Home » Protecting History at Sutter’s Fort: Major Roof Replacement & Seismic Stabilation Project Now Underway
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Protecting History at Sutter’s Fort: Major Roof Replacement & Seismic Stabilation Project Now Underway

Photo courtesy of Sutter's Fort SHP

California State Parks is excited to announce a major $1.3 million project at Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park (SHP) is now underway to re-roof the Fort’s outer buildings and install seismic upgrades. The work will be completed by Pro Builders, a company that has successfully undertaken several projects at Sutter’s Fort SHP, including the creation of interior ADA-accessible pathways in 2016. Pro Builders is scheduled to finish the roof replacement project within four months. California State Parks is proud to invest in this critical work to preserve and protect the historic structures and preserve the collections at Sutter’s Fort, the oldest restored fort in the United States.  

All work will be carried out in compliance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. Although none of the roofing is original to the site, some portions have not been replaced since they were installed in 1948. The new cedar wood shake roof will prevent leaks and deterioration could cause damage to the historic structures and their contents. In addition, the seismic upgrades will stabilize the rooms and perimeter walls against earthquake damage. This project builds on several exciting restoration projects at Sutter’s Fort SHP in recent years – roof replacement and seismic stabilization of the Central Building, outdoor lighting upgrades, and replacement of the Central Building’s back staircase. Important investments such as these help to ensure State Parks continues to transform the way it interprets the history of Sutter’s Fort.

The project will affect the exterior building’s bastions and dozens of exhibit rooms, which tell the history of Sutter’s Fort through recreations of how the site might have looked in the mid-1800s. Most objects housed at Sutter’s Fort were purchased in the 20th century and are not original to the Fort. Under the direction of curatorial staff, these items will be carefully packed and stored on-site during the construction. In addition, staff will transfer some historic artifacts to the Statewide Museum Collections Center, a State Parks collections facility in McClellan, California. Among the items that will be temporarily moved off-site are John Sutter’s magnifying glass — likely used to inspect the nugget that sparked the Gold Rush — and a Spanish-style plow made by Native people who were forced to labor at Sutter’s Fort. These items will be re-installed following the completion of the project.

Sutter’s Fort SHP will be open daily as usual from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the duration of the project. Visitors will have the opportunity to observe the rehabilitation project firsthand and tour the Central Building, which will remain open. Additionally, all Fort admission fees will be waived for the duration of the project. The community is encouraged to visit Sutter’s Fort SHP for free in the next few months to see the progression of the important roof replacement effort.

Additionally, the on-site Sutter’s Fort Museum Store that is run by Friends of Sutter’s Fort will be closed for much of the roof replacement project. However, Friends of Sutter’s Fort has launched a summer POP-Up Shop located in Old Sacramento State Historic Park at the historic Huntington, Hopkins & Co Hardware Store, conveniently situated on I Street adjacent to the California State Railroad Museum. The Sutter’s Fort Museum Store POP-Up shop is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for the duration of the roof project. All sales support educational programs, community events and restoration work at Sutter’s Fort SHP.

For more information about Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park or the POP-Up Shop, please call 916-445-4422 or visit www.suttersfort.org.

About the author

Traci Rockefeller Cusack

Traci Rockefeller Cusack has 25+ years of media and public relations experience.  Her work experience includes News10 (ABC) as Promotion Manager from 1989-1998 (where she developed and launched “Coats for Kids’ Sake,” a winter coat drive that lasted 20+ years plus coordinated Oprah Winfrey’s first ever visit to Sacramento) and Fleishman-Hillard as Vice President from 1998-2005 (where she led the wildly successful statewide “California Grown” program and also produced the five-minute video that played on the Jumbotron on Opening Day at Pac Bell Park). In 2007, she launched T-Rock Communications and currently handles a wide range of marketing activities for a number of top-notch organizations.

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