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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sutters Fort... A step back through time .

Nestled in the Capitol District of the city of Sacramento is Sutter's Fort. You pop your quarters in the meter
( bring a lot, a quarter only gets you 12 minutes!) and walk up the dirt path and through the large wooden gates, and step back in time! Here is what the official page says :

"In 1839 a Swiss immigrant named John Sutter received a land grant in the Sacramento Valley from the Mexican government. He used the land to create a flourishing agricultural empire and named it New Helvetia (New Switzerland.) This empire established Sacramento’s earliest settlement and the first non-Indian settlement in California’s Central Valley.
In 1847 Sutter sent aid to the Donner Party, a group of immigrants trapped in a winter storm in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Word spread and Sutter became known for his hospitality and for providing temporary refuge to travelers. This reputation made New Helvetia the destination for early immigrants to California.
Less than a decade after they were established, Sutter’s properties were overrun by gold seekers and the fort is all that remains of New Helvetia. It has been restored to its former state based on an 1847 map published in Darmstadt, Germany and is open daily for tours."

I have also gathered a few interesting links to share :
  Virtual  museum tour of the fort
Sutter's Fort Photography History
Historic California Posts

I always enjoy exploring such places. I have a real thing for Forts, Missions ( have toured most of the California Missions and it is my goal to see them all ) and other historical landmarks. Funny cause I SUCKED at history in high school, barely passed, and yet I love learning about it . I can go to these places over and over and see new things and learn something different each and every time.

We had been meaning to go to Sutter's since we moved here, and just never really made the time. But we have a commitment now that if the weather and money allows, we will seek these places out that we keep saying "we should go there" and make a day of it and then well of course I just LOVE coming back and sharing with my friends.

I am including just a small sampling of what there is to see there...that is why I provided the links...I took dozens of photos, but uploading that many...well, it would take all day to upload and for you to get through this blog LOL , so figured the links would fill in the blanks.
We enter the front gate....

Once you enter , you turn to your right and go through what is called the "Orientation Rooms" where there is a pictorial history of Sutter and how the fort came to be....
And then you head back outdoors and start exploring...each "room" has a recording for a self guided tour...there is over 33 rooms/areas to explore and listen to the recording with the explanation of the space, often a small history lesson and even a brief part reenacted verbally in Sutter's own words.
A bedroom used by immigrants that would arrive at the fort.

The weaving room

This was the doctors office/sick bay.

Just a small portion of the kitchen ...there was also to the right , a large oven and a bank of cabinets. 
This is the Bee Hive Oven where bread was made....
  and here is the distillery.....
  And then there is the Carpentry Shop....the craftsmen ranging from men from Europe to men from the East Coast of the United States, brought their skills with them and crafted everything that was needed for the Fort that could be made of wood, right here in this room...

 The most interesting portion of the Fort for me was the Blacksmith's shop. It is still active and we were able to get quite the live educational experience , watching as the Blacksmith made salt spoons right in front of us, giving us a step by step lesson and the history of Blacksmithing that took place in the Fort.....

 After leaving the Blacksmith's we passed by John Sutter's bedroom....

  The trade store....

 and then the Guard's Room....Look at the size of this Muscat, it actually used a prop to hold it up for use...

 There was a few other rooms that I went back for photos of ....a Gunsmith Shop....
and  I just loved this chair! Ok , so yeah I was looking at decor items in these spaces as well as paying attention to the history.

Then when we finished our tour, we walked about the grounds surrounding the can find the Indian Museum there as well as a man made pond with fountains and a wonderful view of a local Catholic Church that caught my eye....

 The END ( get it ?? See the Duck's end?? LOL) .......Be sure to take your tour further and click on the links, and as always you can click on the smaller pictures to see a larger version.

1 comment:

  1. Sutter's Fort looks very cool. If I ever get up to that area, then I'll have to check it out. It's always hard to imagine how hard life must have been back then. Makes you so grateful for the little things.


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