s, this build­ing was also the first head­quar­ters of the Cen­tral Pa­cific Rail­road.

First floor —The mid-nine­teenth cen­tury Hunt­ing­ton & Hop­kins Hard­ware Store has been re­con­structed.

Sec­ond floor —The Rail­road Mu­seum Li­brary, North Amer­ica’s finest rail-road-only reference li­brary, is open Tues­day through Satur­day, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Din­g­ley Spice Mill Build­ing

Af­ter ar­riv­ing in San Fran­cisco in Fe­bru­ary 1850, Nathaniel Din­g­ley set­tled in Sacra­mento to op­er­ate a cof­fee and spice busi­ness. Con­structed fol­low­ing Sacra­mento’s dis­as­trous 1852 fire, the Din­g­ley Spice Mill is re­stored to its circa 1860 ap­pear­ance.

Cen­tral Pa­cific Rail­road Pas­sen­ger Sta­tion

The sta­tion is a re­con­struc­tion of the west­ern ter­mi­nus of Amer­ica’s first transcon­ti­nen­tal rail­road circa 1876. It is com­plete with ticket of­fice, tele­graph of­fice, main wait­ing room, and a sep­a­rate wait­ing room for ladies and chil­dren only. Open daily for tours.

Cen­tral Pa­cific Rail­road Freight De­pot

The mu­seum’s steam-and diesel-pow­ered ex­cur­sion trains ar­rive and de­part from this re­con­structed late 1800s transcon­ti­nen­tal rail­road freight sta­tion. De­par­tures are on week­ends, April through Septem­ber, hourly 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Spe­cial hol­i­day “theme” trains de­part on se­lected week­ends Oc­to­ber through De­cem­ber.

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