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Capitol Visit & More

sunny 80 °F

Good Morning!

The building of California's Capitol building took place between 1860 and 1874 on a location just 2 blocks from the Leland Stanford mansion. It sits on a plot covering a city block with gardens and statues throughout. Resembling the United States Capitol with its dome and pillared portico the interior is covered in marble, both walls and floors. Murals depicting important state historical events grace the walls at the base of the rotunda. The interior was renovated several years ago and the offices of Treasurer, Secretary of State, Governor were recreated to a turn-of-the-century appearance. (19th to 20th centuries). Only self-guided tours were offered which was a disappointment to me for docent-led tours are always more informative and interesting. The Legislative branch, however, has 40 Senators and 80 Legislators. There is a full-size bronze statue of Ronald Reagan, former governor, on the lower level beneath the rotunda.

Just two blocks down the street is the California State Capitol Museum. It encompasses 12 blocks and is where the legislature meets, along with various government buildings and the State Library & Archives. Set in a park-like setting, it is very beautiful. The museum itself, highlights different era's in the state's development; from the Indians, the Spanish and their establishment of Missions, the Gold Rush, the Incarceration of Japanese citizens during WWII, and the film industry, among others. All very interesting.

From there I drove to the California State Railroad Museum and Old Sacramento State Historic Park. The once-blighted district is located along the Sacramento River not far from its confluence with the American River. It has been restored to a 1800's flavor. Wooden sidewalks, shops, eateries, bars, and small museums cover about a 3 block area. Along the river sits the old Central Pacific Railroad Passenger Station, along with the Central Pacific Freight Depot. At the north end is the Railroad Museum. In addition to static displays, both steam and diesel-powered excursion trains arrive and depart from this station. Inside the very large building (100,000 sq. ft.) are 20 restored locomotives and railroad cars along with literally thousands of railroad artifacts. Six specific areas in the museum focus on The Transcontinental Railroad, Nation-Building, Railroad Work & Life, Travel by Train, American Icons including the "Golden Spike" encased in bullet-proof glass. On the 3rd floor is the largest minature (toy) train gallery in existence (so they claim), a collection donated to the museum by a wealthy Californian along with $1M cash. A delight to see.

A couple doors down the street is the Sacramento Museum. It details the city's history from Sutter's property, the discovery of gold nearby and the 80,000 people who stormed this small down in the first year (1849) creating enormous social problems. Sanitation issues and a cholera outbreak as a result, lawlessness, gambling halls, speakeasies, opium dens, prostitution, tent housing, etc., etc. It chronicled the city's development into an agricultural commerce center, and that of the State's center for government. In 1915 hundeds of Chinese laborers (railroad workers) built levies to help control flooding along the two rivers and to protect the rich farm land outside the city. The Army Corps of Engineers dredged the riverbed to a 30' depth and 200' width in a 43 mile sector of the Sacramento River thus creating a 400 mile shipping channel to the Port of San Francisco. The seaport contributes to the commerce of this city of 500K. After having a great experience here I move on to Carson City, NV to visit that Capitol city.

Posted by dixter 08:44 Archived in USA Tagged sacramento

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