Old Sacramento State Historic Park

Old Sacramento State Historic Park
Old Sacramento Historic District
The Big Four Building, Old Sacramento
Old Sacramento State Historic Park is located in California
Location: Sacramento, California
Coordinates: 38°34′58″N 121°30′12″W / 38.58278°N 121.50333°W / 38.58278; -121.50333Coordinates: 38°34′58″N 121°30′12″W / 38.58278°N 121.50333°W / 38.58278; -121.50333
Built: 1849
Governing body: Local
NRHP Reference#: 66000219
Significant dates
Added to NRHP: October 15, 1966
Designated NHLD: January 12, 1965[1]

Old Sacramento State Historic Park is the historic region of Sacramento, California, which has been designated as a state park. It is generally referred to as Old Sacramento, or Old Sac, and since the 1960s has been restored and developed as a significant tourist attraction. All of it is included in the Old Sacramento Historic District, a U.S. National Historic Landmark District.



The city of Sacramento grew up in the mid-nineteenth century as a development from Sutter's Fort. However, the Fort was some way from the Sacramento River, which was the main means of transport to the coast of California, and what was to become the modern city developed along the waterfront.

Before Sacramento's extensive levee system was in place, the area flooded quite regularly. Because of this, the city's streets were raised a level. Most of the sidewalks and storefronts have been filled in, however many tunnels still remain throughout Old Sacramento and the downtown area.

By the 1960's, with the construction of Interstate 5, the area had become cut off from the rest of Sacramento and fell into disrepair. A large effort was made to secure the area's future as an outdoor living history center similar to Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. Several historically significant buildings were moved or reconstructed. Those that were beyond repair were demolished.[2]

Today, the State Historic Park covers the area between the river frontage and Interstate 5, between I Street and the Capitol Mall. Virtually all the buildings in this area date from the 19th century, the most notable from immediately after the disastrous fire of 1852, and show a reasonable approximation to their original appearance, though they have required varying degrees of reconstruction to restore to them to that state. However, few if any are in their original use, most of them now housing restaurants, gift shops, or other businesses catering to tourists.[3]

Old Sacramento State Historic Park attracts over 5 million visitors annually. Regular events include the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, Gold Rush Days , New Years Eve events, and Mardi Gras.

Historic buildings

Notable buildings include:

The first two are also individually designated National Historic Landmarks.


Theodore Judah plaque in Old Sacramento

The district contains many memorials to the founders of the city and of the California and transcontinental railroad and other transport systems, including the Theodore Judah monument and the Pony Express Statue.

Current attractions

Old Sacramento is the site of the California State Railroad Museum, the California State Military Museum, the Sacramento History Museum, the Wells Fargo History Museum and the Old Sacramento Interpretive Center.

Other attractions available for visitors include rides in horse drawn carriages, historic trains from the former Central Pacific Railroad passenger station, and cruises on historic riverboats. A historic sternwheel riverboat, the Delta King, is moored in the river and serves as a hotel, restaurant and theater.

The Sacramento Valley Rail Station is just a short walk away.

Interpretive Programs

The Old Sacramento Historical Foundation manages several programs to highlight the history of the city, including historical reenactments by costumed docents, as well as tours of Old Sacramento's underground level. During October, there is also a special Halloween themed ghost tour.

Every Labor Day weekend, Old Sacramento holds its annual Gold Rush Days. During this time, the paved streets are covered with several tons of dirt and automobile traffic is barred from the area. Old Sac's regular corps of costumed docents is supplemented by extra volunteers and professional reenactors to recreate life in Sacramento as it was in the mid to late 1800's.


  1. ^ "Old Sacramento Historic District". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. http://tps.cr.nps.gov/nhl/detail.cfm?ResourceId=124&ResourceType=District. Retrieved 2011-08-07. 
  2. ^ Official Site of Old Sacramento Retrieved 2011-08-07
  3. ^ California State Parks page on Old Sacramento. Retrieved 2011-08-07

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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