Saturday, May 12, 2012

SACRAMENTO

CALIFORNIA STATE CAPITOL
When we told people we were going to spend a few days in Sacramento, they said “Whyyyy?”  Nevertheless, we’re glad we did.  Yes, there are economic problems, vacant buildings and homeless people on the streets.  But there is also much to see and enjoy.  Not to mention that Sacramento is often listed among the 10 sunniest cities in the country.

We stayed at the Citizens Hotel, a beautifully restored old hotel in walking distance to the Capitol and Old Sacramento.  The latter is one of the most authentic and best restored old towns we 
have ever visited.   Situated beside the Sacramento River, 28 acres have been designated a National Historic Landmark District and State Historic Park. 

MAIN ST. OLD SACRAMENTO
Sacramento began with the establishment of Sutter’s Fort following the arrival of John Sutter in 1839.  The town slowly developed until 1848 when the California Gold Rush began.  Then it grew virtually overnight.  It became the last stop on the Pony Express route as well as the terminus of the transcontinental railroad.  


RESTORED BUILDINGS OLD SACRAMENTO
Originally called Sutter’s Embarcadero, the busy trading center for miners became the City of Sacramento.  While convenient for travel and trade, the waterfront was  prone to flooding.  As described on the official Old Sacramento website: "In 1853 a mammoth project was proposed to raise the city above the flood level. The ambitious and expensive proposal was not fully accepted until another devastating flood swept through the city in 1862. Within a few years, thousands of cubic yards of earth were brought in on wagons and the daring scheme to raise the street level began. The original street level can be seen throughout Old Sacramento under the boardwalks and in basements."

Eventually, floods and fires that ravaged hastily erected wooden buildings forced the commercial development of the town eastward, away from the water.  The original town became known as the worst skid row west of Chicago.


RAILROAD MUSEUM OLD SACRAMENTO
In the mid 60s, a plan was born to redevelop the original city.   The result is 53 beautifully restored buildings, wooden sidewalks, shops, restaurants and several museums. 


The capitol city seemed an appropriate place to conclude our time in California which consisted of 3 months and 17 stops.  All of it enhanced by friends visited along the way.   So far, the nomadic lifestyle agrees with us. 
MT. SHASTA - OUR LAST PHOTO IN CALIFORNIA


As we drove north from Sacramento headed for Oregon, we stopped to take a picture of Mount Shasta and bid farewell to California.  For now.