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  • Sutter's FortSutter's Fort Sacramento, California
    Sutter's Fort State Historic Park sits in Sacramento, California, and is protected by the state, and includes the fort and the California State Indian museum. The fort was built in 1839 and named New Helvetia, or New Switzerland by builder, John Sutter, who had constructed it to become a trade and agricultural colony in the new territory. It became the first non-Native American settlement in the Central Valley and is well known because of it association with the Donner Party, the gold rush and the beginnings of Sacramento. Also noteworthy is the location, near the end of the California Trail and the Siskiyou Trail were it was used for a waystation. When gold was found at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, the fort became abandoned; but today the adobe structure is rejuvenated to its former state and managed by the California State Parks; although with the economy and the state in such dire straits, it may be facing closure. The site became a landmark in 1961 and was added to the National Register of Historical Places in 1966. The fort was constructed by the junction of the American and Sacramento Rivers, with the main part being built of adobe sometime in between 1841 and 1843 and is now the only survivor of the complex built there. Here, on January 28, 1848, James Marshall came to show Sutter the gold he had found while constructing his sawmill on the American River, four days before. As word of the fabulous gold rush raced across the world, the fort was left alone during the 1850s and eventually fell into disrepair. The Native Sons of the Golden West started a restoration of the fort in 1891 and were able to finish in 1893. The state parks took over management of the fort in 1947 and in 2009, it was decided to keep the fort open but with an increase in fees and less staff.  Some of the marvelous relics that are part of the collection include a pewter lamp that was made before 1848, scarf pin and shirt studs made of gold and pearls, opera glasses made of bone and glass, a German prayer book that was printed before 1839, a pepperbox pistol that was found on the grounds of the old fort, a pen holder found in the central building brickwork, gold dust that was discovered by the east gate, a Hammond-Bulldog .38 caliber pistol, made in 1864, of steel with walnut grips and a six shot, the registration books of the fort, book 1 and 2, the Covell Inman diary from 1859, a violin from before 1846, made of spruce and ebony that was brought to California in 1846, Missouri soil from 1850, an illustrated domestic Bible published by Case, Lockwood & Company made of leather, print and pencil on paper that was owned by James Gregson family, photograph of unknown date of Ann E. Gregson Reid, house boots and Bible from 1865 and so much more that will thrill you and more.

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  • Crocker Art MuseumCrocker Art Museum Sacramento, Calfiornia
    The Crocker Art Museum of Sacramento, California has been opened longer than any other museum like it west of the Mississippi River, beginning in 1885 with an exceptional collection of early California art that includes masterpiece works by Albert Bierstadt, William Keith, Thomas Hill and Xavier Martinez as well as Rembrandt, Francois Boucher, and Durer. The nucleus was donated by Judge E. B. Crocker, brother of the railroad magnate Charles Crocker, and has grown into a collection of more than 14,000 artworks. It is now the leading art museum of the capitol area and Central Valley. In October of 2010, they will open a brand new 125,000 square foot structure that was designed by Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects, complementing the historic structures already there and further expand the museum's ability to originate and present traveling exhibitions and educational programs, show more of its impressive collection and increase its role as the cultural resource for the state and its visitors. The new building will more than triple the size of the museum, allowing for four times more room for traveling exhibitions and three times the space available for its permanent collections. The California collection contains many scenes of the area's early settlement, the turn of the century Tonalism and the gold rush period. Among these excellent works are Thomas Hill's Great Canyon of the Sierra from 1871, Samuel Marsden Brooks' The Larder from 1879, William Hahn's Market Scene from 1872, and Charles Christian Nahl's Sunday Morning in the Mines. In the Asian art collection there are more than 600 Indian and Persian artworks that were donated by Edith and William Cleary, and so much more.

January 11, 2011