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Sutter’s Fort Celebrates 175 Years This Weekend

sutter's fort
Historic lithograph of Sutter's Fort circa 1846. Courtesy of Sutter's Fort SHP.

Sutters Fort OutdoorsIt’s one of those things you have to do in Sacramento. Whether going on a field trip in elementary school or taking out-of-towners (or yourself!), Sutter’s Fort is a site-to-see staple of Sacramento. And come this weekend it will be an even better place to visit when interactive history activities take over the fort in celebration of its 175th anniversary.

A special “Hands on History” event on Saturday will commemorate John Sutter’s arrival to the Sacramento region in August 1839—and the subsequent discovery of gold and birth of our city. The event will start with a wagon ride through the streets of Sacramento as period-dressed local dignitaries head to the fort, where none other than John Sutter himself will greet the guests at their 10am arrival.

Once the doors of the South Gate open, we average-folk will be able to wander inside where a variety of activities await our exploration. Guests will be able to dress up as pioneers, stencil rub John Sutter’s brand, make corn husk dolls, taste food prepared with iron wear in a horno (beehive oven), write with quill pens, learn how to wash laundry 1800s-style, and enjoy various exhibits, programs, and demonstrations throughout the day including firings of Sutter’s cannon and Gold Rush era weaponry.

“You learn so much by doing,” said Mindy Orosco, program manager for the Sutter Fort’s educational programs. “[It’s a chance for us] to honor the pioneers…and to step back in history and think of how so many people struggled to get here to create the California that we all enjoy today.”

In many ways, Orosco pointed out, we can thank Sutter for the life we enjoy in Sacramento today. It was Sutter’s carpenter, John Marshall, who discovered gold at Sutter’s sawmill in Coloma, thus setting the stage for our state and city’s history-shaping Gold Rush. And it all started with Sutter’s Fort and the dream of John Sutter, who hoped to build an agricultural empire and trading post in this region.

“His legacy is that he’s the father of Sacramento,” Orosco said of Sutter, adding that this special edition of their monthly Hands on History event is a nod to that legacy. “[We] will focus on John Sutter and what he did, why he came here, and the history he created for us.”

Don’t miss this chance to celebrate the historical roots of our city! The 175th anniversary “Hands on History” event will take place at Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park (2701 L St) on Saturday, Aug. 16 from 10am-5pm. The wagon kick-off begins at Stanford Park (right near–no surprise–Sutter’s Landing) and ends at the fort. $7/adults, $5/youth, free/5 and under. For more information visit www.suttersfort.org.

Sutter’s Fort Celebrates 175 Years This Weekend via @sacramentopress

About the author

Bethany Harris

Bethany joined Sacramento Press in 2013 and enjoys writing articles that uncover the happenings of the city and the people behind the stories who make them so worth telling. A native of Sacramento, she also loves photography, running, gardening, coffee, and discovering new places and new things to do--both in the city and throughout California.

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