Whenever we spend a week or more in one area, we look for buildings that have ties to the history of the area.
A short walk from a portion of downtown Sacramen-to, CA, brought us to the entrance to Old Sacra-mento. Passing through the archway, we entered a 28-acre town of historic buildings. Constructed in the early 1800s, the buildings are typical of the California Gold Rush era.
Noting this city's role in providing a communication link with the eastern half of the country is this statue commemo-rating the glory of The Pony Express. With Sam Hamilton's ride into a blinding rainstorm on April 4, 1860, on the first lap of the 1,966 mile trip to St. Joseph, Missouri, the era of the Pony Express began. During its 18-month existence, its 80 riders and 500 ponies carried 35,000 pieces of mail on the 10-day journey with the loss of but one pouch.
With little auto traffic during our walk around town, we could easily hear the sound of visitors' footsteps on the wooden sidewalks.
The adventurous spirit inherent in the pioneers, prospectors for gold, and Pony Express riders was also present in businessmen.
To finance his plans for the Central Pacific Railroad, engineer Theodore Judah sought out men who later became known as the "Big Four" of western railroading. Each "specialized" in an aspect of realizing the completion of the transcontinental railroad.
They were: Leland Stanford (managed the railroad), Mark Hopkins (directed the financial accounts), Collis P. Huntington (purchased supplies and equipment, sold stock to raise money, gained political support) and Charles Crocker (directed the construction).
The Big Four Building in Old Sacramento includes the Railroad Museum, Huntington Hopkins Hardware Store Museum (below) and Stanford Gallery. The west wall holds displays of 19th-century tools and hardware. Dietz lanterns hang from ceiling rafters, and crates and baskets are piled on the floor.
B.F. Hastings opened as a bank in April 1853 that is now a museum housing a recon-structed Supreme Court, Wells Fargo Bank and Pony Express offices.
Built in 1852, the Lady Adams Building (right in photo below) is the oldest building in Old Sacramento. It was named after the ship Lady Adams that brought goods and its first owners around the Horn and up the river. They began their business in a tent and later hired men to build a store, mostly out of the ship itself.
The building to the left of the Lacy Adams is the Howard House, believed to have been built in the late 1800s. The three-story building has most often been a lodging house of some kind, although it never was a hotel.
Construc-tion began in July 1849 on what would become California’s first permanent theater—and what the editor of the Placer Times would later refer to as "This oasis in a great desert of the mind."
Noting the opening of regular perfor-mances in the Eagle Theatre, the Placer Times on Saturday, October 20, 1849, printed the following: "This house opened on Thursday evening to a full, and we may add, fashionable house, for the 'dress circle' was graced by quite a number of fine looking well-costumed ladies, the sight of whom was somewhat revivifying."
The next five photos show some of the other buildings that we thought were attractive. The presence of cars, parking meters, and modern signage did detract a bit from the otherwise true-to-the-period structures.
As we walked around the streets of Old Sacra-mento, several architec-tural features were particularly eye-catching.
And it was on to the Railroad Museum.