Old Sacramento located in California’s capitol city is an interesting piece of living history that should be included in any trip to Northern California.
Experience A One Of A Kind Visit To Old Sacramento
For a taste of the Old West, complete with dirt and cobblestone streets flanked with wide wooden sidewalks and boom town style buildings, visit Old Sac. Tour the historical four blocks in a horse-drawn carriage or take a ride on a riverboat.
Old Sacramento is located along the beautiful Sacramento River. Bustling with activity, the district is alive with shopping, dining, entertainment, historical attractions and world renowned museums set within the time of the California Gold Rush and the Transcontinental Railroad.
Old Sac Was Begun With The Discovery Of Gold
When gold was discovered in the nearby foothills, local merchant Sam Brannan rushed to open a store near the Sacramento River to take advantage of the convenient waterfront location. What was then called Sutter’s Embarcadero was soon known as the City of Sacramento. The city rapidly grew into a trading center for miners outfitting themselves for the gold fields.
The Flood Of 1850
The early Sacramento waterfront location was prime for commercial success, but was prone to severe flooding. The city also fell victim to repeated fires engulfing its hastily constructed buildings composed mainly of wood and canvas. In 1850 the new city experienced its first devastating flood and in 1852 the city was again wiped out by high water. It was apparent that drastic measures would have to be taken if it was to be saved.
The Rise Above Flood Level
In 1853 a monumental 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 plan to raise the street level began. The original street level can be seen throughout Old Sacramento under the boardwalks and in basements.
In the mid-1960’s, a plan was set forth to redevelop the area and through it, the first historic district in the West was created. Old Sacramento has more buildings of historic value condensed into its 28 acres than most areas of similar size in the west. Registered as a National and California Historic Landmark, the properties in the district are primarily owned by private owners, with individual businesses leasing shops and offices. The area has flourished and is once again a thriving commercial trade center.
Old Sacramento boasts 53 historic buildings and 5 million visitors annually. While the area has seen vast improvements since it was first redeveloped in the 60’s, it is the goal of the Historic Old Sacramento Foundation to realize the area’s potential as California’s hub of historic education and preservation. By broadening the historic and cultural offerings of Old Sacramento, the story of California’s beginnings can be preserved and shared in a way that truly brings history to life.