Sac History Happenings

News and developments in Sacramento and California history

September 6, 2013
Sample local history and local beer at Untapped Sacramento

Annie Johnson.JPGWhere can you learn about the history of Sacramento's beer industry and sample some of the city's best local beers made today?

Head to the Center Sacramento History next Thursday for a special, behind-the-scenes peek at rare brewery artifacts in the Vault. In addition to the tour, visitors can taste brews from Ruhstaller, Track 7, Two Rivers Cider, New Helvetia and American River Brewing Company.

Proxy Moon will provide live music. And Sacramento's own Annie Johnson, American Homebrewers Association 2013 Homebrewer of the Year, will make a special appearance.

What: Untapped Sacramento History
Where: Center for Sacramento History, 551 Sequoia Pacific Boulevard, Sacramento
When: Sept. 12, 5:30 to 8 p.m.
Cost: $25, includes 2 pints of your favorite brews. Additional pints may be purchased for $5 and includes a complimentary commemorative glass. Purchase advance tickets.
For more info: 916-247-1234 or website

PHOTO CREDIT: Annie Johnson, national home brewer of the year, puts grains of wheat and barley in a grinder at Brew Ferment Distill in Oak Park. 2013 Sacramento Bee photograph by Lezlie Sterling

September 2, 2013
Cemetery tour explores the Capitol's stories and secrets

SACRAMENTO CAPITOL 1870.JPGThe movers, shakers, artisans and common folks who made the the state's Capitol Building a reality are the subject of the next Historic City Cemetery tour.

Come hear the stories, scandals and secrets behind the construction of Sacramento's signature structure. As usual, the tour will be led by some of the city's most knowledgeable history docents.

What: Capitol Connections
Where: Historic City Cemetery, 1000 Broadway, Sacramento
When: Sept. 7, 10 a.m.
Cost: free, but donations always appreciated to benefit cemetery preservation
For more info: (916) 448-0811 or website

Event flyer

PHOTO CREDIT: California State Capitol, completed in 1870.

August 30, 2013
Preserving Your History at Central Library

Preservation.jpgPreservation will be the theme of this October's Sacramento Archives Crawl, and Sacramento Public Library is gearing up for the big event with a special lobby display entitled Preserving Your History. Visitors to Central Library during the month of September will be greeted by displays containing helpful tips, tools and examples of preserving historical materials.The exhibit will show the "before and after" of applying proper preservation techniques and cover a variety of formats, including photographic prints, slides, newspaper clippings and scrapbooks. Handouts on useful preservation resources will be available, and visitors can even stop by the Sacramento Room on the 2nd floor during open hours for expert advice from the archivist.

What: Preserving Your History exhibit
Where: Central Library, 828 I Street, downtown Sacramento
When: September 3-27, 2013, during Central Library open hours
Cost: Free
For more info: http://www.saclibrary.org or (916) 264-2920

August 28, 2013
Underground Sacramento tours continue into the fall

UNDER OLD TOWN WALK.JPGTo those who've missed Old Sacramento's popular underground tours this summer: fear not. There are more opportunities to see these important historic sites in September and October.

The hour-long, docent-led excursions celebrate the 19th century street-raising effort that protected the old city from floods and produced the excavated foundations and enclosed pathways we have today.

This fall Historic Old Sacramento Foundation is also offering more "adults-only" evening tours of the underground city. Led by knowledgeable docents in period attire, these special 90-minute excursions explore "some of the dark secrets and racy tales lurking in Sacramento's past."

Guests should be ready to walk in spaces with uneven surfaces and low ceilings. The tours are popular, so advanced ticket purchases are recommended.

What: Old Sacramento Underground Tours - Fall Schedule!
Where: Sacramento History Museum, 101 I Street in Old Sacramento
When: September -- weekdays at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. & 2 p.m; weekends departing every half-hour 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. October -- weekday tour dates and times may vary; weekends departing every half-hour 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Check website for updated tour times
Cost: $15 for adults; $12 for HOSF members; $10 for children
For more info: 916-808-7059 or website

What: Underground "Adults Only" Evening Tours - Fall Schedule!
Where: Sacramento History Museum, 101 I Street in Old Sacramento
When: September -- Thursday & Friday evenings departing at 6 p.m. October - Thursday evenings departing at 6 p.m.
Cost: $20 (only guests 21 and older will be admitted)     
For more info: 916-808-7059 or website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Tour guide Janessa Gonsalves,walks beneath the the BF Hastings Building with some guests as they tour the original ground level of Old Sacramento. 2006. Sacramento Bee photograph by Andy Alfaro

August 14, 2013
Next tour explores early tools and jobs at Sutter's Fort

SF HOH Tools and Wood.jpgIn building up a vibrant commercial hub at his fort in Sacramento, John Sutter attracted skilled people of various types: rappers, sawyers, blacksmiths, gunsmiths, rope makers, wagon wrights, carpenters, coopers, weavers, bakers, distillers, cooks and clerks." These individuals brought new techniques, technology and jobs to the community. Their contributions will be celebrated in the next "Hands on History" program at historic Sutter's Fort

Visitors next Saturday will be treated to demonstrations of and hands on experience with early California tools. In addition they'll see weapon displays and gun and cannon firings.

What: Hands on History -- Tools, Talent and Technology; Jobs at Sutter's Fort
Where: Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, 2701 L St., Sacramento
When: Aug. 17. Fort hours 10 to 5 p.m. (open daily). Cannon firing demonstrations: 11, 1 and 3 p.m. Musket demonstrations periodically throughout the day.
Cost: $7 per adult (18 and older), $5 per youth (ages 6-17), free for children (5 and under).;
For more info: 916-445-4422 or visit website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Wood and tool demonstration at Sutter's Fort. Courtesy Sutter's Fort State Historic Park.

August 8, 2013
Historical river cruise offered during Gold Rush Days

Capitol_Hornblower_NoFence.JPGGold Rush Days, Old Sacramento's premier historical event, is coming Labor Day weekend..

This year, visitors to the four-day festival can enjoy a history-themed cruise on the Sacramento River. These one-hour tours aboard the Capitol Hornblower feature an informative narration, scenic views of the city and Gold Rush coloring sheets for the kids. Snacks and beverages provided by Fat City Catering will be available for purchase.

Seating is limited. You can reserve a spot online or by calling 888-467-6256.

What: Gold Rush Days River Cruises
Where: Capitol Hornblower -- leaves from Old Sacramento L St. Dock
When: Aug. 30, 1:30, 3:00 and 4:30 p.m.; Aug. 31, 12:00, 1:30, 3:00 and 4:30 p.m.; Sept. 1, 12:00, 1:30, 3:00 and 4:30 p.m.; Sept. 2, 1:30 and 3:00 p.m.
Cost: $19.96 per person
For more info: 888-467-6256 or website

PHOTO CREDIT: Capitol Hornblower. Courtesy Hornblower Cruises & Events

August 7, 2013
Cemetery symbols and Victorian funeral practices

Symbolism History Tour.jpgThe next tour at Sacramento's Historic City Cemetery uncovers the hidden meaning behind the mysterious symbols that adorn the 19th century headstones. As before, knowledgeable docents in period attire will lead guests on a fascinating excursion into the past.

Cemetery parking is available across the street from the 10th St. Gate.

What: Symbolism and Victorian Funeral Customs
Where: Historic City Cemetery, 1000 Broadway, Sacramento
When: April 10, 10 a.m.
Cost: free, but donations appreciated
For more info: call 916-264-7839 or 916-448-0811

Event flyer

PHOTO CREDIT: Cemetery monument. Photograph by Anita Lincoln for the Historic City Cemetery

August 6, 2013
Heritage Trail showcases Placer County museums

Mother Lode Goldhound.jpgNineteen Placer County museums from Roseville to Tahoe City will strut their stuff during this weekend's 2013 Heritage Trail tour.

The museums are grouped in three "clusters," each close to Interstate 80: Five Valley Museums in South Placer; six Auburn Museums; and seven Mountain Museums in the Sierra Nevada and Lake Tahoe.

Admission will be free at all museums and each will offer special activities that will appeal to visitors of all ages. Many will offer food and beverages.

See the Heritage Trail blog for the latest information on bus tours, raffles, food, souvenirs and activities.

What: The Heritage Trail: Placer County Museums Tour
Where: You can start at any of the 18 participating museums.
When: Aug. 10 & 11, 10 to 4 p.m.
Cost: Free admission at all museums. Bus tours, $10.
For more info: Heritage Trail Blog, Facebook page and Trail Guide Brochure. Call (530) 889-6500 to reserve a seat on the bus tours.

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: At the Gold Country Museum in Auburn a member of the Mother Lode Goldhounds shows a young visitor how to pan for gold. Photograph by Anita Yoder. Courtesy Heritage Trail.

July 31, 2013
Sacramento's old eateries focus of next cemetery tour

MC_BREWER_TOUR12.JPGThe next Historic City Cemetery gathering will take visitors on a tour of Sacramento's "diners, drive-ins and dives" of yesteryear. Volunteer Docent Eric Bradner will describe every kind of venue -- from primitive tents to lavish dining rooms.

Making an appearance this Saturday will be special guest Maryellen Burns, author of the recently published Lost Restaurants of Sacramento and Their Recipes. Burns will be on hand to sell (and sign) her book.

What: Saloons & Eateries Tour
Where: Historic City Cemetery, 1000 Broadway, Sacramento
When: Aug. 3, 10 a.m.
Cost: free, but donations appreciated
For more info: (916) 448-0811 or (916) 264-7839 or website

Event flyer

PHOTO CREDIT: The gravesite of Henry K. McLennan at Sacramento Historic City Cemetery one of the stops on a tour of pioneer brewers led by Dr. Bob LaPerriere, a local historian. In 1872 McLennan was part owner of the Phoenix saloon at 107 K Street. 2010 Sacramento Bee photograph by Manny Crisostomo

July 22, 2013
State Archives behind-the-scenes tours

Archives.JPGThe California State Archives houses a mind-boggling variety of materials: millions of government documents, thousands of maps, architectural drawings, video and audio recordings, artifacts and ephemera. Plus really precious items such as the original state constitution. Minerva, the Archives' online catalog, provides easy-to-access indexing of these vast holdings.

On one Friday each month visitors have an opportunity to go behind the scenes to tour this treasure trove of state history and government.

What: State Archives Tours
Where: California State Archives, 1020 O St., Sacramento
When: 12 to 1 p.m. July 26, Aug. 30, Sept. 27 and Oct. 25. No tours scheduled in November and December.
Cost: free
For more info: 916-653-2385 or email tour coordinator

PHOTO CREDIT: California's chief archivist, Nancy Zimmelman Lenoil, leads a rare, behind-the-scenes media tour of the California State Archives. 2007 Sacramento Bee photograph by Brian Baer

July 15, 2013
Vintage diesel locomotives featured in weekend excursion rides

Thumbnail image for SP Diesel 6051.jpgTwo early diesel-electric locomotives will take center-stage three weekends this summer in Old Sacramento.

Western Pacific No. 913 and Southern Pacific No. 6051 will take passengers on the scenic 40-minute excursion rides along the Sacramento River. Both engines will run Saturday and Sunday.

Excursion tickets are available on a same-day, first-come, first-served basis beginning at 10:30 at the Sacramento Southern depot (Front St. between J and K Sts.). But you can reserve a seat on the luxury El Dorado car by purchasing a ticket online in advance.

What: Diesel Days!
Where: California State Railroad Museum, Old Sacramento State Historic Park. Excursion trains depart from the Central Pacific Railroad Freight Depot (on Front St. between J and K Sts.)
When: July 20-21, Aug. 17-18 & Sept. 21-22, 2013. Weekend excursion train rides depart hourly from 11 to 5 p.m. Museum is open 10 to 5 p.m.
Cost: Excursion train rides $10 adults, $5 youths ages 6-17, free for children ages 5 and under. $15 for first class tickets aboard the El Dorado car. Museum admission $10 adults; $5 youths ages 6-17; free for children ages 5 and under.
For more info: 916-445-6645 or website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Southern Pacific No. 6051 operated by the Sacramento Southern Railroad. Courtesy California State railroad Museum.

July 12, 2013
Historic City Cemetery explores the seamy side of early Sacramento

DS_HISTORY_LEADER.JPGEarly Sacramento's notorious characters are the target of the next Historic City Cemetery tour.

Costumed docents will share stories of the "sinners, snake-oil salesmen, crooked lawyers, gamblers, dancers and gold diggers" during this special fundraising event. (Warning: tour may contain adult content.) Besides the graveside walking tour, visitors will be treated to entertainment and refreshments.

Tickets are going fast. You can purchase them online from Brown Paper Tickets. Or call 800-838-3006.

What: Law & Disorder tour
Where: Sacramento Historic City Cemetery, 1000 Broadway, Sacramento
When: July 20, 6:30 and 8:00 p.m
Cost: $25 per person, includes tour, floor show, hot dog and sarsaparilla.
For more info: (916) 448-0811 or website

Event flyer
News release

PHOTO CREDIT: John Bettencourt leads a walking tour in the Historic City Cemetery. 1998 Sacramento Bee photograph by Dick Schmidt

July 10, 2013
Old Sacramento walking tours resume
Architectural detail.jpg

As interesting as the underground tours are, there's a lot of fascinating things to see above ground in Old Sacramento. Local history fans will enjoy two different walking tours that return this summer:

Sacramento City: California's Gold Rush Legacy Tour, conducted by docents in period attire, introduces guests to 1850s Sacramento using original and reconstructed Gold Rush-era buildings as a backdrop.

Architectural Tour: From Canvas to Brick refers to various building styles to explain the evolution of Sacramento from tent city to established state capital.

Both events last about an hour. You can purchase advance tickets online, by telephone (916-808-7059) or in person at the Sacramento History Museum.

What: "Above Ground" Walking Tours in Old Sacramento
Where: Sacramento History Museum, 101 I Street in Old Sacramento
When: weekends thru Aug. 25. Saturdays at 11 a.m., Sacramento City: California's Gold Rush Legacy Tour. Sundays at 11 a.m., Old Sacramento Architectural Tour: From Canvas to Brick.
Cost: $5 for adults and youths; children 5 and under are free
For more info: 916-808-7059 or website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Architectural detail. Courtesy Historic Old Sacramento Foundation

July 8, 2013
Gold Rush explored in next Sutter's Fort tour

SF HOH scale & coins.jpgThe discovery of gold in 1848 brought thousands of people to California to seek their fortune. Many of them stayed at Sutter's Fort before heading to the gold fields and John Sutter made a lot of money selling supplies to would-be miners. Most of them came back from the fields disappointed only to be "fleeced" by unscrupulous traders, businessmen, and gamblers.

The knowledgeable docents of Sutter's Fort will explain the miners' hopes and struggles in the next "Hands on History" day. Visitors will be treated to demonstrations of vintage guns, cannons and other period weaponry, plus get to try gold panning, old-time gambling, bowling and other games.

What: Hands on History -- Mining the Miners!
Where: Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, 2701 L St., Sacramento
When: July 20, 10 to 5 p.m. Cannon firing demonstrations: 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. Musket demonstrations periodically throughout the day
Cost: $7 per adult (18 and older), $5 per youth (ages 6-17), free for children 5 and under
For more info: 916-445-4422 or website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Scale and coins on display at Sutter's Fort. Courtesy Sutter's Fort State Historic Park

July 2, 2013
Maidu Museum offers kids archaeology camp

IMG_6087small.jpgThe Maidu Museum is offering a week-long archaeology camp for children ages 8-11. Participants will learn the techniques of the discipline while getting hands-on experience uncovering artifacts from Roseville's ranching period. Recovered items will be displayed in the Museum.

Maidu Museum Cultural Anthropologist and docent Heidi Frantz will lead the camp.

For registration forms and information about the city's other recreational programs, see the Roseville Recreation Guide.

What: Hands On Archaeology Camp
Where: Maidu Museum & Historic Site, 1970 Johnson Ranch Dr., Roseville
When: July 8-12, 9:30 to 12:30 p.m.
Cost: $119 per child ($109 Resident Discount)
For more info: (916) 772-7529 or website

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy City of Roseville

July 2, 2013
Historic Cemetery deciphers fraternal symbolism in next tour
P1060307.jpg

In Sacramento's early days, fraternal orders and secret societies helped to build community and provide services to various immigrant groups.

In their next tour, the knowledgeable docents of the Historic City Cemetery docents will explain how these organizations preserved old traditions through the use of symbols that are displayed on grave markers.

What: Fraternal Orders, Secret Societies and Symbolism
Where: Historic City Cemetery, 1000 Broadway, Sacramento
When: July 6, 10 a.m.
Cost: free, but donations appreciated
For more info: 916-448-0811 or website

Event flyer

PHOTO CREDIT: Old Sacramento City Cemetery tombstone displaying the Knights Templar as well as the Freemason symbols. Douglas Keister Photography

July 1, 2013
Railtown offers more train rides this holiday weekend

Sierra 3 Bell Mooney Road (small).JPGRailtown 1897 SHP will offer additional vintage train rides this long holiday weekend. On all four days, Sierra No. 3, the famous "Movie Star Locomotive" will be taking passengers on excursions through the beautiful Gold Country hills. Old-timey musicians Bill Schneiderman (July 4&5) and Dave Rainwater (July 6&7) will provide entertainment during the rides.

Tickets for these 40-minute, six-mile jaunts are available for advance purchase online, or at the Park starting 10 a.m. on the day of the ride.

Visitors are encouraged to spend extra time picnicking and touring the historic Roundhouse.

What: Train Rides Behind Sierra No. 3 During 4th of Extended Holiday!
Where: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, Jamestown
When: July 4-7. Trains depart hourly from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cost: $15 adults, $8 youths ages 6-17, free for children 5 and under
For more info: 209-984-3953 or visit www.railtown1897.org

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Sierra No. 3, the "movie star" steam locomotive at Railtown 1897 in Jamestown. Courtesy Railtown 1897 State Historic Park

June 29, 2013
Old Sacramento invites kids to History Camp

logo.gifThe Sacramento History Museum and the Living History Center invites kids, aged 8-12, to three one-week day camps that explore state and city history through tours and hands-on experiences. Participants will visit local museums and historic sites, make their own old-time toys, learn to pan for gold, ride a steam train, perform in a history-themed play and many other fun and educational activities.

Space is limited in the camps and is first-come, first served. Parents can learn more about the program and register their children with this online registration form.

July 8-12: Gold Fever
An introduction to California and Sacramento's history.
July 15-19: History Live!
Work on a historical theme for a play that campers will perform.
July 22-July 26: Dig It
A look at preservation, archaeology and anthropology of local sites.

What: Old Sacramento History Camp 2013
Where: Sacramento History Museum, 101 I St., Sacramento
When: July 8 to 26, 9 to 4 p.m.
Cost: $155 per week per camper. Discounted rates are available for HOSF members at $140 per week per camper. Extended Care: Morning and afternoon extended care is available for an additional fee.
For more info: website

Registration Packet

June 11, 2013
Treat Dad to a vintage train ride this Father's Day

Thumbnail image for SP Diesel 6051.jpgTrains and dads just sort of go together. So this Father's Day give your pop a ride on a vintage steam or diesel locomotive. Railtown 1897 and the California State Railroad Museum are both offering special excursions this weekend.

In Old Sacramento, two streamlined diesels -- Western Pacific No. 913 and Southern Pacific "Daylight" No. 6051 -- will take passengers on the 45-minute rides along the Sacramento River. These engines are fine examples of first generation diesel-electric locomotives built in the 1940s-50s. Excursion tickets are available on a same-day, first-come, first-served basis beginning at 10:30 at the Sacramento Southern depot (Front St. between J and K Sts.).

Down in Jamestown (Tuolumne County) at Railtown State Historic Park, Sierra No. 3 -- the famous steam locomotive seen often in movies and television -- will take visitors on scenic rides this Sunday through Gold Country foothills. As a special holiday bonus, fathers will receive complimentary chocolate and kids complimentary balloons. Riders will be serenaded by cowboy singer Keith Keenom. In addition, Railtown's depot store, Roundhouse, Interpretative Center and Caboose No. 7 will be open.

What: "Diesels & Dads" on Father's Day Weekend!
Where: California State Railroad Museum, Old Sacramento State Historic Park. Excursion trains depart from the Central Pacific Railroad Freight Depot (on Front St. between J and K Sts.).
When: June 15 & 16. Weekend excursion train rides depart hourly from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: Excursion train rides: $10 adults; $5 youths ages 6-17; free for children ages 5 and under ($15 for first class tickets aboard the El Dorado). Museum admission: $10 adults; $5 youths ages 6-17; free for children ages 5 and under.
For more info: 916-445-6645 or website

What: Steam-Powered Excursion Train Rides on Father's Day!
Where: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, Jamestown
When: June 16. Trains depart hourly from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cost: $15 adults, $8 youths ages 6-17, free for children 5 and under (includes Park admission).
For more info: 209-984-3953 or website

News releases

PHOTO CREDIT: Sacramento Southern's SP 6051 Diesel locomotive. Courtesy California State Railroad Museum

June 10, 2013
Sutter's Fort explores political turmoil in early California

Cannon firing SF.JPGThis month's Hands on History series focuses on the political unrest and military action California experienced in 1846, a time when the Mexican territory was threatened by internal conflicts and foreign powers. The uncertainty reached a peak when as many as five flags could have flown over Sutter's Fort.

Visitors to Sutter's Fort will enjoy reenacted political debates, history scavenger hunts, musket demos and cannon firings.

What: Hands on History: War in California!
Where: Sutter's Fort, 2701 L St., Sacramento
When: June 15, 10 to 5 p.m.
Cost: $7 per adult (18 and older), $5 per youth (ages 6-17), free for children 5 and under
For more info: 916-445-4422 or website.

PHOTO CREDIT: Cannon firing demonstration at Sutter's Fort. 2005 photograph by Steve Prey. Courtesy Sutter's Fort State Historic Park

May 31, 2013
Railroad Museum honks again for volunteers

RR Volunteers.jpgYou don't have to be a history expert to become a volunteer at the State Railroad Museum, just have the willingness to help educate the public on the essential role trains have played in the development of Sacramento and California.

The Museum and Old Sacramento State Historic Park are now recruiting adults to join a new class of volunteers. Volunteers serve as docents and tour guides, help with steam train operations, track construction, restoration and maintenance, and perform clerical work. Training is free, but participants must commit to at least 84 hours of service during the year. (The schedule is flexible.) Perks include free parking while on duty, invitation to an annual Volunteer Recognition Banquet and complimentary Museum membership.

If interested, download a volunteer application or call 916-324-7593 or email the Museum's Volunteer Training Coordinator for more information.

What: Railroad Museum Volunteer Applications Accepted Now
Where: California State Railroad Museum, Old Sacramento State Historic Park
When: Volunteer applications are due June 7. Orientation and volunteer training begins on June 17.
Cost:
free
For more info: 916-324-7593 or visit website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: A volunteer docent explains a train exhibit. Courtesy California State Railroad Museum

May 28, 2013
Cemetery tour relates 12 interesting ways to die

BB ABOVE CEMETERY.JPGNever squeamish about discussing death, the Historic City Cemetery docents will share stories of a dozen fascinating ways to die. Hear how some unfortunate Sacramentans met their maker via an elephant, an omnibus and even a potato.

As usual Cemetery visitors can park free in the lot at 10th & Broadway, across the street from the 10th Street entrance.

What: Cemetery Tour -- A Dozen Ways to Die
Where: Historic City Cemetery, 1000 Broadway, Sacramento
When: June 1, 10 a.m.
Cost: free, but donations appreciated
For more info: 916-448-0811 or website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Louis and Marilyn Demas, tour guides at the Historic City Cemetery. 2004 Sacramento Bee photograph by Brian Baer

May 22, 2013
Library launches history tour of K Street for smartphones

SacQR code 1000 K.JPGSacQR, a historic tour of Sacramento's K Street mall for mobile devices, launches today. Those eager to see the old K Street alongside the new can now walk the mall on a self-guided history tour using their smartphones or other mobile devices.

QR codes at nearly two dozen businesses along K Street from 7th to 13th Streets link to historic photographs and postcards dating from 1900 to 1980. The images are from Sacramento Public Library's Sacramento Room Digital Collections and are accompanied by fascinating descriptions and audio narration. Participants can take the SacQR tour in any order, following the QR codes identified on the tour map, or they can visit www.sacqr.org for links to all locations.

SacQR is a project of Sacramento Public Library and was completed in cooperation with Turn Downtown Around, an initiative seeking to revitalize downtown Sacramento.

May 21, 2013
Veterans to be honored at Historic City Cemetery

CC MEMORIAL DAY FLAGS.JPGVeterans will be honored this Saturday at Sacramento's Historic City Cemetery.

First off will be a ceremony featuring a guest speaker, flag raising, patriotic readings and music, plus a Rifle Squad with Bugler. Meet at the Veterans Area in the center of the Cemetery.

A tour follows led by local historian Rick Roberts who will point out the grave markers of veterans who fought in the Spanish American War up through the Vietnam conflict. The tour group will gather near the brick building at the south end of the Cemetery.

What: Memorial Day Veterans Tour
Where: Old City Cemetery, 1000 Broadway, Sacramento.
When: May 25. Ceremony begins at 11 a.m., Tour at 12 p.m.
Cost: free, donations appreciated.
For more info: 916-448-0811 or website

Event flyer
News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Flags mark the grave sites of veterans of war in the old city cemetery. 2001 Sacramento Bee photograph by Chris Crewell

May 20, 2013
Railroad museums offer special Memorial weekend activities
jazzfestivalDance_05_16_11.jpg

Memorial Day is coming up, and that means big doings at the rail museums in Old Sacramento and Jamestown in Tuolumne County.

To help celebrate the Sacramento Music Festival, the California State Railroad Museum will offer musical performances inside the museum and on the Sacramento Southern excursion trains that will operate all during the extended weekend. In addition, festival badge holders will enjoy free admission to the museum. Several musical venues will be close by.

Down at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, the excursion trains will run all three weekend days. Sierra No. 3, the "movie star" steam locomotive, will operate Saturday and Sunday and the vintage diesel engine on Monday. Singer Jim Nelson of the Black Irish Band will entertain passengers on every ride. Visitors can also enjoy tours of the famous Caboose No. 7, special equipment demonstrations and picnicking on the Roundhouse lawn.

What: Jazz Festival Activities at the California State Railroad Museum
Where: California State Railroad Museum, Old Sacramento State Historic Park. Excursion trains depart from the Central Pacific Railroad Freight Depot (on Front Street between J and K Streets)
When: May 24-27 - special activities inside the Museum. May 25-27 - excursion trains running. Museum open 10 to 5 p.m. Excursion trains depart hourly from 11 to 5 p.m. (Saturday through Monday)
Cost: Museum admission -- $10 adults, $5 youths ages 6-17, free for children ages 5 and under. Excursion train rides -- $10 adults; $5 youths ages 6-17; free for children ages 5 and under ($15 for first class tickets aboard the El Dorado; free for children 5 and under).
For more info: 916-445-6645 or website

What: Excursion Train Rides Over Memorial Day Weekend
Where: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, Jamestown
When: May 25-27. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (trains depart on the hour)
Cost: General train ride tickets - $15 adults, $8 youths ages 6-17, free for children 5 and under
For more info: 209-984-3953 or website

News releases

PHOTO CREDIT: Dancers enjoy the music inside the Railroad Museum during the 2011 Sacramento Music Festival. Courtesy California State Railroad Museum

May 15, 2013
Celebrate Spring at the Governor's Mansion

RB Mansion Gardens 10.JPGThe Governor's Mansion will celebrate its upgraded gardens with a special evening event to raise funds for operation and further restoration of the grounds.

"A Garden Affair" will feature a self-guided tour of the gardens and historic buildings. Knowledgeable docents in period attire will share anecdotes about the families who made the Mansion their home. Light refreshments and a raffle for floral arrangements will also be offered.

Advance tickets can be purchased at online or you can make reservations to buy tickets at the door by calling 916-445-3727.

What: The Magic of Spring, A Garden Affair
Where: Governor's Mansion State Historic Park; 1526 H St., Sacramento
When: May 18, 4 to 6 p.m.
Cost: $30 per person
For more info: 916-445-3727

PHOTO CREDIT: Geraniums add color to the front of the historic Governor's Mansion. 2012 Sacramento Bee photograph by Randall Benton 

May 13, 2013
Sutter's Fort celebrates its multicultural past

RPMEXICAN FLAG DAY HATME.JPGThe Sutter's Fort "Hands on History" series will present a new program honoring the diverse cultures represented at the fort before and after statehood.

Visitors can sample special presentations on the people of African descent in California, 19th century Hawaiians, Sacramento Valley natives, as well as demonstrations of traditional Mexican dance and French and British fur trapping. For the kids there will be history-themed scavenger hunts and corn-husk doll making, plus the ever-popular cannon firing.

What: Hands on History -- Sutter's Fort in 1846, A Community of Many Faces
Where: Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, 2701 L St., Sacramento
When: May 18. Fort hours: 10 to 5 p.m. (open daily). Cannon firing demonstrations: 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m. Musket demonstrations periodically throughout the day.
Cost: $7 per adult (18 and older), $5 per youth (ages 6-17), free for children 5 and under.
For more info: Call 916-445-4422 or visit website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Jesus Solis, 32, in hat, of Stockton, dressed as a charro (a Mexican cowboy) and Lizeth Valenzuela, 17, of Stockton salute the Mexican flag during the Mexican Flag Day celebration at Sutter's Fort. 1998 Sacramento Bee photograph by Randy Pench

May 7, 2013
Special National Train Day events at Railtown and Rail Museum

CALIFORNIA RAILROAD MUSEUM.JPGThis Saturday the 6th Annual National Train Day will be celebrated at over 200 cities around the country.

Locally, the State Railroad Museum will offer free admission, tours of contemporary Amtrak cars and other special activities including Interpretative Handcar rides and children's "Chuggington Station." As a special bonus nearby Sacramento History Museum will also offer free admission for this day only.

Over in Jamestown (Tuolumne County) Railtown 1897 will observe Train Day with excursion rides featuring the "movie star" steam locomotive Sierra No. 3 and Caboose No. 7. In addition visitors can enjoy tours of the historic Roundhouse and Shops and special displays of rarely-seen historic locomotives, equipment and vehicles, including the No. 28 & 2 locomotives and vintage track maintenance vehicles.

What: National Train Day
Where: California State Railroad Museum, 2nd and I Sts., Old Sacramento
When: May 11, 10 to 5 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: 916-445-6645 or website

What: National Train Day
Where: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, Jamestown
When: May 11, 11 to 3 p.m.
Cost: Park admission, $5 adults, $3 for youths ages 6-17, free for children 5  and under. Train rides: $15 adults, $8 youths ages 6-17, free for children 5 and under.
For more info: 209-984-3953 or website

News Release

PHOTO CREDIT: Southern Pacific No. 1 CP Huntington. Courtesy California State Railroad Museum

May 1, 2013
More adults-only evening tours of Underground Sacramento

Thumbnail image for SAC UNDERGROUND.JPGThis summer the Historic Old Sacramento Foundation is offering more "adults-only" evening tours of the "underground" city. Led by knowledgeable docents in period attire, these special 90-minute excursions explore "some of the dark secrets and racy tales lurking in Sacramento's past."

Underground tours of Old Sacramento honor the amazing 19th century street-raising effort that protected the town from floods and thus created the excavated foundations and enclosed pathways we have today. Guests should be ready to walk in spaces with uneven surfaces and low ceilings.

What: Underground Adult Evening Tours
Where: Sacramento History Museum, 101 I Street in Old Sacramento
When: Thursdays, 6 to 7:30 p.m.(advance online tickets available now).
Cost: $20 (only guests 21 and older will be admitted)
For more info: 916-808-7059 or website

PHOTO CREDIT: Benjamin Ismail as William "Mac" Gwin gives a tour of the B.F. Hastings building basement, a historically significant building in Old Sacramento. 2010 Sacramento Bee photograph by Michael Allen Jones


Read more here: http://blogs.sacbee.com/mt/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=72&search=underground+adult&keywords=underground+adult&aff=5#vmix_media_id=87095151#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://blogs.sacbee.com/mt/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=72&search=underground+adult&keywords=underground+adult&aff=5#storylink=cpy
April 29, 2013
A sports-themed cemetery tour

Historic City Cemetery flowers.JPGThe Historic City Cemetery's 2013 tour season continues with a session devoted to three sports: boxing, bicycling and baseball. Visitors will enjoy a Springtime amble through lush gardens while knowledgeable docents tell stories about pugilists, ball players and cyclists who competed and excelled during Sacramento's early years.

What: General History Tour
Where: Historic City Cemetery, 1000 Broadway, Sacramento
When: May 4, 10 a.m.
Cost: free, but donations appreciated that will go to cemetery preservation and restoration.
For more info: 916-264-7839 or 916-448-0811 or view website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Flower bed at the Historic City Cemetery in Sacramento. Courtesy Old City Cemetery Committee

April 22, 2013
General history tour at Historic City Cemetery

Thumbnail image for General History by Anita Lincoln.jpgThis Saturday's Historic City Cemetery tour honors important the movers and shakers who helped develop Sacramento in its earliest days. As usual, knowledgeable docents will share fascinating historical insights about the city as they lead visitors past interesting grave markers and beautiful landscaping.

What: General History Tour
Where: Historic City Cemetery, 1000 Broadway, Sacramento
When: April 27, 10 a.m.
Cost: free, but donations appreciated that will go to cemetery preservation and restoration.
For more info: 916-264-7839 or 916-448-0811 or view website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Crocker family monument in Sacramento's Historic City Cemetery. Photograph by Anita Lincoln

April 11, 2013
Vintage headwear on display during special tour

CSH hat.jpgWhat do Titanic-era hats, flapper cloches, 1960s pillbox hats, men's top hats, fedoras, old firefighter helmets and military headwear have in common? They'll all be on display at the Center for Sacramento History's Inside the Vault Textile Tour featuring 75 examples of vintage head covering dating from the 1860s to the 1970s.

CSH will offer three public tours over four days, each led by expert guides who will explain the historical significance of these rarely-seen artifacts.

On Sunday Dr. Susan Kaiser, Professor of Women and Gender Studies at UC Davis and author of Fashion and Cultural Studies, will give a multimedia presentation, "Fashioning Time and Place."

Space is limited at these tours, so advanced ticket purchase is recommended.

What: Inside the Vault Textile Tours: Hats & Headwear!
Where: Center for Sacramento History, 551 Sequoia Pacific Blvd., Sacramento
When: April 18-21. Public Tours - 11 a.m., 1 & 3 p.m. each day. Presentation by Dr. Kaiser followed by tour at 3 p.m. Sunday.
Cost: $15 for daily tours; $25 for special presentation and tour. Buy tickets.
For more info: 916-808-7072 or website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy Center for Sacramento History

April 9, 2013
Home tour shows off local Mid-Century Modern architecture
cdc_midcenmod_7.JPG

Mid-Century Modern homes are characterized by sleek, horizontal lines, open-floor plans, high ceilings, exposed beams and big windows. Many of these houses were built after WWII (1945-70) in Sacramento's Land Park and South Land Park neighborhoods. Although this style of architecture (as well as interior design and furniture) peaked in the 60s, it continues to fascinate many people today.

Sacramento Modern (SacMod) -- the nonprofit that exists to promote and preserve local MCM art, architecture and design -- conducts an annual home tour to acquaint visitors with the gems in the city. This year's tour features seven homes and 26 "points of interest," including interiors of some rarely-seen mid-century buildings. The event includes the Vintage Transportation Show at Executive Airport. Plus local designers, artists, businesses will be on hand at various spots on the tour.

Tickets are selling fast. You can purchase yours online.

What: 2013 Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour
Where: Tour begins at Sacramento Executive Airport
When: May 18, 10 a.m.
Cost: $20 SacMod members, $30 general admission. Advanced ticket sales end May 15.
For more info: buy tickets and website

PHOTO CREDIT: Molly Penberth in her Carter Sparks designed home that was shown in the 2010 Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour. Sacramento Bee photograph by Carl Costas

April 4, 2013
New cemetery tour explores "murders, mayhem and scuttlebutt" in early Sacramento

Old Cemetery bird.JPGThe next Historic City Cemetery tour uncovers the homicides and scandals that occurred in Sacramento in its early days. As usual knowledgeable docents will illustrate the topic with stories and reference to grave markers.

What: Murders, Mayhem and Scuttlebutt
Where: Historic City Cemetery, 1000 Broadway, Sacramento
When: April 6, 10 a.m.
Cost: free, but donations appreciated.
For more info: call 916-264-7839 or 916-448-0811

Event flyer

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy Old City Cemetery Committee

April 4, 2013
Old Sacramento train rides resume
CSRM Pasngr Train 1.jpg

Here's a different way to celebrate the return of warm weather: take a leisurely train ride behind a vintage steam or diesel locomotive. These 40-minute, six mile excursions along the Sacramento River start and end in Old Sacramento. Passengers can ride in open-air gondolas cars with bench seating or closed coaches with more comfortable seats.

This season is the 30th year the California State Railroad Museum has offered the rides. They're popular and regular train tickets may only be purchased in-person at the Sacramento Southern ticket office the same day starting at 10 a.m. (El Dorado car tickets may be purchased online in advance.)

What: Old Sacramento Weekend Excursion Train Rides
Where: Trains depart from the Central Pacific Railroad Freight Depot (Front St. between J and K Sts.).
When: Weekends April 6 through Sept. 2013. Rides depart hourly from 11 to 5 p.m.
Cost: $10 adults; $5 youths ages 6-17; free for children ages 5 and under. $15 for first class tickets aboard the first-class El Dorado car.
For more info: 916-445-6645 or website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Sacramento Southern excursion train ride along the Sacramento River. Courtesy California State Railroad Museum

April 2, 2013
Shop tours and resumption of train rides at Railtown 1897

Railtown Opening Day.jpgExcursion rides resume this Saturday at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown (Tuolumne County). Visitors will enjoy 45-minute, six-mile rides through the Sierra foothills pulled by vintage steam and diesel locomotives. The star of Railtown is Sierra No. 3, featured in numerous movies and television shows. Seating is limited so you're encouraged to arrive early to get tickets, which are sold on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 10 a.m.

Just on April 6 Railtown will open at 7 a.m. with a special program in the Roundhouse where you can watch skilled volunteers fire up Sierra No. 3's steam engine for the day. Opening day ceremonies will include the national anthem (sung by Vietnam veteran Jim Sutherland), a flag raising, followed by a grand entrance and ceremonial whistle blowing. Mark Twain (portrayed by Pat Kaunert) will be on hand to call out the first "All Aboard!" Throughout the weekend there will be live music on the excursion trains by the Dave Rainwater, Roundhouse tours and demonstrations at the belt-driven machine shop.

What: Weekend Steam-Powered Excursion Train Rides
Where: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, Jamestown
When: Weekends beginning April 6 through September. Train rides: 11 to 3 p.m. Park is open 9:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Cost: Free on April 6-7 for Calaveras, Mariposa and Tuolumne residents only (with proof of residency). General: $15 adults, $8 youths ages 6-17, free for children 5 and under.
For more info: 209-984-3953 or visit website

RT Shop Tours 2.jpgStarting this year Railtown will offer weekly tours of the train shops where visitors can observe closeup the specialized maintenance, repair and reconstruction of vintage locomotives and cars. These two-hour tours begin with a brief slide-show presentation explaining the current projects underway in the Roundhouse and Tri-Dam Shop.

What: Behind-the-Scenes Shop Tours
Where: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, Jamestown
When: Tuesdays beginning March 26, 10 to 12 p.m.
Cost: Included with park admission: $5 for adults, $3 for youths ages 6-17, children under five are free
For more info: 209-984-3953 or visit website

News releases

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy Railtown 1897 State Historic Park

March 28, 2013
Historic City Cemetery offers tour just for kids

Thumbnail image for LC CEMETERY RUBBINGS.JPGIt's a family affair at the Historic City Cemetery this Saturday at a tour designed just for children (grades fourth and up). Here's a fun opportunity to explore the cemetery's wildlife and to learn about Sacramento history through stories of Sacramento pioneers, trappers, railroad men, society women, heroes and villains told by knowledgeable guides.

What: Children's Tour
Where: Historic City Cemetery, 1000 Broadway, Sacramento
When: March 30, 10 a.m.
Cost: free, but donations appreciated
For more info: 916-264-7839, 916-448-0811 or website

Event flyer
News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Kirt Baker, a third-grader at Crocker Riverside Elementary School, rubs a design from a headstone in the City Cemetery onto a piece of paper. Baker and his classmates were culminating a social studies unit on the history of Sacramento. 1999 Sacramento Bee photograph by Laura Chun

March 18, 2013
Old Sacramento underground tour season begins

Underground Tour Wall with Onlookers.jpgFor the fourth consecutive year the secrets of subterranean Sacramento will be revealed when the Underground Tours resume this Saturday.

As before, docents in period garb will take visitors to excavated foundations and enclosed pathways and explain the amazing effort that produced California's only successful street-raising project.

Participants should be prepared to walk on uneven surfaces and under low ceilings. These tours are popular, so advanced ticket purchases are recommended.

What: Old Sacramento Underground Tours -- Season 4
Where: Sacramento History Museum, 101 I S. in Old Sacramento
When: March 23 thru Dec. 2013. Tours departing every half hour 10:30 to 3 p.m. weekends thru May. Check website for updated tour times June thru December.     
Cost: $15 for adults; $12 for HOSF members; $10 for children. Buy tickets online.
For more info: 916-808-7059 or website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: The "Sheriff" shows onlookers one of the subterranean walls during an Underground Sacramento tour. Courtesy Historic Old Sacramento Foundation

March 11, 2013
Pioneer women celebrated at Sutter's Fort
SF HOH Women Frontier.jpg

Sacramento's observance of Women's History Month continues at Sutter's Fort with a special "Hands on History" program dedicated to California's pioneer women. Visitors this Saturday will hear tales of the hardships and challenges these emigrants faced in the early days of the state. They also see demonstrations and hands on experience with dutch-oven cooking, covered wagon loading, water bucket carrying and rope making. Plus there will be the ever-popular cannon firings and black powder and musket demonstrations.

And special guest Cheryl Stapp will give speak on the important roles frontier women played in the development of California. Stapp is a local writer, historian and author of Disaster & Triumph: Sacramento Women, Gold Rush Through the Civil War and Sacramento Chronicles: A Golden Past. In the former book, she profiles six remarkable, but very different, 19th century women. After her presentations, Stapp will be available to answer questions and sign books.

What: Hands on History: Hard Working Women of the Frontier
Where: Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, 2701 L St., Sacramento
When: March 16, 10 to 5 p.m. Cannon firing demonstrations: 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. Stapp presentations: 11:30 a.m., 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. Musket demonstrations periodically throughout the day.
Cost: $7 adult (18 and older), $5 youth (ages 6-17), free children 5 years and under
For more info: 916-445-4422 or website

News Release

PHOTO CREDIT: Women on the Frontier reenactment. Courtesy Sutter's Fort State Historic Park

February 27, 2013
Pioneer women the focus of historic cemetery tour

Sac women.jpgThe next Historic Cemetery tour pays homage to California's pioneer women who held their migrant families together and helped settle the state amidst severe challenges. The played many roles in the early days of the city, including entrepreneurs, activists, reformers, politicians, teachers and medical pioneers.

As usual, knowledgeable cemetery docents will illustrate the topic with stories and references to grave markers.

What: "Pioneer Women: How the West was Really Won"
Where: Historic City Cemetery, 1000 Broadway, Sacramento
When: March 3, 10 a.m.
Cost: free, but donations appreciated that will help with cemetery preservation
For more info: call 916-264-7839 or 916-448-0811

Event flyer

IMAGE CREDIT: Advertisement from the 1861 Sacramento City Directory. Courtesy of the Center for Sacramento History

February 20, 2013
Black History Tour at the Old City Cemetery
cemetery civil war.JPG

As part of Black History Month in Sacramento, the city's African American pioneers will be honored at the next Historic Cemetery tour this Saturday. Knowledgeable docents from the Old City Cemetery Committee will explain the contributions of a several fascinating people, including runaway slaves, Buffalo Soldiers, restaurant owners, deacons and gamblers.

Established in 1849, the Sacramento Historic City Cemetery is the oldest existing cemetery in the region. It is the final resting place of many notable Californians including governors, mayors, Civil War veterans, volunteer fireman and countless early settlers.

What: Black History Tour
Where: Old City Cemetery, 1000 Broadway, Sacramento
When: Feb. 23, 10 a.m.
Cost: free, donations appreciated.
For more info: 916-264-7839, 916-448-0811 or website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Clad in vintage uniform, Graylan Carso takes part in the Civil War at the Historic City Cemetery. 2008 Sacramento Bee photograph by Carl Costas

February 15, 2013
Conservancy leads history walks at Deer Creek Hills

deer creek hills.JPGThe Sacramento Valley Conservancy offers monthly guided history tours of Deer Creek Hills, a nature preserve of rolling grasslands and oak woodland located eight miles south of Folsom, and the next featured outing is coming next Saturday, February 23:

"Both geology and the history of gold mining that took place at Deer Creek Hills will be shared along the trail. Evidence of many different types of mining; sluice box, hydrology and flume ditches will be highlighted as you hike the preserve.

Your guides for this outing will be SVC Lead Geology Docent Robert H. Sydnor, Engineering Geologist & Hydrogeologist and SVC Lead History Docent, David Scharlach will share their knowledge and passion to gold mining history at Deer Creek Hills."

The Conservancy operates the 4,062-acre Deer Creek Hills under a management agreement with Sacramento County. Visitors to the preserve can enjoy free self-led hikes on Saturday mornings and Sunday evenings or sign up for special activities including bird-watching, history walks and horseback riding.

What: Geology and Gold History walk
When: Saturday, February 23, 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Where: Deer Creek Hills
Cost: $10; limit 30 people
For more info: (916) 612-3719; http://www.sacramentovalleyconservancy.org/

PHOTO CREDIT: Hikers enjoy Deer Creek Hills. 2007 photograph by Randy Smith.

February 11, 2013
Emigrant journeys explored at next Sutter's Fort event

SF HOH Feb. 2011 029.jpgIn the early days of the state, emigrants to California came long distances overland or by ship around the tip of South America. Their adventures will be explored at Sutter's Fort next "Hands on History" program.

Docents in period costumes will explain the special challenges these travelers faced on their journeys. They'll also lead demonstrations in which visitors get to weave rope, learn simple knots, pack wagons, work a nautical compass, create maps and do other fun educational activities.

In addition, the 1840s fife and drum corps will visit the Fort dressed in full military gear, ready to demonstrate marching and perform at a flag-raising ceremony.

What: Hands on History: By Land and By Sea
Where: Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, 2701 L Street, Midtown, Sacramento
When: Feb. 16, 10 to 5 p.m. Cannon firing demonstrations: 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. Musket demonstrations periodically throughout the day
Cost: $7 per adult (18 and older), $5 per youth (ages 6-17), free for children 5 years and under.
For more info: 916-445-4422 or visit website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Mexican-American War fife and drum corps performs at Sutter's Fort. Courtesy Sutter's Fort State Historic Park

February 2, 2013
Dessert Tour benefits Sacramento Heritage
Sacramento Heritage logo.jpg

Here's a historic tour for people with a sweet tooth.

Next Saturday local historian William Burg will lead an architectural jaunt in Midtown Sacramento's diverse neighborhood. Architectural styles include Italianate, Queen Anne, Craftsman and revival, as well as Mid-Century Modern apartments. Along the way participants will can sample treats at four elegant dessert shops: Midtown Village Cafe, Rick's Dessert Diner, Trey B Cakes and Devine Gelateria.

Reserve a spot on the Dessert Tour at the Brown Paper Tickets website. Space is limited to 30 and the deadline is Feb. 7. Proceeds will benefit Sacramento Heritage, Inc., the local group dedicated to promoting and preserving the city's historic architecture.

What: Sacramento Heritage Dessert Tour
Where: starting at Midtown Village Cafe, 1827 I St., Sacramento
When: Feb. 9, 12 to 2 p.m.
Cost: $30
For more info: website

Event flyer
News release

January 24, 2013
Celebrate Gold Discovery Day in Coloma
MAJ MARSHALL STATE PARK.JPG

In a real sense, California was born 165 years ago today when John W. Marshall found gold in the tail race of the sawmill he was building for John Sutter in Coloma.

As Steve Wiegand wrote in The Bee's 1998 Gold Rush edition, that monumental discovery would attract some 90,000 fortune hunters to the state during the next two years. The prospectors (who numbered 300,000 by 1854) came from all parts of the world, many making the 15,000-mile sea voyage around the tip of South America or overland, 2,200 miles from Missouri or Iowa.

This vast influx of people propelled the territory into statehood in 1850. And it helped transform Sacramento into a major commercial, transportation and agricultural hub -- and eventually the state capital.

Every year, the history-minded folks in Coloma celebrate Gold Discovery Day with a day-long program of activities for the whole family, including the Sutter's Mill reenactment, carpentry demonstrations, tour of a Miwok Village, wagon rides, gold panning and Gold Rush period entertainment. Gold Rush writers will be on hand at the Museum Store to sign books, and guests can visit the Museum and Visitor Center which opens at 10 a.m.

What: Gold Discovery Day
Where: Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, Highway 49, Coloma
When: Jan 26, 10 to 3 p.m.
Cost: All activities are free. Parking is $7 per car.
For more info: call 530-295-2162, 530-622-3470 or see website

PHOTO CREDIT: Carol Timmerman, left, of Cool portrays a pioneer woman and Ed Allen of El Dorado portrays 1848 gold discoverer James W. Marshall at Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park. 2009 Sacramento Bee photograph by Michael Allen Jones


January 23, 2013
Railroad Museum honks the horn for volunteers

RR Volunteers.jpgYou don't have to be a history expert to become a volunteer at the State Railroad Museum, just a willingness to help educate the public on the essential role trains have played in the development of Sacramento and California.

The Museum and Old Sacramento State Historic Park (SHP) are now recruiting adults to join a new class of volunteers. Volunteers serve as docents and tour guides, help with steam train operations, track construction, restoration and maintenance, and perform clerical work. Training is free, but participants must commit to at least 84 hours of service during the year. (The schedule is flexible.) Perks include free parking while on duty, invitation to an annual Volunteer Recognition Banquet and complimentary Museum membership.

If interested, download a volunteer application or call 916-324-7593 or email the Museum's Volunteer Training Coordinator for more information.

What: Volunteer Applications Accepted Now
Where: California State Railroad Museum, Old Sacramento State Historic Park
When: Volunteer applications are due Feb. 4. Orientation and volunteer training begins on Feb. 11.
Cost: free
For more info: 916-324-7593 or visit website

News Release

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy of the California State Railroad Museum

January 14, 2013
Sutter's Fort puts the spotlight on trappers

Thumbnail image for trapper.JPGTrappers played an important role in the development of early California. Sutter's Fort pays tribute to these entrepreneurial pioneers at the first "Hands on History" event of the year.

In tours led by docents in period clothing, visitors this Saturday will learn how trappers lived, worked, traded and explored. You'll watch musket demonstrations and have the chance to examine fur pelts, write with a quill pen and oak gall ink and string trading beads.

What: Hands on History: Trappers, Trades, and Treaties
Where: Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, 2701 L Street, Midtown, Sacramento
When: Jan. 19, 10 to 5 p.m. Cannon firing demonstrations: 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m. Musket demonstrations periodically throughout the day.
Cost: $7 per adult (18 and older), $5 per youth (ages 6-17), free for children 5 years and under.
For more info: 916-445-4422 or visit website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: A Mexican Officer (Tom Hill) checks the passport of an American trapper (Jeff Volberg) at Sutter's Fort Living History Day. 2006 photograph by Eileen Hook

December 5, 2012
Sutter's Fort celebrates Christmas the old-fashioned way
Candlelighttour.jpg

"Hands on History," Sutter Fort's ongoing series of historical tours, celebrates the season with two programs this Saturday.

"A Simple Emigrant Christmas" features docents in period garb demonstrating various holiday traditions as practiced by California emigrants in the 1840s. Visitors will get to try out activities such as dipping candles, making corn husk dolls and crafting holiday ornaments.

Later as dusk falls, the docents will lead small groups by candlelight through the Fort's rooms where one can overhear pioneer families and tradesmen discussing the challenges of living, working and doing business during Sacramento's early years.

What: Hands on History: A Simple Emigrant Christmas & Candlelight Tours
Where: Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, 2701 L St., Sacramento
When: Dec. 8. A Simple Emigrant Christmas -- 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Candlelight Tours -- 6:30 to 9 p.m.
Cost: A Simple Emigrant Christmas -- $7 per adult, $5 per youth (ages 6-17), free for children 5 years and under. Candlelight Tours -- $17 per person
For more info: 916-445-4422 or website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Candlelight Tour. Courtesy Sutter's Fort State Historic Park

December 3, 2012
Christmas memories at the Governor's Mansion

GM Christmas Memories (1).jpgOn the first two Saturdays in December, the Governor's Mansion will welcome visitors of all ages to celebrate the holidays as the First Families did long ago. The mansion will be decked in recreated period decor. Entertainment will include costumed storytellers, a visit by Mr. and Mrs. Claus, and live music throughout the day.

What: Christmas Memories
Where: Governor's Mansion State Historic Park, 1526 H Street, Sacramento
When: Dec. 8 & 15, 10 to 4 p.m.
Cost: $6 for adults, $4 for youth (ages 6-17), children five and under are free
For more info: 916-323-5916 or website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Christmas Memories celebrated at the Governor's Mansion. Courtesy Governor's mansion State Historic Park

December 1, 2012
Holiday historic home tour in Folsom

Murer House.jpgThe Folsom Historical Society will host its first annual Holiday Historic Home Tour on Friday and Saturday, December 7 and 8, in old Folsom.  The walking tour will feature seven historical sites decorated for the holidays, including both historic homes and public buildings dating from 1855 to 1925. Public sites include the Murer House (1125 Joe Murer Ct.), St. John's Catholic Church (Sibley and Natoma St.), and the Folsom History Museum (827 Sutter St.). Holiday arts and crafts will be on display at the History Museum and Murer House, with hand-made gifts and decorations for sale. Tour goers are asked to wear comfortable walking shoes and leave their cameras at home. 

What: Holiday Historic Home Tour
When: Friday and Saturday, Dec. 7-8, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Where: Old Folsom, 905 Sutter Street, Folsom
Cost: $15
For more info: (916) 985-2707; http://www.folsomhistorymuseum.org

IMAGE CREDIT: The Murer House, 1125 Joe Murer Ct., Folsom. Image courtesy of The Murer House and Learning Center.

November 16, 2012
Santa rides by day and night at Railtown

RT christmas 2011 386.jpgRailtown 1897 State Historic Park, the home of famous old locomotives, will again offer day and night time holiday rides featuring special guest, Santa!

Guests will be treated to holiday music and song at the depot and on the train. Santa will arrive aboard Sierra No. 3 (the movie star steam locomotive) and then join passengers on a festively decorated excursion train pulled by a vintage diesel engine. Every child will have a chance to meet Santa and his elves.

These rides are popular, so advanced ticket purchases are highly recommended.

What: "Santa's Starlight Express" Train Rides
Where: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, Jamestown
When: Nov. 23 and 24, 5:30 and 7 p.m.
Cost: $24 for adults, $12 for youths ages 3-17, free for children two and under
For tickets and info: 209-984-3953 or go to website

What: "Santa By Daylight" Train Rides
Where: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, Jamestown
When: Nov. 23 to 25 and Dec. 15 and 16. Hourly 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cost: $13 for adults, $6 for youth ages 6-17, free for children five and under. Note: all train ride tickets include free Park admission.
For tickets and info: 209-984-3953 or go to website

News releases

PHOTO CREDIT: Santa Claus delights passengers on the Starlight Express. Courtesy Railtown 1897 State Historic Park

November 13, 2012
Donner Party doll returns to Sutter's Fort
SF Patty Reed Doll & Stand.jpg

This Thursday Sutter's Fort will unveil its new Orientation Gallery, permanent exhibit and movie theater to the public. The mission of the gallery and exhibit is to educate visitors to the important role the Fort played -- as central gathering spot for diverse cultural groups -- in the history of California.

The star of the exhibit is the Patty Reed Doll, which returns to public display after a 15 month restoration. The iconic toy accompanied 8-year-old Martha Jane "Patty" Reed as she and her family traveled overland to California in what became the infamous Donner Party. Reed survived the deadly winter of 1846-47 and lived to 1923. In 1946 her heirs donated Dolly to Sutter's Fort, the Donner Party's intended destination.

This Saturday at the next "Hands on History" event, visitors will have the opportunity hear stories about the Donner tragedy and view the Patty Reed doll and other Donner artifacts. In addition there will be hands-on demos of wagon packing, quill pen writing and rag or corn husk doll making.

What: "One Fort, Many Views" Orientation Gallery & Exhibit Opening
Where: Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, 2701 L St., Sacramento
When: Nov. 15 (note: once opened, the gallery and exhibit will be permanent at the Fort). Hours: 10 to 5 p.m.
Cost: Regular Fort admission: $5 per adult (18+), $3 per youth (ages 6-17), free for children 5 years and under. Note that on Special Interpretive Program Days (including Nov. 15 & 17) cost $7 per adult (18 and older), $5 per youth (ages 6-17).
For more info: 916-445-4422 or website

What: Hands on History -- There are Folks Trapped in the Mountains
Where: Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, 2701 L St., Sacramento
When: Nov. 17, 10 to 5 p.m. Cannon firing demonstrations: 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Musket demonstrations periodically throughout the day.
Cost: $7 per adult (18+), $5 per youth (ages 6-17), free for children 5 years and under.
For more info: 916-445-4422 or website

News releases

PHOTO CREDIT: Priceless doll belonging to Martha Jane "Patty" Reed who in 1846 migrated west with her family in what became known as the Donner Party. Courtesy Sutter's Fort State Historic Park

November 5, 2012
Historic Cemetery honors Civil War vets

Civil War cemetery.JPGThis Veteran's Day weekend the Historic City Cemetery remembers those Sacramentans who served in the Civil War. This tour focuses on the Union soldiers who migrated to California after the war ended. Their stories, courage and sacrifice will be told by knowledgeable docents in period attire.

Incidentally, this is the last cemetery tour of 2012.

What: Civil War Tour
Where: Historic City Cemetery, 1000 Broadway, Sacramento
When: Nov. 10, 10 a.m.
Cost: free, but donations appreciated
For more info: 916-264-7839, 916-448-0811 or website

Event flyer

PHOTO CREDIT: Clad in Civil War regalia, Graylan Carson takes part in the "Sacramento's Civil War Heroes" tour of the Historic City Cemetery. 2008 Sacramento Bee photograph by Carl Costas

November 1, 2012
More opportunities to tour Underground Sacramento

Thumbnail image for SAC UNDERGROUND.JPGTo those who've missed Old Sacramento's popular underground tours this season: fear not. The chance to see these important historic sites extends through mid-December.

The hour-long, docent-led excursions celebrate the 19th century street-raising effort that protected the old city from floods and produced the excavated foundations and enclosed pathways we have today.

Guests should be ready to walk in spaces with uneven surfaces and low ceilings. The tours are popular, so advanced ticket purchases are recommended.

What: Old Sacramento Underground Tours continue through mid-December
Where: Sacramento History Museum, 101 I Street in Old Sacramento
When: Thursdays and Fridays at 11 a.m., 12:30 and 2 p.m. November Saturdays and Sundays at 11 a.m., 12, 12:30, 1:30, 2 and 3 p.m. Extended schedule will also be offered Thanksgiving weekend, Nov. 23, 24 & 25 from 10:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. departing every half hour. Dec. 8-9 and 15-16 at 11 a.m., 12:30 and 2 p.m.
Cost: $15 for adults; $12 for HOSF members; $10 for children
For more info: 916-808-7059 or website

PHOTO CREDIT: Benjamin Ismail as William "Mac" Gwin gives a tour of the B.F. Hastings building basement, a historically significant building in Old Sacramento. 2010 Sacramento Bee photograph by Michael Allen Jones

October 24, 2012
The creepier side of the Governor's Mansion

Governor's Mansion.JPGHalloween continues to haunt Sacramento's museums and historic sites. This weekend dark decor and scary music will set the holiday mood at the Governor's Mansion during its "After Dark" tours.

Storytellers will share tales of past governors and fortune tellers will predict your fate. Costumed guides will lead guests through the creepier parts of the building -- including darkened rooms and "coffin corners."

Proceeds go to help support of the Governor's Mansion State Historic Park.

What: The Mansion After Dark
Where: Governor's Mansion State Historic Park, 1526 H Street in Sacramento
When: Oct. 26 & 27, 6 to 9 p.m.
Cost: $6 for adults, $4 for youth ages 6-17 and free for children 5 and under
For more info: 916-323-5916 or website

PHOTO CREDIT: California Governor's Mansion. 2012 Sacramento bee photograph by Hector Amezcua

October 24, 2012
Quilts exhibit tour and reception at Sac State

Four Eagles Quilt.JPGSac State's Department of Special Collections and University Archives will host an exhibit tour and reception for Piecing the Past Together: Nineteenth Century Quilts on Sunday, October 28. The exhibit showcases beautiful quilting pieces from the collection of Chris and Carol Gebel which are on display from September 7 through December 20.  Carol Gebel, a local collector and the University's former library services specialist, chose examples from her collection that illustrate the evolving history of the quilt.  Piecing the Past Together is part of a double exhibit on quilts at the University. The Artistry of the Traditional Quilt exhibit runs concurrently in the Library Gallery Annex.

What: Piecing the Past Together: Nineteenth Century Quilts exhibit tour and reception
When: Sunday, October 28, 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Where: The University Library, Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA), Sacramento State University, 6000 J Street
For more info: 916-278-6144

PHOTO CREDIT: "Four Eagles," ca. 1875, Pennsylvania. Photograph by Julie Thomas.

October 23, 2012
Do ghosts haunt Sutter's Fort?

SF Haunted Fort Doctor.jpgSutter's Fort gets in the Halloween spirit next weekend with evening programs designed to reveal the eerier side of Sacramento's oldest structure.

Docents in period costumes will lead visitors on 45-minute walking tours of various darkened rooms (which some believe are still haunted by past inhabitants). They'll also tell stories of how some early pioneers perished in creepy and melancholy ways.

What: 3rd Annual Haunted Fort
Where: Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, 2701 L Street, Midtown, Sacramento
When: Oct. 26 & 27, 6:30 to 9 p.m.
Cost: $8 per adult, $6 for youth ages 6-17 and free for children 5 years and under
For more info: 916-323-7626 or website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy Sutter's Fort State Historic Park

October 19, 2012
Library's haunted history tour returns

Haunted Stacks.jpgHaunted Stacks, the Central Library's annual spooky movie screening and haunted library tour, will be returning for its third year on Friday, October 26.  The library will screen a classic scary flick in the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria from 7-9 p.m., and take participants on "haunted" tours of the Sacramento Room in the old Carnegie library while the film is playing.  Decorations and undead characters will transport tour-goers back to 1900.  Among the ghosts haunting the old library will be the first Sacramento City Librarian, Caroline G. Hancock, and Adelbert B. C. Devendorf, a Civil War veteran who was a victim of accidental poisoning by strychnine, taken legitimately for chills.  The program will contain some thrills and chills and is recommended for ages 10 and up.

What: Haunted Stacks
When: Friday, October 26, 7-9 p.m.
Where: Central Library, 828 I Street, Sacramento
Cost: Free; No advance registration is required, but tour space is limited - guests are encouraged to arrive by 7 p.m. to sign up.
For more info: www.saclibrary.org; (916) 264-2920

October 11, 2012
Historic City Cemetery offers tour just for kids

LC CEMETERY RUBBINGS.JPGIt's a family affair at the Historic City Cemetery this Saturday at a tour designed just for children. Here's a fun opportunity to explore the cemetery's wildlife and to learn about Sacramento history through mysteries, secrets and tall tales well told by knowledgeable guides.

What: Children's Tour
Where: Historic City Cemetery, 1000 Broadway, Sacramento
When: Oct. 13, 10 a.m.
Cost: free, but donations appreciated
For more info: 916-264-7839, 916-448-0811 or website

Event flyer
News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Kirt Baker, a third-grader at Crocker Riverside Elementary School, rubs a design from a headstone in the City Cemetery onto a piece of paper. Baker and his classmates were culminating a social studies unit on the history of Sacramento. 1999 Sacramento Bee photograph by Laura Chun

October 10, 2012
SacMod bike tour of mid-century homes and buildings

Design Ride.jpgSacMod (the Sacramento Mod-Century Modern Association) presents its third and last guided bike tour of the season this Sunday.

The tour begins at the Hot Italian restaurant, where riders will learn about the mid-century influence on that building's style. From there knowledgeable guides will lead the group past where Ray Eames grew up as a child, as well as several MCM stops on the way to South Land Park, including two MCM homes owned by SacMod co-founders (interiors shown only to those on the bike tour).

Riders are encouraged to dress in their favorite mid-20th century outfits.

What: SacMod Design Ride
Where: Tour starts at Hot Italian, 1627 16th St., Sacramento
When: Oct. 14, 12 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: website

October 9, 2012
Ghost tours haunt Old Sacramento again
Thumbnail image for OSghosts.jpg

Old Sacramento prepares for Halloween with the return of "Ghost Tours," These evening strolls led by knowledgeable docents will intrigue you with tales of California's spooky history going back to the 1800s. Learn about the city's infamous places and hear stories of ghosts, murder and mayhem.

Tours last about an hour and are not recommended for kids under six. Advanced ticket sales are recommended.

What: Living History Ghost Tours in Old Sacramento
Where: Sacramento History Museum
When: Oct. 12, 13, 19, 20, 26 and 27. Tours begin at 6:30, 7:00, 7:30, 8:00, 8:30, and 9:00 p.m.
Cost: $15 for adults, $10 for youth ages 6-17.
For more info: 916-808-7059 or visit www.historicoldsac.org

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy Historic Old Sacramento Foundation

October 9, 2012
Spookomotive haunts the rails again
Spookomotive402.JPG

What happens when you cross Halloween with a vintage train in Old Sacramento? You get "Spookomotive," the Sacramento Southern excursion train offering scary, but family-friendly, rides this month.

Spookmotive decorated with spiders, cobwebs and cornstalks, and operated by an entertaining "skeleton" crew, will take passengers on 40-minute rides down the Sacramento River. All tickets are sold on a first-come basis at the CP station on the day of the ride, except for rides on the first-class El Dorado car, which may be purchased online.

What: "Spookomotive" Train Rides
Where: Trains depart from the Central Pacific Passenger Station, Old Sacramento State Historic Park
When: October 13, 14, 20, 21, 27 & 28. Hourly 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cost: $10 for adults, $5 for youths ages 6-17 and free for children 5 and under
For more info:916-445-6645 or website

PHOTO CREDIT: "Spookomotive" operates under the command of a "skeleton crew" for three weekends in October. Courtesy California State Railroad Museum

October 3, 2012
October is Harvest Haunt month at Railtown

RailtownDepot28.JPGRailtown's "Harvest Haunt" excursion trains will be running every weekend this month. Sierra No. 3, the steam locomotive seen in countless movies and TV shows, will pull passenger cars on Saturdays. On Sundays, other steam or vintage diesel engines will take over.

In addition to the 40-minute rides in beautiful Mother Lode country, visitors this Saturday will also enjoy live music, entertainment, caboose tours, track cars and a look at the belt driven machine shop.

What: Harvest Haunt Express Train Rides
Where: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, Jamestown
When: October 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, 28. Hourly from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cost: Train rides -- $13 for adults, $6 for youths ages 6-17 (children under five are free)
For tickets and information: 209-984-3953 or website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Sierra Railway locomotive No. 28, a vintage 1920s engine, pulls the Railtown excursion train. Courtesy of the California State Railroad Museum

September 20, 2012
Cemetery tour honors the city's early educators

American River School.JPGThe next Historic City Cemetery tour examines the accomplishments of educators in early Sacramento who overcame hardships to teach children of pioneers. Come hear their personal stories told by the knowledgeable and engaging docents.

For a handy timeline and photos of vintage schools, browse on over to the History of Education in Sacramento County maintained by the Sacramento County Office of Education.

What: Educators Tour
Where: Historic City Cemetery, 1000 Broadway, Sacramento
When: Sept. 22, 10 a.m.
Cost: free, but donations welcome
For more info: (916) 264-7839 or website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: American River School, built near 39th and J Sts, opened in 1860. In 1908 it joined the Sacramento City Unified School District. Courtesy of Sacramento County Office of Education

September 13, 2012
Railroad museum and Old Sacramento seek volunteers

Thumbnail image for RP RAILROAD MUSEUM DOCENT.JPGThe California State Railroad Museum and Old Sacramento Historic State Park are looking for volunteers to help educate the public about the city's Gold Rush and rail heritage.

Volunteers contribute in many ways: as docents and museum tour guides, helping with clerical and restoration work, maintaining track and even operating excursion trains.

You don't have to have extensive knowledge of local history. Volunteers learn as they go. If you're interested, submit your application for fall training and interview by Sept. 19. Training begins Oct. 8 and requires a commitment of 84 volunteer hours annually (schedule is flexible).

What: Volunteer Applications Accepted Now
Where: California State Railroad Museum, Old Sacramento State Historic Park
When: Volunteer applications are due September 19. Orientation and volunteer training begins on October 8
Cost: free
For more info: 916-324-7593 or visit website

News Release

PHOTO CREDIT: California State Railroad Museum docent Jack Seigal talks about the completion of the transcontinental railroad during a tour. 2001 Sacramento Bee photograph by Randy Pench

September 12, 2012
Harvest time at Sutter's Fort

HA  SUTTERS FORT.JPGBefore gold was discovered at his mill in Coloma, Sacramento pioneer John Sutter aimed to create a farming empire in the Sacramento Valley. In 1848 he amassed thousands of sheep, cows, horses and mules and grew wheat, grapes and melons -- much of it lost when the hordes of gold seekers flooded into the region.

The next Hands on History program honors the state's agricultural past with docent demonstrations of corn shucking, threshing, winnowing and grinding wheat, as well as goat milking, spinning, wool weaving and property branding.

What: Hands on History - Harvest Time: The Real Gold in California
Where: Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, 2701 L St., Sacramento
When: Sept. 15. Fort hours: 10 to 5 p.m. Cannon firing demonstrations:  11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. Musket demonstrations periodically throughout the day
Cost: $7 per adult (18 and older), $5 per youth (ages 6-17), free for children 5 years and under
For more info: call 916-445-4422 or website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Aerial of Sutter's Fort taken from the Goodyear blimp Spirit of America. 2003 Sacramento Bee photograph by Hector Amezcua

September 11, 2012
Home tour celebrates the Poverty Ridge Neighborhood

Joan Didion House.JPGSince 1975 the Sacramento Old City Association has offered docent tours of historic buildings in the Midtown and Downtown areas. This year's event honors the Poverty Ridge Neighborhood with an inside look at seven homes that includes the McClatchy House (now site of the Ella K. McClatchy Library) and the Roan-Didion House (former childhood home of author Joan Didion).

Accompanying the Home Tour is a street fair featuring local building contractors and artisans, artists, crafters, and advocacy and history groups. Live music will be performed by the Freebadge Serenaders, Autumn Sky and Garage Jazz Architects.

What: 37th Annual SOCA Home Tour and Street Fair
Where: 22nd St. between U and V Sts.
When: Sept. 16, 10 to 4 p.m.
Cost: Fair is free. Tour tickets are $25 day of event; $20 advance purchase. Buy tickets online.
For more info:  (916) 202-4815 or Sacramento Old City Association

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: The Roan-Didion House at 2000 22nd St. Photograph by Lisa Ouellette
September 10, 2012
HOSF holds fundraising river cruise

Empress_Above_4c.jpg"Rollin' on the River" is this year's Historic Old Sacramento Foundation fundraiser honoring both restauranteur Lina Fat and the 100-year-old I St. Bridge.

The evening cruise aboard the Empress Hornblower features an elegant dinner, 19th century gambling, a champagne toast for the I Street Bridge and a silent auction. Proceeds will go to support ongoing programs provided by the Foundation.

Advanced tickets are available for purchase online, at the Sacramento History Museum, 101 I Street or by calling 916-808-7059.

What: Rollin' on the River! Honoring Lina Fat and a 100th Birthday Salute to the I Street Bridge!
Where: Aboard the Empress Hornblower. Old Sacramento waterfront, 1206 Front St.
When: Sept.14, 5-6 p.m. -- VIP Reception at Sacramento History Museum. 6-8:30 p.m. -- Cruise down the Sacramento River. Note: this rescheduled event was originally set for June 14.
Cost: $75 for River Cruise only; $125 for VIP Reception & River Cruise
For more info: 916-808-7059 or website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Empress Hornblower. Courtesy Hornblower Cruises & Events

September 7, 2012
Rail musueum offers photography workshop

Trains & Tripods4.JPGWith the usual crowds it's normally difficult to photograph the amazing exhibits at the California State Railroad Museum. But amateur shooters will have a chance to snap the trains before the facility opens next Saturday.

It's all part of a weekend photography event, which includes an optional lighting class on Friday conducted by former Sacramento Bee photographer Dave Henry.

Space is limited to 50 participants and advance registration is required.

What: Trains & Tripods Photo Opportunity & Lighting Seminar
Where: California State Railroad Museum, 125 I St. in Old Sacramento
When: Sept. 14 and 15. Friday - 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. (Photography Seminar); Saturday - 7 to 9:30 a.m. (Shooting Workshop).
Cost: $35.00 per person Friday night seminar; $35.00 per person shooting workshop; $60.00 per person for both.
For more info: website or 916-445-7373

News release
Event flyer

PHOTO CREDIT: Photographers line up their shots at a previous Trains & Tripod weekend. Courtesy California State Railroad Museum

September 4, 2012
A stroll through Woodland's history

826 First St.JPGThere's an abundance of vintage homes and other sites in Woodland. And this Saturday the town will show off its historic heritage during its 24rd Annual Stroll through History.

Visitors will have the opportunity to examine the Victorians, Craftsman homes and other vintage buildings during several guided open house, bus, bicycle and walking tours. Maps will be available for self-guided tours in the historic downtown district.

In addition to the home tours, several Landmark Buildings -- churches, lodges, offices, train stations and the Carnegie library -- will be open to the public for docent-led interior tours.

What: 24th Annual Woodland Stroll Through History
Where: Open Homes Tour and Bus Tour tickets and walking, bike and bus tour information can be found at the Stroll Heritage Plaza Information Booth at 2nd & Main Sts.
When: Sept. 8. Set your own schedule from 11 to 4 p.m.
Cost: Advance tickets, $25. Day of stroll, $30.
For more info: website

Event schedule

PHOTO CREDIT: This bungalow with Craftsman influences is one of nine homes featured in the 2003 Woodland Stroll Through History. Courtesy Stroll Through History, Inc.

August 28, 2012
Labor honored in next Historic City Cemetery tour
Thumbnail image for DS CEMETERY WORKING.JPG

At the next Historic City Cemetery tour docents will describe Sacramento's contributions to the struggle for labor rights, including workman's compensation, the 8-hour workday and safe work conditions. Visitors will hear stories of "bosses, brewers, bakers, politicians, painters, pressmen, carpenters, wobblies, and an entire army of the unemployed" who lived and fought during the town's early years.

What: Early Labor History of Sacramento
Where: Historic City Cemetery, 1000 Broadway, Sacramento
When: Sept. 1, 10 a.m.
Cost: free, but donations are appreciated for restoration and preservation of cemetery artifacts
For more info: 916-264-7839 or 916-448-0811

News release
Event flyer

PHOTO CREDIT: Bob and Marvel Irvine are volunteers who devote many hours a week to restoring and improving gravesites within the Historic City Cemetery. 1999 Sacramento Bee photograph by Dick Schmidt

August 27, 2012
Extended train ride schedules this Labor Day weekend

OBSTEAMME.JPGDuring this holiday weekend train fans will have even more opportunity to ride behind vintage locomotives at Railtown 1897 and Old Sacramento.

In Jamestown Sierra No. 3, the famous "movie star" steam locomotive will carry passengers for the usual 40-minute excursion through Gold Country Hills on Saturday and Sunday. On Monday Railtown's diesel electric engines will take over the rides. Once back at the Roundhouse visitors can get a tour of the facility, enjoy a picnic lunch and listen to old-timey fiddle music by Dave Rainwater. You can buy train tickets in advance online or on site on a first come-first served basis the day of the ride.

In Old Sacramento a ride on the Sacramento Southern will be a great addition to a visit to Gold Rush Days. These excursions take passengers on a 40-minute tour across the scenic Sacramento River levees. You can choose to ride in the open-air gondola or the posh El Dorado air-conditioned observation car. Purchase tickets in advance  or in-person the same day at the Sacramento Southern ticket office on Front St.

What: Steam-Powered Excursion Train Rides - Expanded Schedule Over Labor Day Weekend!
Where: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, Jamestown
When: Sept. 1-3. Departing hourly from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cost: $13 adults, $6 youths ages 6-17, free for children 5 and under.
For more info: 209-984-3953 or visit website

What: Weekend Excursion Train Rides - Expanded Schedule During Gold Rush Days!
Where: Trains depart from the Central Pacific Railroad Freight Depot (on Front Street between J and K Street) in Old Sacramento State Historic Park.
When: Sept. 1-3. Departing hourly from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: $10 adults; $5 youths ages 6-17; free for children ages 5 and under ($15 for first class tickets aboard the El Dorado). Normal Railroad Museum admission fees apply during Gold Rush Days $9 adults, $4 youths ages 6-17, free for children ages 5 and under.
For more info: 916-445-6645 or website

News releases

PHOTO CREDIT: Special Father's Day train behind two historic locomotives pulls into Old Sacramento. 1994 Sacramento Bee photograph by Owen Brewer

August 14, 2012
Enjoy beer and a train ride in Old Sacramento

RR Ales on Rails Track 7.jpgTrack 7 Brewing Company and the Sacramento Southern Railroad are teaming up for an adults-only "Ales on Rails" excursion train ride this Saturday.

Passengers on this 40-minute ride along the Sacramento River can choose to sit in closed vintage closed coaches with comfortable seats or open-air "gondolas" with bench seating. Cost of admission includes three signature beers (Alkali Wit, Bee Line Blonde and Daylight Amber), appetizers by Crisp Catering, the train ride and commemorative glass.

Purchase tickets in advance online.

What: "Ales on the Rails" Sunset Train Ride
Where: California State Railroad Museum, Old Sacramento State Historic Park. Train depart from the Central Pacific Railroad Freight Depot (on Front Street between J and K Streets).
When: Aug. 18. Evening excursion train departs at 7:30 p.m. Boarding at 7:15 p.m.
Cost: $40 per person for adults ages 21 and older (plus a $3 online service fee per ticket)
For more info: 916-445-5995 or website

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy California State Railroad Museum

August 13, 2012
How they had fun at Sutter's Fort
SF ELP 2.JPG

Life was hard for California's early pioneers. But when the work was done, there was time for a little recreation.

The next Sutter's Fort "Hands on History" program will give visitors a taste of 19th century fun and games. There will be games of skill, like barrel hoop races, the game of Graces, tug-o'-war, jump rope, marbles and parlor games. And there will be games of luck, like Three-card Monte, Shut the Box, and the Faro Game.

As usual knowledgeable docents in period attire will be on site for the demonstrations. Toys and games will also be on sale at the trade store.

What: Hands-on-History: Planting is Done and Harvest hasn't Started -- It's time for Fun on the Frontier
Where: Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, 2701 L Street, Midtown, Sacramento
When: Aug. 18, 10 to 5 p.m.
Cost: $7 per adult (18 and older), $5 per youth (ages 6-17), free for children 5 years and under.
For more info: Call (916) 445-4422or see website

PHOTO CREDIT: Children participate in the Sutter's Fort Environmental Living Program. Courtesy Sutter's Fort State Historic Park

August 2, 2012
Horsing Around at the Historic City Cemetery

Pony Express ad.JPGTours at the Historic City Cemetery refer to monuments and grave markers to tell stories and relate fascinating facts about early Sacramento and its early pioneers.

This Saturday's event honors, not people, but a noble animal friend: the horse. Horses played an important part in the development of the city and this tour celebrates the horse with tales of the Pony Express, Wells Fargo stagecoaches and saddle makers. As a special treat members of the Pony Express Association will greet visitors on horseback.

What: Horsing Around
Where: Historic City Cemetery, 1000 Broadway, Sacramento
When: Aug. 4, 10 a.m.
Cost: free but donations for restoration/preservation of cemetery artifacts are appreciated.
For more info: 916-264-7839, 916-448-0811 or website

Event flyer

PHOTO CREDIT: An advertisement in the Sacramento Daily Bee promoting the Pony Express mail service (circa 1860). Click image for a bigger view.

July 24, 2012
Another chance to see "Rob on the Road's" visit to the State Library

In case you missed last night's Rob on the Road segment featuring a tour of the State Library's special collections vault, you can still watch it courtesy of KVIE. Click on the image below and visit the show's web site.

Watch Treasures of the California State Library on PBS. See more from Rob on the Road.

July 18, 2012
Sutter's Fort before the Gold Rush

Folklorico Aztlan de Sacramento.JPGEven before the Gold Rush Sutter's Fort was a lively community with a diverse populace. The next "Hands on History" day makes that pre-1848 era come alive with reenactments, demonstrations and performance.

Saturday the Fort and the Indian Museum will partner to give visitors the opportunity to experience the games, crafts, clothing and food of various early peoples. They'll see demonstrations of period weapons, soapstone carving, basket-making and acorn preparation, and have a chance to try out bead stringing and doll making.

In addition, the cultural group Folklorico Aztlan de Sacramento will perform traditional Mexican dances.

What: Hands on History: They Came From All Over the World - Before the Gold Rush
Where: Sutter's Fort State Historic Park & State Indian Museum, 2701 L Street & 2618 K Street, Sacramento
When: July 21, 10 to 5 p.m. Fort cannon firing demonstrations: 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m. Fort musket demonstrations periodically throughout the day
Cost: Combo ticket prices - $7 for adults and $5 for youths ages 6-17
(children 5 and under are free).
For more info: 916-445-4422 or visit Sutter's Fort website or 916-324-0971 or visit State Indian Museum website

News Release

PHOTO CREDIT: Folklorico Aztlan de Sacramento. Courtesy of Fairytale Town

July 17, 2012
An evening at the Governor's Mansion

GMANSION0193.JPGWith the generosity of Raley's customers, the Governor's Mansion will continue to be open to the public. You can help insure its continued operation by attending a special evening fundraiser sponsored by the Sacramento Old City Association in support of the California State Historic Governor's Mansion Foundation.

Guests at the event will be treated to edibles by Plates Catering, entertainment by the Doug Pauly Trio and a tours led by knowledgeable docent (including a peek at the third floor restoration). Historian Paul Ivazes will also speak on "How Gas Lighting Changed America."

The Governor's Mansion was originally built as a private residence for the Albert Gallatin family in 1877. Take a virtual tour of the building and its furnishings here.

What: An Evening with the Governors
Where: Governor's Mansion State Historic Park, 1526 H St., Sacramento
When: July 28, 6 to 9 p.m.
Cost: $80 (includes food, beverages, music and tour). Buy tickets online.
For more info: website

Event flyer

PHOTO CREDIT: Dining Room in the Governor's Mansion. 2012 Sacramento Bee photograph by Hector Amezcua

July 16, 2012
"Rob on the Road" show featuring State Library treasures rescheduled

The KVIE "Rob on the Road" program originally scheduled for 7:30PM on  July 16, reported in this blog on July 13, has been rescheduled for Monday, July 23, also at 7:30. Special Collections Librarian Emeritus Gary Kurutz will take everyone to the deepest recesses of the California State Library's fabled vault, and will showcase rare books, photos, and manuscripts.

After airing on KVIE this episode will be available for national distribution by the National Educational Telecommunications Association.

PS: If you miss the program, you can stream it online here.

July 13, 2012
Rare State Library items subject of TV program

Kurutz.JPGOver at the California State Library, the most valuable artifacts are housed in "The Vault," a climate-controlled room containing the rarest books, photos, manuscripts and other documents. The public seldom gets to see these treasures, but KVIE viewers will have an opportunity when the Rob on the Road program showcases the facility's special collections on July 16 at 7:30 p.m.

Rob Stewart and his crew spent two days at the State Library recording with Emeritus Special Collections Librarian Gary Kurutz, who explained the historical significance of such holdings as James Marshall's hand-drawn gold discovery map and John James Audubon's life-size color engravings of The Birds of America.

Produced weekly by KVIE, Rob on the Road explores Northern California people and places and their inspiring stories. You can view full episodes on the program's web site.

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Gary Kurutz, Special Collections Librarian at the State Library, removes an item from a shelf inside a temperature-controlled vault in the new library building. 2001 Sacramento Bee photograph by Randy Pench

July 6, 2012
Close Calls and calamities considered at Historic City Cemetery

LCCEMETERYMONUMENTR.JPGEarly California pioneers braved all types of disasters: fire, flood, shipwrecks, starvation, etc. The next docent-led tour in the Historic City Cemetery will relate stories of hardships, escapes and tragedies involving those buried there.

What: Close Calls and Calamities Tour
Where: Historic City Cemetery, 1000 Broadway, Sacramento
When: July 7, 10 to 11:30 a.m.
Cost: free, but donations much appreciated.
For more info: 916-264-7839 or website

PHOTO CREDIT: Monuments crafted of granite and marble are found throughout the Historic City Cemetery. 1998 Sacramento Bee photograph by Laura Chun

July 5, 2012
Ride the rails with Mark Twain

CSRRM Twain.jpgIt's going to be a very special ride on the Sacramento Southern excursion train this Saturday evening when Mark Twain will be on hand to reminisce about his railroad experiences in the Golden State. He'll share stories at the Eagle Theater first, and then it's "All Abroad" with the author on the six mile jaunt along the Sacramento River pulled by a vintage locomotive.

Twain (aka local actor Paul Kaunert) will be accompanied by fiddler Dave Rainwater who'll entertain passengers with old-time folk music.

This is a one-time-only event, so advance ticket purchases (which include both the train ride and the Eagle performance) are highly recommended.

What: "Riding the Rails with Mark Twain"
Where: California State Railroad Museum, Old Sacramento. Train departs from the Central Pacific Railroad Freight Depot, Front St. between J and K Sts.
When: July 7. 6:30 p.m. performance inside the Eagle Theatre. 7:30 p.m. excursion train departs
Cost: $24 adults; $12 youths ages 6-17; free for children ages 5 and under
For more info: 916-445-5995 or website

News Release

PHOTO CREDIT: Mother Lode fiddler Dave Rainwater and Mark Twain actor Pat Kaunert at the State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento. Courtesy California State Railroad Museum

June 28, 2012
Ride the train and help Railtown stay open

Sierra No 3.JPGRailtown 1897 SHP will offer train excursion rides this Independence Day holiday. Passengers can enjoy the famed Caboose No. 7 pulled by Sierra No. 3, the "Movie Star Locomotive" through beautiful Gold Country hills. In addition, the band Sequoia will perform old-time music on the Fourth.

Tickets for these 40-minute, six-mile jaunts are available for advance purchase online, or at the Park starting 10 a.m. on the day of the ride.

Railtown was one of the 70 state parks slated for closure last year. To help it stay open, the Sonora Area Foundation and Irving J. Symons Foundation and have donated a $75,000 matching grant. The deadline for raising matching funds is July 31. You can help with the effort by making a contribution online or in person at the Park.

What: Train Rides Behind Sierra No. 3 during 4th of July Holiday!
Where: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, Jamestown
When: June 30, July 1 and 4. Trains depart hourly from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cost: $13 adults, $6 youths ages 6-17, free for children 5 and under
For more info: 209-984-3953 or visit website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Sierra No. 3, the steam locomotive at Railtown in Jamestown (Tuolumne County). Courtesy Railtown 1897 SHP

June 19, 2012
More adults-only evening tours of Underground Sacramento
Underground Pit.JPG

Due to popular demand Historic Old Sacramento Foundation is offering additional "adults-only" evening tours of the "underground" city. Led by knowledgeable docents in period attire, these special 90-minute excursions explore "some of the dark secrets and racy tales lurking in Sacramento's" past.

Underground tours of Old Sacramento honor the amazing 19th century street-raising effort that protected the town from floods and thus created the excavated foundations and enclosed pathways we have today. Guests should be ready to walk in spaces with uneven surfaces and low ceilings.

What: Underground Adult Evening Tours!
Where: Sacramento History Museum, 101 I Street in Old Sacramento
When: Thursdays, 6 to 7:30 p.m., June 21, July 12 & 26, Aug. 9 & 23, Sept. 6 & 20 (advance online tickets available now).
Cost: $20 (only guests 21 and older will be admitted)
For more info: 916-808-7059

PHOTO CREDIT: Underground space in Old Sacramento. Courtesy Historic Old Sacramento Foundation

June 15, 2012
General history tour at Historic City Cemetery

General History by Anita Lincoln.jpgThis Saturday's Historic City Cemetery tour honors important movers and shakers who helped develop Sacramento in its earliest days. As usual, knowledgeable docents will share fascinating historical insights about the city as they lead visitors past interesting grave markers and beautiful landscaping.

What: General History Tour
Where: Historic City Cemetery, 1000 Broadway, Sacramento
When: June 16, 10 a.m.
Cost: free, but donations appreciated that will go to cemetery preservation and restoration.
For more info: 916-264-7839 or 916-448-0811 or view website

Event flyer
News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Crocker family monument in Sacramento's Historic City Cemetery. Photograph by Anita Lincoln

June 14, 2012
Father's Day offerings at the rail museums

SP Diesel 6051.jpgTake Dad for a train ride this Father's Day. Both the State Railroad Museum and its sister attraction, Railtown 1897 in Jamestown, will be offering excursions pulled by vintage steam and diesel locomotives.

Railtown's famous "Movie Star Locomotive" Sierra No. 3 and Caboose No. 7 will take guests for the six-mile, 40-minute excursion through the beautiful Gold Country foothills. And to celebrate the holiday dads (and granddads) will receive commemorative Belgium chocolate bars, while the kids get balloons.

In Old Sacramento the usual excursion trains will be running every hour taking passengers for a scenic 40-minute jaunt along the Sacramento River. Buy tickets online or first come, first served on the day of the ride. A special treat this Sunday is the display of seven rarely-seen vintage diesel locomotives -- two inside the museum, five outside the building.

What: "Diesels & Dads" on Father's Day!
Where: California State Railroad Museum, Old Sacramento State Historic Park. Special diesels on display inside and outside the Museum. Excursion trains depart from the Central Pacific Railroad Freight Depot (on Front St. between J and K Sts.).
When: June 17, 2012. Museum hours 10 to 5 p.m. Special diesels on display from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Weekend excursion train rides depart hourly from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: Museum admission: $9 adults; $4 youths ages 6-17; free for children ages 5 and under. Excursion train rides: $10 adults; $5 youths ages 6-17; free for children ages 5 and under ($15 for first class tickets aboard the El Dorado).
For more info: 916-445-6645 or website

What: Steam-Powered Excursion Train Rides on Father's Day!
Where: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, Jamestown
When: June 17, 2012. Excursion trains depart hourly from 11 to 3 p.m.
Cost: $13 adults, $6 youths ages 6-17, free for children 5 and under (includes Park admission).
For more info: 209-984-3953 or visit website

News releases

PHOTO CREDIT: Southern Pacific Diesel 6051 locomotive. Courtesy California State Road Museum

June 13, 2012
Sutter's Fort evokes time before statehood

FLAG AT SUTTERS FORT.JPGBefore California became a state in 1850, three national forces -- Mexican, American and independent -- struggled for control over the territory. Sutter Fort's "Hands on History" series continues with a program describing the tension and uncertainty of that period.

Visitors will witness cannon firings and musket demonstrations, listen to mock public debates and examine period weapons. Younger folks will get to re-create colorful period flags of their own.

What: Hands on History: Three Flags, One Fort
Where: Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, 2701 L St., Sacramento
When: June 16. Fort hours: 10 to 5 p.m. Cannon firing demonstrations: 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m. Musket demonstrations periodically throughout the day
Cost: $7 per adult (18 and older), $5 per youth (ages 6-17), free for children 5 years and under.
For more info: 916-445-4422 or visit website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Early on the morning of July 11, 1846. The flag was sent from Sonoma by Lieutenant Joseph Warren Revere, USN, carried by courier William Scott, sent by order of Commodore John Drake Sloat, USN, commanding the Pacific Squadron. The flag was raised by Captain John A. Sutter. This picture is from a book on Sloat's life. Reproduced from the original in the Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery.

June 8, 2012
Old Sacramento walking tours resume

OLD SAC TOUR 01.JPGSummertime "above ground" walking tours resume in Old Sacramento this weekend.

Sacramento City: California's Gold Rush Legacy Tour, conducted by docents in period attire, introduces guests to 1850s Sacramento using original and reconstructed Gold Rush-era buildings as a backdrop.

Architectural Tour: From Canvas to Brick refers to various building styles to explain the evolution of Sacramento from tent city to established state capital.

Both events last about an hour. You can purchase advance tickets online, by telephone (916-808-7059) or in person at the Sacramento History Museum.

What: "Above Ground" Walking Tours in Old Sacramento
Where: Sacramento History Museum, 101 I St.
When: Saturdays and Sundays thru August starting June 9. Gold Rush Legacy Tour, 11 a.m. Sacramento Architectural Tour, 1 p.m.
Cost: $5 per person. Free for children 5 and younger.
For more info: 916-808-7059 or website

PHOTO CREDIT: Gregory Tracy leads a tour in Old Sacramento portraying D. B. Fry, a justice of the peace and militia Captain in the 1850s. 2005 Sacramento Bee photograph by Renee C. Byer

June 7, 2012
HOSF holds fundraising river cruise

Empress_Above_4c.jpg"Rollin' on the River" is this year's The Historic Old Sacramento Foundation fundraiser honoring both restauranteur Lina Fat and the 100-year-old I St. Bridge.

The evening cruise aboard the Empress Hornblower features an elegant dinner, 19th century gambling, a champagne toast for the I Street Bridge and a silent auction. Proceeds will go to support ongoing programs provided by the Foundation.

Advanced tickets are available for purchase online, at the Sacramento History Museum, 101 I Street or by calling 916-808-7059.

What: Rollin' on the River! Honoring Lina Fat and a 100th Birthday Salute to the I Street Bridge!
Where: Aboard the Empress Hornblower. Old Sacramento waterfront, 1206 Front St.
When: June 14. 5-6 p.m. -- VIP Reception at Sacramento History Museum. 6-8:30 p.m. -- Cruise down the Sacramento River
Cost: $75 for River Cruise only; $125 for VIP Reception & River Cruise
For more info: 916-808-7059 or website

News Release

PHOTO CREDIT: Empress Hornblower. Courtesy Hornblower Cruises & Events

June 6, 2012
More opportunities to tour Underground Sacramento

SAC UNDERGROUND.JPGWith the return of long days and warm weather, the Historic Old Sacramento Foundation has extended its schedule of tours into the cool regions of Underground Sacramento.

These hour-long, docent-led excursions celebrate the 19th century street-raising effort that protected the old city from floods and produced the excavated foundations and enclosed pathways we have today.

Guests should be ready to walk in spaces with uneven surfaces and low ceilings. The tours are popular, so advanced ticket purchases are recommended.

What: Old Sacramento Underground Tours - Expanded Summer Schedule
Where: Sacramento History Museum, 101 I Street in Old Sacramento
When: Continuing thru November. June 1 - 17 -- tours offered Thursdays through Sundays, departing every half hour 10:30 to 3 p.m. June 18 - Sept. 3 -- tours offered seven days a week, departing at 11, 12:30 and 2 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays and every half hour from 10:30 to 3 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. Expanded tour schedule available over Labor Day weekend.
Cost: $15 for adults; $12 for HOSF members; $10 for children
For more info: 916-808-7059 or website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Benjamin Ismail as William "Mac" Gwin gives a tour of the B.F. Hastings building basement, a historically significant building in Old Sacramento. 2010 Sacramento Bee photograph by Michael Allen Jones

June 4, 2012
Gold Rush Day at Angel's Camp

Teaching Prospecting 1.jpgAngel's Camp (home of that celebrated jumping frog) holds its annual Gold Rush Day this Saturday.

Docents in period garb will be on hand to demonstrate mid-19th century gold prospecting, fashions, food, children's games and military weapons. In addition, visitors will see gold panning, a frog jump competition and a stamp mill operation.

This is one day of the year admission to the Angel's Camp Museum is free.

What: Gold Rush Day
Where: Angel's Camp Museum, 753 S. Main St. on Hwy 49, Angels Camp
When: June 9, 9 to 5 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: (209) 736-2963 or website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Living historians demonstrate gold prospecting during the 2011 Gold Rush Day at Angel's Camp. Courtesy Angel's Camp Museum

June 1, 2012
Stonecutters celebrated and lost markers dedicated at Historic Cemetery

gravemarker.JPGSacramento's early gravemarkers were works of art in marble and granite. Visitors at this Saturday's tour will see some of the most beautiful hand-carved stones in the Historic City Cemetery. Knowledgeable docents will explain the stories and symbols behind the artifacts.

Later on Saturday the City Cemetery will reunite "lost" gravemarkers that were separated from the graves of early Sacramentans who were originally buried in the defunct New Helvetia Cemetery. The dedication ceremony will feature monuments connected to the Reeves, Jurgens, Asch and Bonetti families.

Valley Community Newspapers recently published a story about the rediscovery of the Asch Family tombstone lost for some 50 years.

What: Stonecutters: Sacramento's First Artists / Lost and Found: New Helvetia Revisited
Where: Historic City Cemetery, 1000 Broadway, Sacramento
When: June 2. Stonecutters, 10 a.m. New Helvetia Dedication, 11:30 a.m.
Cost: free, but donations greatly appreciated to help with cemetery restoration
For more info: (916) 264-5621 or website

News release (New Helvetia)
News release (Stonecutters)

PHOTO CREDIT: Ersiglio Bonetti Monument. This gravemarker was brought into the Sacramento Historic City Cemetery approximately 20 years ago by a homeowner who found it in the yard of a home he had recently purchased. Courtesy Old City Cemetery Committee

May 24, 2012
See Sacramento modern masterpiece during SacMod home tour

See a mid-century modern gem during a special home tour, hosted by Sacramento Modern.

On June 2, the Roush residence - one of Sacramento's most original and unusual homes - will be open to the public. Built in 1954 in Arden Oaks, the house was designed by Terry Waters, who studied and worked with Frank Lloyd Wright, John Launter and Walter S. White.

Robert Roush, the home's original owner, founded Roush Bakery Products, best known for its Hillbilly bread.

Tickets for the home tour are $45 and must be ordered in advance. Deadline is May 31. To keep the tour from overwhelming the home, tickets will be assigned in time blocks from 1 to 5 p.m. To order, click on http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/244435

Half the proceeds will go towards an upcoming California Museum exhibit showcasing the work of Sacramento native Ray Eames, among the most influential modernists.

Led by local architects and designers, the SacMod home tour includes appetizers and beverages, music, a commemorative booklet, vintage displays and photographs of the home. A restored 1956 Nash Ambassador Custom will be parked in the carport.

For more on SacMod and the home tour, visit http://sacmcmhometour.blogspot.com/.

-- Debbie Arrington

May 22, 2012
Railtown 1897 to run train excursions on Memorial Day

Sierra 3 Bell Mooney Road.JPGIt's a big weekend coming up for Railtown 1897 State Historic Park. The vintage trains will run all three days, taking passengers on a 40-minute ride through California's Gold Country. The "Movie Star Locomotive" Sierra No. 3 will working Saturday. And on Sunday the Pullman car No. 2901 will be available for its first trip of the season.

All weekend the historic belt shop will be running and the famous Caboose No. 7 will be open for tours.

Train excursion tickets may be purchased online in advance or at the park starting 10 a.m. on the day of the ride (first come -- first served).

What: Excursion Train Rides Over Memorial Day Weekend
Where: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park
When: May 26 to 28. Excursion trains depart on-the-hour from 11 to 3 p.m
Cost: General train rides - $13 adults, $6 youths ages 6-17, free for children 5 and under. First-class train ride (Sunday only): $21 adults, $9 youths ages 6-17, free for children 5 and under.
For more info: 209-984-3953 or www.railtown1897.org

News Release

PHOTO CREDIT: Sierra No. 3, the "Movie Star" steam locomotive. Courtesy Railtown 1897 State Historic Park

May 17, 2012
Annual May Festival at Woodland's Gibson House

Gibson House 1982.jpgThe May Festival is the Yolo County Historical Museum's 34th annual day of tours, crafts, plants, food and entertainment at the historic Gibson House.

Visitors of all ages will enjoy gold panning, face painting, old fashioned washboard clothes washing, children's games, blacksmith demonstration and a model railroad display.

Entertainers include Folklorico de la Woodland, Tarlesson Family traditional African dance, Crawford Perkes Classic Rock Band and other local music groups.

The Museum will open for groups of ten at a time to view a new exhibit honoring those Chinese immigrants and workers who contributed to the development of early Yolo County and the state.

What: Annual May Festival
Where: Gibson House, 512 Gibson Rd., Woodland
When: May 20, 10 to 4 p.m.
Cost: free, but visitors are asked to donate a canned good for the Woodland Volunteer Food Closet.
For more info: (530) 666-1045 or email

News release
Event flyer

PHOTO CREDIT: The Gibson House during its renovation for use as Yolo County's museum. 1982 Sacramento Bee photograph by Leilani Hu

May 11, 2012
Sacramento Heritage walking tours and photos

ELKS BUILDING.JPGIn the spirit of May Preservation Month, check out Sacramento Heritage's list of self-guided walking tours of some of the best historic areas in the city. The annotated maps and brochures will help you plan your jaunts whenever you want to go.

Tours include architectural landmarks downtown, on J and K Streets, Oak Park, Curtis Park and Boulevard Park. Plus there are bungalow tours in Midtown and East Sacramento.

If you want to see many of these sites from the comfort of home, Sacramento Heritage has posted several photo collections on its Flickr page.

Sacramento Heritage, Inc. is a public/private partnership whose mission is to preserve and promote the city's historic architecture. The organization conducts surveys, sponsors workshops and provides grants and loans for preservation efforts.

PHOTO CREDIT: Elks Building, 11th and J Sts., part of the J and K Street Commercial Corridor Walking Tour. 2001 Sacramento Bee photograph by Jay Mather

May 10, 2012
Ride a vintage train on Mother's Day

GraniteRockl.JPGHere's a different kind of Mother's Day gift: a leisurely train ride behind a vintage locomotive. These 40-minute, six mile excursions along the Sacramento River start and end in Old Sacramento. Passengers can ride in open-air gondolas cars with bench seating or closed coaches with more comfortable seats. Moms who ride on Sunday receive a complimentary Decadent Double Fudge Dipped Cake Pop (while supplies last). Tickets may be purchased Sunday on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 10:30.

Saturday is National Train Day. In celebration excursion rides will be pulled by two streamlined diesel locomotives: Southern Pacific 6051 and Western Pacific 913.

What: Excursion Train Rides on Mother's Day!
Where: Trains depart from the Central Pacific Railroad Freight Depot, Front Street between J and K Streets in Old Sacramento
When: May 13. Departing hourly from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: $10 adults; $5 youths ages 6-17; free for children ages 5 and under. $15 for first class tickets aboard the El Dorado observation car.
For more info: 916-445-6645 or website

News Release

PHOTO CREDIT: Granite Rock No. 10 is one of the historic locomotives that pull excursion trains through Old Sacramento. Courtesy California State Railroad Museum

May 9, 2012
Sutter's Fort launches interactive youth program
SF ELP Program.jpg

"Scouts at the Fort" provides a special opportunity for young people to learn what life was like in the 1840s by getting "hands on" experience with some of the crafts and chores practiced by Sacramento pioneers. Through such activities as toy making, open fire cooking and period games, students expand their understanding of the history of the region and state.

Initially designed to help Girl Scouts earn skill badges, the program is now open to any group of children, age eight and up. Reservations must be made at least two weeks in advance. Call Friends of Sutter's Fort at 916-323-7626 to tailor a session for your particular youth group's needs and interests.

What: "Scouts at the Fort"
Where: Sutter's Fort Historic State Park, 2701 L St., Sacramento
When: 10 to 12:30 p.m. second Saturdays starting May 12
Cost: $15 per scout, which includes admission to the Fort and admission for one adult per scout.
For more info: 916-323-7626 or website

News Release

PHOTO CREDIT: Students learn carpentry skills in the Fort's Environmental Living Program. Courtesy Sutter's Fort State Historic Park

May 9, 2012
Art Deco tour of downtown Sacramento

fountain.JPGOn Saturday, May 12, the Sacramento Art Deco Society will be leading a walking tour of downtown Sacramento's Art Deco treasures. The tour will begin at the "Maidens" fountain in Cesar Chavez Park (10th & J Street) and end at the California Dept. of Food and Agriculture building on N Street.  Along the way, participants will view Art Deco buildings, sculptural reliefs, terrazzo floors and historical photographs. Those interested in taking the tour may RSVP by calling (916) 549-5419.

What: Downtown Deco Tour - Maidens, Olympians and Zigzag Buildings
When: 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Where: From Cesar Chavez Park (10th & J) to Calif. Dept. of Food and Agriculture (1220 N Street)
Cost: Free
For more info: (916) 549-5419

PHOTO CREDIT: A bicyclist peddles past a water fountain at Cesar Chavez Park. 2001 Sacramento Bee photograph by Jose M. Osorio

May 7, 2012
Celebrate National Train Day and Mother's Day at Railtown 1897

MAJ GEORGE SAPP.JPGIt's a double-header celebration at Railtown this weekend.

The Park will observe National Train Day with excursion rides aboard Caboose No. 7 that's pulled by steam locomotive Sierra No.3. Guests will also be treated to special one-day-only tours of the Roundhouse and Shops and will see the No. 28 and 34 locomotives, vintage track maintenance vehicles and the custom construction car built for the Hetch Hetchy Dam.

On Mother's Day, moms who take the Sierra No. 3 excursion ride will receive a complimentary commemorative Belgian chocolate bar. And children will get complimentary balloons. The 40-minute train ride will passengers through six miles of beautiful Gold Country hills and meadows which are still festooned with spring wildflowers. Families are encouraged to share a picnic lunch on the Roundhouse lawn.

Train tickets for both days may be purchased in advance or at the Park starting 10 a.m. on the day of the ride.

What: National Train Day!
Where: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, Jamestown
When: May 12
Cost: Park admission: $5 adults, $3 for youths ages 6-17, free for children 5 and under. Train rides: $13 adults, $6 youths ages 6-17, free for children 5 and under
For more info: 209-984-3953 or visit www.railtown1897.org or www.nationaltrainday.com

What: Steam-Powered Excursion Train Rides on Mother's Day!
Where: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, Jamestown
When: May 13. Trains depart hourly from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cost: $13 adults, $6 youths ages 6-17, free for children 5 and under (includes Park admission)
For more info: 209-984-3953 or visit www.railtown1897.org

News Releases

PHOTO CREDIT: George Sapp, lead restoration worker at Railtown 1897 State Historical Park, stands before "movie star" locomotive Sierra No. 3. 2010 Sacramento Bee photograph by Michael Allen Jones

May 3, 2012
Tour Sacramento's neighborhoods during Jane's Walk

JANESWALK_09.JPGJane's Walk is an annual international event that fosters "free neighborhood walking tours that help put people in touch with their environment and with each other, by bridging social and geographic gaps and creating a space for cities to discover themselves."

This year Sacramento boasts six Jane's Walk tours this weekend. All tours are free and don't require an RSVP.

Saturday, May 5

10 to 12 p.m.
Old City Cemetery: Police, Fire & Legal Lore
Starting Point: Sacramento Old City Cemetery, Main Gate, 1000 Broadway

12 to 2 p.m.
Downtown: Circling the Capitol
Starting Point: Sutter Club, 1220 9th Street (9th and Capitol Mall)

3 to 5 p.m.
Midtown: Mixing Business with Pleasure
Starting Point: Old Soul at The Weatherstone, 812 21st Street

6 to 8 p.m.
Downtown Rock & Roll Tour
Starting Point: The Torch Club, 904 15th Street, Sacramento

Sunday, May 6

11 to 5 p.m.
Seersucker Ride/Jane's Roll
Starting Point: Marshall Park, 28th and J Street

2 to 4 p.m.
Winn Park
Starting Point: 2620 P Street

Local Jane's Walk is sponsored by Sacramento Old City Association, Old City Cemetery Committee, Sacramento Heritage Inc., Downtown Sacramento Partnership, Sacramento Tweed and Sacramento County Historical Society. See SOCA for more information on these tours.

PHOTO CREDIT: Luis Sumpter (center) provided history on the Van Voorhies Residence during a walking tour of Alkali Flat. The tour, organized by the Sacramento Old City Association, was part of the nationwide Jane's Walks to explore neighborhoods. 2011 Sacramento Bee photograph by Manny Crisostomo

May 2, 2012
Police, firefighters honored in cemetery tour

Police Fire May 5.jpgVolunteer docent Eric Bradner will lead the next Historic City Cemetery tour. The cemetery is the burial spot for many pioneering police officers, lawyers and firefighters whose work was critical in the development of Sacramento. Bradner will share stories of how these individuals saved lives, kept the peace and established the rule of law in the town's early days.

What: Police, Fire and Legal Lore
Where: Historic City Cemetery, 1000 Broadway, Sacramento
When: May 5, 10 a.m.
Cost: Tours are free. However, donations are appreciated and go for restoration and preservation of cemetery artifacts.
For more info: 916-264-7839 or 916-448-0811

News release
Event flyer

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy Old City Cemetery Committee

April 30, 2012
Rail museum hosts photography seminar and workshop

Trains & Tripods4.jpgWith the usual crowds it's normally difficult to photograph the amazing exhibits at the California State Railroad Museum. But amateur shooters will have a chance to snap the trains before the facility opens this Saturday.

It's all part of a weekend photography event, which includes an optional lighting class on Friday conducted by former Sacramento Bee photographer Dave Henry.

What: Trains & Tripods Photo Workshop & Lighting Seminar
Where: California State Railroad Museum, corner of 2nd and I Sts. in Old Sacramento
When: May 4 and 5. Friday Photography Seminar - 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday Shooting Workshop - 7 to 9:30 a.m.
Cost: $35.00 per person Friday night seminar, $35.00 per person Saturday shooting workshop or $60.00 for both. Space is limited to 50 participants and advance registration is required.
For more info: 916-445-7373 or website

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Photographers line up their shots at a previous Trains & Tripod weekend. Courtesy California State Railroad Museum

April 24, 2012
Adults-only Underground Sacramento tour

RB Bordello 1.JPGUPDATE (4/25/12): Tickets have sold out for this event, however another evening tour is scheduled for June 7 at 6 p.m. You can purchase advance tickets on the HOSF website.

The Old Sacramento Foundation observes 2012 Obscura Day (the International Celebration of Unusual Places) with an "adults-only" version of its popular Underground Tours. Led by period guide Miss Odessa, this 90-minute evening tour "explores some of the dark secrets and racy tales lurking in Sacramento's underground history."

Underground tours in Old Sacramento honor the amazing 19th century street-raising effort that protected the city from floods and produced the excavated foundations and enclosed pathways we have today. Guests should be ready to walk in spaces with uneven surfaces and low ceilings.

What: Adults-Only Underground Tour -- One Night Only!
Where: Sacramento History Museum, 101 I Street in Old Sacramento
When: April 28, 2012, 5:30 - 7 p.m.
Cost: $20 (only guests 18 and older will be admitted). Advance online tickets available now.
For more info: 916-808-7059 or www.historicoldsac.org or www.obscuraday.com

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Visitors begin a tour of what was once a bordello in Old Sacramento. An underground tour of Old Sacramento has added a new stop to its dusty route: a bordello, later turned into a grocery store, that stands well preserved more than a century after its heyday. 2011 Sacramento Bee photograph by Randall Benton

April 23, 2012
Railtown wildflower train rides again

WildflowerTrain.JPGWhat could be better than a train ride behind the "movie star" steam locomotive to see wildflowers in the Sierra foothills?

Those lucky enough to join this special once-a-year excursion will be treated to a six-mile, one-hour ride through the scenic meadows and rolling hills filled with "meadow foam," "gold fields" and other flowers typically in bloom.

The usual Railtown 1897 train rides also be offered this weekend. Seating is limited, so reservations for all rides are recommended.

What: Special Wildflower Train Ride
Where: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, Jamestown
When: April 28 at 4:30 p.m. Wildflower orientation at 4 p.m.
Cost: $21 adults, $10 youths ages 6-17, free for children 5 and under
For more information: 209-984-4408 or visit Railtown1897.org

PHOTO CREDIT: A special "Wildflower Train" ride in 2007. Courtesy California State Railroad Museum.

April 20, 2012
Fundraiser planned for historic Eastern Star Hall

Eastern Star Hall.jpgOn Saturday, April 28, the Eastern Star Hall Committee, in conjunction with the Midtown Neighborhood Association, Capital City Preservation Trust and Sacramento Old City Association, will host an evening of music and dancing to raise money for the preservation of Eastern Star Hall at 2719 K Street.  Master of Ceremonies Matias Bombal will introduce the evening, and music will be provided by Mumbo Gumbo and the Freebadge Serenaders. In addition to drinks and appetizers, guests will have the opportunity to take part in a prize raffle. 

The three-story Order of the Eastern Star Hall was constructed in 1928 by the local firm of Coffman Sahlberg Stafford Architects & Engineering, and is considered a fine example of the Romanesque Revival style.  The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1993 both for its architectural qualities and its role in the social history of the community.

What: Eastern Star Hall Fundraiser
Where: Eastern Star Hall, 2719 K Street, Sacramento
When: Saturday, April 28, 7:00 p.m. to Midnight
Cost: $25 tickets in advance (http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/233520) or $30 at the door
For more info: http://sacoldcity.org/

IMAGE CREDIT: Eastern Star Building, Sacramento, Calif. From the Special Collections of the Sacramento Public Library.

April 18, 2012
Living gubernatorial history at the State Capitol

CM Governors Day.jpgThe issues that preoccupied California's turn-of-the-century governors are the focus of this year's Governor's Day "Living History" reenactments at the State Capitol. Museum docents in period dress will portray Governors Henry Gage, George Pardee, James Gillett and Hiram Johnson and their wives. They'll discuss events that most affected their administrations (1899-1917), such as the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and Southern Pacific abuses.

What: Governor's Day (Living History)
Where: State Capitol Museum, 10th and L Sts., Sacramento
When: April 22, 10:30 to 3 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: 916-324-0333 or website

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy the California State Capitol Museum

April 4, 2012
Cemetery symbols and Victorian mourning

Symbolism History Tour.jpgA new tour at Sacramento's Historic City Cemetery uncovers the hidden meaning behind the mysterious symbols that adorn the 19th century headstones. As before, knowledgeable docents in period attire will lead guests on a fascinating excursion into the past.

Cemetery parking is available across the street from the 10th St. Gate.

What: Symbolism and Victorian Mourning Practices
Where: Historic City Cemetery, 1000 Broadway, Sacramento
When: April 7, 10 a.m.
Cost: free, but donations appreciated
For more info: call 916-264-7839 or 916-448-0811

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Cemetery monument. Photograph by Anita Lincoln for the Historic City Cemetery

March 29, 2012
Old Sacramento/Jamestown excursion trains ride again

Excursion Train.JPGFor the 29th consecutive year visitors to Old Sacramento can experience railroad history directly via the weekend excursion trains operated by the California State Railroad Museum.

These six-mile, 40-minute roundtrip rides along the Sacramento River are operated by knowledgeable, trained volunteers.

Tickets for the Old Sac excursion trains are available first-come, first-served starting at 10:30 a.m.

What: Weekend Excursion Train Rides
Where: Trains depart from the Central Pacific Railroad Freight Depot (on Front St. between J and K Sts.) in Old Sacramento
When: Weekends beginning March 31 thru Sept. 2012. Departs hourly from 11 - 5 p.m.
Cost: $10 adults; $5 youths ages 6-17; free for children ages 5 and under ($15 for first class tickets aboard the El Dorado)
For more info: 916-445-6645 or website

News Release

Over in Jamestown (Tuolumne County) volunteers at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park are also getting ready for their excursion ride season to begin this weekend.

Visitors will enjoy 40-minute, six-mile rides through the Sierra foothills pulled by vintage steam and diesel locomotives. Star of Railtown is Sierra No. 3, featured in numerous movies and television shows. Seating is limited so you're encouraged to arrive early to get tickets, which are sold on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 10 a.m.

In addition to the train rides, the first weekend's events will include live music, tours of the Roundhouse and demonstrations of the historic, belt-driven machine shop.

What: Weekend Steam-Powered Excursion Train Rides
Where: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park
When: Weekends (and Monday holidays) beginning March 31. Train rides from 11 to 3 p.m.
Cost: Free on March 31 and April 1 for Calaveras, Mariposa and Tuolumne residents only (with proof of residency). General: $13 adults, $6 youths ages 6-17, free for children 5 and under
For more info: 209-984-3953 or website

News Release

PHOTO CREDIT: Steam-powered excursion trains are a regular feature in Old Sacramento during the summer. Courtesy California State Railroad Museum

March 27, 2012
Old Sacramento underground tour season begins

Old Sac underground.jpgFor the third consecutive year the secrets of subterranean Sacramento will be revealed when the Underground Tours resume this Saturday.

As before, docents in period garb will take visitors to excavated foundations and enclosed pathways and explain the amazing effort that produced California's only successful street-raising project.

Participants should be prepared to walk on uneven surfaces and under low ceilings. These tours are popular, so advanced ticket purchases are recommended.

What: Old Sacramento Underground Tours
Where: Sacramento History Museum, 101 I Street in Old Sacramento
When: March 31 thru Nov. 2012. Departing every half hour 10:30 to 3 p.m. weekends thru May. (Check website for updated tour times June thru November.)
Cost: $15 for adults; $12 for Historic Old Sacramento Foundation members; $10 for children. Advance online tickets available now.
For more info: 916-808-7059 or www.historicoldsac.org

News Release

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy Historic Old Sacramento Foundation

March 13, 2012
Pioneer women's role celebrated at Sutter's Fort

Sutter's Fort woman.JPGSutter's Fort observes Women's History Month with a "Hands on History" program giving visitors are real taste of frontier life with stories, demonstrations and do-it-yourself activities.

You'll learn some of the many tasks frontier women did in the mid-1800s: baking, churning butter, preparing large meals and cooking with ironware. Kids will have the chance to write on a slate, have penmanship lessons, read from a 19th century primer and participate in a fun "History Hunt."

What: Hands on History: The Role of Women on the Frontier
Where: Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, 2701 L St., Sacramento
When: Saturday, March 17. Fort hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cannon firing demonstrations: 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m. Musket demonstrations periodically throughout the day.
Cost: $7.00 per adult (18 and older), $5.00 per youth (ages 6-17), free for children 5 years and under.
For more info: Call 916-445-4422 or visit the web site

News release

Speaking of Sutter's Fort, Sacramento's Hometown Tourist Blog recently visited the historic site and wrote up the experience in a detailed posting accompanied by some nice photos. The Blog is written by three local women who explore the city as "local tourists."

PHOTO CREDIT: Wendy Rosell demonstrates "women's work" at Sutter's Fort State Historic Park during Women of the Fort Living History Day in 2007. Courtesy Benjamin Fenkell

March 8, 2012
Tour of historic McClatchy Library's second floor

McClatchy Childrens Room.jpgOn March 10, the Friends of the McClatchy Library will open up the historic building's second floor for a special behind-the-scenes tour. Guides will share the history of the floor as well as plans for its preservation and future use. Registration is required at the circulation desk and space is limited.

The McClatchy Library building was designed by Northern California architect Rudolph Adam Herold in the early 1900s for Charles and Ella McClatchy and their family. The house became a library in 1940 after Eleanor McClatchy and Charlotte Maloney presented it to the City of Sacramento as a memorial to their mother. In its early years, the library was devoted to Sacramento's young people, though for the last 60 years, it has served all ages. 

What: Tour of McClatchy Library Second Floor
When: March 10, 2012, 10:15 a.m. and 10:45 a.m.
Where: Ella K. McClatchy Library (2112 22nd Street, Sacramento)
Cost: Free; Sign up at circulation desk
For more info: (916) 264-2920; www.saclibrary.org

IMAGE CREDIT: Ella K. McClatchy Young People's Library, Children's Room on 2nd floor made from one bedroom and sleeping porch, ca. 1945. From the Special Collections of the Sacramento Public Library.

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February 28, 2012
Pioneer women the focus of historic cemetery tour

Sac women.jpgThe next Historic Cemetery tour pays homage to California's pioneer women who held their migrant families together and helped settle the state amidst severe challenges.

As usual knowledgeable docents will illustrate the topic with stories and references to cemetery markers.

What: "Pioneer Women: How the West was Really Won"
Where: Historic City Cemetery, 1000 Broadway, Sacramento
When: March 3, 10 a.m.
Cost: free, but donations appreciated.
For more info: call 916-264-7839 or 916-448-0811

News release

IMAGE CREDIT: Advertisement from the 1861 Sacramento City Directory. Courtesy of the Center for Sacramento History.

February 21, 2012
State Archives behind-the-scenes tours

Archives.JPGThe California State Archives houses a mind-boggling variety of materials: millions of government documents, thousands of maps, architectural drawings, video and audio recordings, artifacts and ephemera. Plus really precious items such as the original state constitution. Minerva, the Archives' online catalog, provides easy-to-access indexing of these vast holdings.

On one Friday each month visitors have an opportunity to go behind the scenes to tour this historic treasure trove. (See 2012 tour schedule.)

What: State Archives Tour
Where: California State Archives, 1020 O St., Sacramento
When: Feb. 24 (and one Friday each month for the rest of 2012), 12 - 1 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: 916-653-2385 or email tour coordinator

PHOTO CREDIT: California's chief archivist, Nancy Zimmelman Lenoil, leads a rare, behind-the-scenes media tour of the California State Archives. 2007 Sacramento Bee photograph by Brian Baer

February 13, 2012
Black History Tour at the Old City Cemetery

CaliforniaBlackPioneersLogo.jpgAs part of Black History Month, Sacramento's African American pioneers will be celebrated at the next Historic Cemetery tour this Saturday.

Docents from the Old City Cemetery Committee and the Sojourner Truth Multicultural Arts Museum will explain the contributions of a dozen fascinating people. Some were abolitionists, some fought in the Civil War, some worked in the Underground Railroad.

The Old City Cemetery Committee conducts free monthly tours on a variety of topics. Evening "lantern-light" tours are offered three times each year. This year's programs will focus on Sacramento's labor history.

What: Black History Tour
Where: Old City Cemetery, 1000 Broadway, Sacramento
When: Feb. 18, 10 a.m.
Cost: free, donations appreciated.
For more info: 916-264-7839, 916-448-0811 or website

Event flyer
News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy Old City Cemetery Committee

February 2, 2012
Singles night at the history museum

UPDATE 2/4/12: This event has been canceled.

On Thursday, February 9, the Sacramento History Museum will be offering a singles event targeted at Sacramento history buffs: Singles Night at the Museum. Attendees will mingle with fellow singles, enjoy tasty hors d'oeuvres and a wine sampling, go on an Underground Tour of Old Sacramento hosted by 19th-century matchmaker Miss Odessa, and take part in a museum scavenger hunt. For those who wish to catch dinner later in the evening, the Rio City Cafe will offer a 15% discount to ticket holders.

What: Singles Night at the Museum
When: February 9, 2012, 5 p.m.
Where: Sacramento History Museum (101 I Street)
Cost: $25; Ages 21+
For more info: (916) 808-7059; www.sachistorymuseum.org

January 16, 2012
Trappers take center stage at Sutter's Fort

Thumbnail image for trapper.JPGTrappers played an important role in the development of early California. Sutter's Fort pays tribute to these entrepreneurial pioneers at the next "Hands on History" event.

Led by docents in period clothing, visitors this Saturday will learn how trappers lived, worked, traded and explored. You'll watch musket demonstrations and have the chance to examine fur pelts, write with a quill pen and oak gall ink and string trading beads.

What: Hands on History: Trappers, Trades, and Treaties
Where: Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, 2701 L St., Sacramento
When: Jan. 21, 10 to 5 p.m.
Cost: $6.00 per adult (18 and older), $4.00 per youth (ages 6-17), free for children 5 years and under
For more info : 916-445-4422 or www.suttersfort.org

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: A Mexican Officer (Tom Hill) checks the passport of an American trapper (Jeff Volberg) at Sutter's Fort Living History Day. 2006 photograph by Eileen Hook

January 10, 2012
Railtown offers special Shop Tours

Railtown shop.JPGRailtown 1897 State Historic Park will offer special tours of its large repair shop on three dates this winter.

Visitors will get a closeup look at the remarkable train restoration work being done at Railtown and will learn about recently completed projects, including the two-year reconstruction of Sierra No. 3, the "Movie Star" locomotive.

What: Behind-the-Scenes Shop Tours
Where: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, Jamestown
When: Jan. 13, Feb. 10 and March 9, 10 to 12 p.m.
Cost: included with Park admission: $5 for adults, $3 for youths ages 6-17, children under five are free
For more info: 209-984-3953 or go to Railtown website

News Release

PHOTO CREDIT: Workers remove rivets from the the boiler of the famous Sierra No. 3. The steam locomotive, seen in more than 200 movies and TV shows, went through a two-year restoration at the state-owned Railtown in Jamestown. 2000 Sacramento Bee photograph by Randy Pench

December 6, 2011
An emigrant Christmas at Sutter's Fort

Sutters Fort Xmas.jpgExperience a really old-fashioned Christmas this Saturday at Sutter's Fort.

Docents in period attire will show visitors how immigrants from many different countries brought their particular holiday traditions to 1840s Sacramento.

Try your hand at Christmas activities like stringing popcorn and cranberries, candle dipping and crafting paper cut-out ornaments.

What: Hands on History: A Simple Emigrant Christmas
Where: Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, 2701 L Street, Sacramento
When: Dec. 10, 10 to 5 p.m.
Cost: $6 per adult, $4 per youth (ages 6-17), free for children 5 years and under
For more info: Call 916-445-4422 or visit www.parks.ca.gov/suttersfort

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy Sutter's Fort State Historic Park

November 17, 2011
Christmas trains to run at Railtown

railtown xmas.JPGRailtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown (Tuolumne County) offers two Christmas-themed train excursions this year. Santa and his musical friends will accompany both 45-minute tours through the Sierra countryside.

Daytime rides feature "Roving Fiddler" Dave Rainwater. Evening rides feature caroling and entertainment by Ron Delacy, the jazz band Starlight Serenaders, Dave Rainwater and cowboy guitarist Keith Keenom.

Advanced tickets are strongly recommended as the holiday train rides are popular and sell out quickly.

What: "Santa's Starlight Express" Train Rides
Where: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, Jamestown
When: Nov. 25 & 26, 5:30 & 7 p.m.
Cost: $24 for adults, $12 for youths ages 3-17, free for children two and under. Note: all train ride tickets include free Park admission.
For Tickets: 209-984-3953 or go to www.railtown1897.org

What: "Santa By Daylight" Train Rides
Where: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, Jamestown
When: Nov. 25, 26 & 27 and Dec. 17 & 18. Trains run hourly 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cost: $13 for adults, $6 for youth ages 6-17, free for children five and under. Note: all train ride tickets include free Park admission.
For Tickets: 209-984-3953 or go to www.railtown1897.org

News Release

PHOTO CREDIT: Jamestown station at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park. 2005 Sacramento Bee photograph by Reed Parsell

November 15, 2011
Sutter's Fort Candle Light Tours

Candlelighttour.JPGOnce a year Sutter's Fort offers evening candlelight tours to show off the historic complex in a more intimate light.

Guides in period dress will show guests rooms for a glimpse into the private lives of pioneer families who migrated to California for a better life. You'll overhear family members discussing their fears, hopes and dreams for their new home.

What: Hands on History: Candle Light Tours!
Where: Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, 2701 L St., Sacramento
When: Nov. 19, 2011, 6:30 to 9 p.m.
Cost: tickets $15. Can be purchased online.
For more info: Call 916-323-7626 or www.suttersfort.org

News release

PHOTO CREDIT: Previous Candle Light Tour at Sutter's Fort. Courtesy Sutter's Fort State Historic Park

October 24, 2011
The haunted Sutter's Fort

Sutters Fort Evening Shot.jpgSutter's Fort gets in the Halloween spirit next weekend with evening programs designed to reveal the eerier side of Sacramento's oldest structure.

Docents in period costumes will lead visitors on 45-minute walking tours of various darkened rooms (which some believe are still haunted by past inhabitants). They'll also tell stories of how some early pioneers perished in creepy and melancholy ways.

What: The Haunted Fort
Where: Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, 2701 L St., Sacramento
When: Oct. 28 & 29, 6:30 - 9 p.m. Walking tours depart every 10 minutes.
Cost: $6 per adult, $4 for youth ages 6-17 and free for children 5 years and under
For more info: Call 916-323-7626 or visit www.suttersfort.org

News Release

PHOTO CREDIT: Sutter's Fort at twilight. Courtesy Sutter's Fort State Historic Park

October 20, 2011
Tour Sacramento's historic water plant and pumping station

Thumbnail image for sacwater.jpgBefore 1924 most Sacramentans took water directly from the muddy Sacramento River and cleaned the sediment at home as best they could. The city's reputation for bad water was widespread and kept many people from moving to the region, according to "Turning mud into liquid gold: A history of Sacramento's water supply, 1849 - 1924" written by Kevin Carunchio for Sacramento History Journal.

Finally in 1923 after 40 years of planning, Sacramento built the first municipal filtration plant west of the Rockies. The Water Treatment Plant was a source of great pride and a symbol of the city's continuing growth and prosperity.

The facility is still used today to produce safe drinking water. But utility officials worry about its aging infrastructure (and that of "Sump 2," the sewage pumping station built in 1927). So they've launched a campaign to alert citizens to the challenge of maintaining the plants.

As part of that effort, the public is invited to tour the historic Water Treatment Plant and Sump 2 sites. Participants will see how modern technology keeps them operating effectively and will learn about the need for critical repairs and upgrades.

What: Sacramento River Water Treatment Plant Tour
Where: 1 Water St., Sacramento
When: Oct. 22, 11 to 1 p.m. Tours leave every half hour.
Cost: free
For more info: info@yourutilitiesyourvoice.com or Your Utilities. Your Voice.

What: Sump 2 Tour
Where: 3530 Riverside Blvd., Sacramento
When: Nov. 5, 11 to 1 p.m. Tours leave every half hour.
Cost: free
For more info: info@yourutilitiesyourvoice.com or Your Utilities. Your Voice.

IMAGE CREDIT: Bee editorial cartoon published Dec. 29, 1923 that celebrates the opening of the Sacramento River Water Treatment Plant.

October 19, 2011
Tall sailing ship revisits Sacramento

chieftain.JPGThe Hawaiian Chieftain has returned for its annual visit to Old Sacramento. Built in 1988, this tall sailing ship is a replica of a typical 18th-century European merchant trader. Her design is similar to those of Spanish ships used in late 18th century expeditions along the West Coast of the United States.

School groups and the general public are invited to tour the vessel where you can learn about navigation, basic oceanography and life aboard the ship.

What: Hawaiian Chieftain Tour
Where: Front and L Sts., Old Sacramento
When: Oct. 19 thru Dec. 13. Open to the public for walk-on tours. Most tours are scheduled 4 to 5 p.m., Mon. thru Thurs., and 10 to 1 p.m., Sat. and Sun.
Cost: $3 per person donation appreciated
For more info: (800) 200-5239 or www.historicalseaport.org

PHOTO CREDIT: Capt. Carter Cassel teaches the 4th graders of Placer Hills School about safety aboard the Hawaiian Chieftain. 2004. Sacramento Bee photograph by Florence Low

October 19, 2011
A cemetery tour in Woodland

Learn about the interesting people buried at the 22-acre, 100-year-old Woodland City Cemetery during a special tour this Sunday. Story Time for children and refreshments and books will be available next to the mausoleum. Arrive anytime between 1 and 4 p.m.

Proceeds will benefit the Yolo County Historical Society.

What: Woodland City Cemetery Tour
Where: 800 West St., Woodland
When: Oct. 23, 1 to 4 p.m.
Cost: $10 per adult, $20 for family of four, $5 per child 10+. Tickets will be available on the day of the event at the West Street Gate.
For more info: Reva Barzo at 867-5800 or BJ Ford at 662-0952

Event flyer

October 17, 2011
Governor's Mansion dresses up for Halloween

Governors Mansion Exterior Cloudy Day.jpgHalloween decor and scary music will set the holiday mood at the Governor's Mansion during the After Dark tours the next two Saturdays.

Storytellers will share tales of past governors and fortune tellers will predict your fate. Costumed guides will lead guests through the creepier parts of the building -- including darkened rooms and "coffin corners."

What: The Mansion After Dark
Where: Governor's Mansion State Historic Park, 1526 H Street in Sacramento
When: Oct. 22 & 29, 6 - 9 p.m.
Cost: $6 for adults, $4 for youth ages 6-17 and free for children five and under
For more info: 916-323-5916 or www.parks.ca.gov/governorsmansion

News Release

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy Governor's Mansion Historic State Park

October 13, 2011
Old Sacramento Living History "Ghost Tours"

Ghost Tours Image.jpgOld Sacramento prepares for Halloween with the return of "Ghost Tours," These evening strolls led by knowledgeable docents will intrigue you with tales of California's spooky history going back to the 1800s.

Tours last about an hour and are not recommended for kids under six.

What: Living History Ghost Tours in Old Sacramento
Where: Eagle Theatre, 925 Front St.
When: Oct. 14, 15, 21, 22, 28 & 29, 6:30 - 9 p.m. (tours depart every 30 minutes)
Cost: $15 for adults, $10 for youths ages 6-17 and free for children ages five and under (not appropriate for very young children)
For more info: 916-808-7059 or visit www.historicoldsac.org

News Release

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy Historic Old Sacramento Foundation

October 12, 2011
All aboard the "Spookomotive" -- if you dare

Spookomotive402.JPGLike a Werewolf, the California State Railroad Museum's popular excursion train transforms into "Spookomotive" for Halloween.

Starting this weekend the diesel engine -- decorated with spiders, cobwebs and cornstalks and staffed by a "skeleton" crew -- will take visitors on a fun-filled, 40-minute, six-mile roundtrip ride along the levees of the Sacramento River.

Tickets for the Spookomotive excursion train rides are available on a first-come, first-served basis starting 10:30 a.m. at the Sacramento Southern Railroad ticket office in Old Sacramento.

What: "Spookomotive" Train Rides
Where: Trains depart from the Central Pacific Passenger Station, Old Sacramento State Historic Park
When: Oct. 15, 16, 22, 23, 29 and 30. Hourly 11 to 4 p.m.
Cost: $10 for adults, $5 for youths ages 6-17 and free for children 5 and under. $15 per person - all ages for First Class El Dorado Car.
For more info: 916-445-6645 or California State Railroad Museum

News Release

PHOTO CREDIT: Museum excursion train decorated for Halloween. Courtesy the Capital District State Museums and Historic Parks

October 11, 2011
California women's suffrage reenactments

Votes_for_women.JPGAccompanying the State Capitol exhibit commemorating the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage in California, Museum docents will don period costumes this Saturday to reenact key moments in the struggle to get the vote.

Visitors will see suffragists, politicians, anti-suffragists and other citizens play out the drama at various locations in the Capitol.

Docent-led living history tours will leave the First Floor Rotunda every 15 minutes.

What: Women's Vote in California - 100-Year Anniversary Living History Program
Where: State Capitol. Guests should meet in the First Floor Rotunda.
When: Oct. 15, 10 to 4:30 p.m.
Cost: free
For more info: 916-324-0333 or visit www.capitolmuseum.ca.gov

News release
Community Service Announcement

PHOTO CREDIT: California State Capitol Museum docents dressed as suffragists. Courtesy State Capitol Museum

October 6, 2011
Old Sacramento "Above Ground" Tours extended

oldsacarch.JPGThe Historic Old Sacramento Foundation is offering its two popular "above ground" tours through October.

California's Gold Rush Legacy Tour, conducted by docents in period attire, introduces guests to 1850s Sacramento using original and reconstructed Gold Rush-era buildings as a backdrop.

The Old Sacramento Architectural Tour refers to various building styles to explain the evolution of Sacramento from tent city to established state capital.

Old Sacramento walking tours begin and end at the Sacramento History Museum. They last about an hour.

What: "Above Ground" Walking Tours in Old Sacramento
Where: Sacramento History Museum, 101 I Street in Old Sacramento
When: Weekends through Oct. 30. Saturdays at 1 p.m. -- Sacramento City: California's Gold Rush Legacy Tour. Sundays at 1 p.m. -- From Canvas to Brick: Old Sacramento Architectural Tour
Cost: $7 for adults; $5 for youths
For more info: 916-808-7059 or www.historicoldsac.org

News Release

PHOTO CREDIT: Old Sacramento architectural detail. 2008 photograph courtesy of Janessa Gonsalves, Program Coordinator Historic Old Sacramento Foundation

October 5, 2011
"Harvest Haunt Express" train rides offered through October

Railtown Velocipede Bikes.jpgStaffed by "skeleton crews," Railtown 1897 State Historic Park will offer special Autumn-themed train rides the next four weekends. These 40-minute excursions take visitors through beautiful Gold Country scenery. Sierra No. 3 (the "Movie Star Locomotive" used in TV and film) will operate Saturdays and a vintage diesel engine on Sundays.

To kick off the fall season on Oct. 8 Railtown will also provide live music, entertainment, caboose tours, velocipede rides for kids, and free pumpkins for those taking a train ride.

What: Harvest Haunt Express Train Rides
Where: Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, Jamestown
When: October 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23, 29, 30. Hourly from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cost: Train rides -- $13 for adults, $6 for youths ages 6-17 (children under five are free)
For more info and tickets: 209-984-3953 or go to www.railtown1897.org

News Release

PHOTO CREDIT: Railtown's velocipede bicycle (3-wheeled handcar). Courtesy Capital District State Museums and Historic Parks

October 3, 2011
Coloma Gold Rush Live

coloma.JPGThis weekend Coloma brings the Gold Rush back to life with its premier interpretative event.

Visitors will enjoy live music demonstrations of gold panning, rope making, blacksmithing, spinning, weaving, basket making and more. Volunteers in period dress will sell wares, tell miners' stories and portray historic figures, such as John Marshall whose gold discovery sparked the migration of thousands to California.

Children will be treated to games, hands-on activities and period music and songs.

What: Coloma Gold Rush Live
Where: Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, directions
When: Oct. 8 & 9, 10 to 4 p.m.
Cost: Parking is $10 per vehicle
For more info: call (530) 295-2170, 622-3470 or website

PHOTO CREDIT: Ed Allen portrays James W. Marshall, who discovered gold in Coloma in 1848. 2009 Sacramento Bee photograph by Michael Allen Jones

September 30, 2011
Reminder: Sacramento Archives Crawl is tomorrow
grasshopper.JPG

The first ever Sacramento Archives Crawl will give the general public a unique opportunity to view some very rare and interesting items during tomorrow's open house at four of the city's largest historical collections. People who visit the facilities will be treated to historic treasures from 21 Northern California institutions, as well as "behind-the-scenes" tours of archival storage and work areas.

I was privileged to attend a "media preview" of the Crawl at the Center for Sacramento History. Among the fascinating artifacts we were shown: papers of Nathaniel S. Colley, Sacramento's nationally known civil rights attorney; memorabilia documenting the 100th anniversary of the California's women's suffrage; a photographic exhibit from Sirlin Photography Studios featuring portraits of Sacramento leaders Pete Wilson, Willie Brown and Heather Fargo.

Puente boots.JPGFrom the collections vault: an eight-inch long grasshopper dating back more than 150 years; items from the Eleanor McClatchy collection including 19th century theater posters, rare books, publishing materials and a Gold Rush-era map of the region; police evidence and prosecution displays from the Dorothea Puente murder case.

Sacramento Archives Crawl is the kickoff event for the region's observance of American Archives Month. Libraries, museums, special collections all around the state will celebrate with a variety of events.

What: Explore History: Sacramento Archives Crawl
When: October 1, 2011, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Where: California State Archives (1020 'O' Street), California State Library (900 'N' Street), Center for Sacramento History (551 Sequoia Pacific Blvd.) and Sacramento Room, Central Library (828 'I' Street)
Cost: Free
For more info: sacarchivescrawl.blogspot.com

PHOTO CREDITS: An eight-inch long grasshopper dating back more than 150 years which originated in the Isthmus of Panama. Rubber boots and digging tools belonging to convicted mass murderer Dorothea Puente. 2011 Sacramento Bee photographs by Lezlie Sterling.