Old Sacramento Gold Rush Days

Sacramento, CA

On Friday we again rode our bicycles into the city.  Our first stop was a visit to Old Sacramento, a six square block area of Sacramento tucked between the Sacramento River and I-5, just off the main downtown.  The area has been restored to the mid-1800s and has numerous shops and restaurants.  Labor Day weekend is their biggest activity,  the four day Sacramento Gold Rush Days.  More than 200 tons of dirt are spread over the normally cobblestone streets to transform Sacramento’s historic district into a scene straight out of the 1850s. Hundreds of costumed performers take on the roles of celebrities, personalities and everyday people while old-time musicians perform on several stages.  We decided to check it out on Friday as we know the place will be mobbed over the three day weekend.

Phrenology  is a pseudoscience primarily focused on measurements of the human skull. The distinguishing feature of phrenology is the idea that the sizes of brain areas were meaningful and could be inferred by examining the skull of an individual.  It was very popular in Europe and the U.S. in the mid-1800s.

As mentioned above, the roads of Old Sacramento are normally cobblestone.  But for the Gold Rush days they cover them with dirt, as seen below, to give a mid-1800 feel to the area.

The U.S. Cavalry was in town to help maintain order.

Like most towns, Sacramento was built along a river that was very prone to flooding.  Because of this, the city’s streets were raised a level. Most of the sidewalks and storefronts have been filled in, however many tunnels still remain throughout Old Sacramento and the downtown area.  On one corner the old street level is still visible.  The doors and tables pictured below at one time were at street level.

The Pony Express was a fast mail service crossing the Great Plains, the Rocky Mountains, and the High Sierra from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California from April of 1860 to October 1861. It became the west’s most direct means of east-west communication before the telegraph and was vital for tying California closely with the Union just before the Civil War.  A statue in Old Sacramento commemorates that short-lived service.

After our visit to Old Sacramento, we rode a few miles across town to visit the headquarters of the Blue Diamond Almond Growers.  They no longer give tours but there was a good video presentation that showed the process of growing and harvesting almonds, as well as, samples of all the flavored almonds.

On a bike path just outside the factory we found, surprise, an almond tree!  The large pods in the picture below contain the almonds.

Inside the covering is the hard shell that holds the actual almond nut.  Let it sit until you can hear the nut rattle inside then split the shell and you have a tasty treat.

We’ll be in Sacramento for a few more days as we have an appointment on Thursday to have the motorhome serviced.  More on that later . . .

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4 Responses to Old Sacramento Gold Rush Days

  1. Deb Dominick says:

    Man, they are really into historic authenticity! What do they do with the dirt at the end of the celebration? Better yet, how do they clean it up?

    Almond samples– You must have died and gone to heaven!

    A questions for the ex-teachers– If it was so short lived, why does the Pony Express get so much air time? Based on how much you hear/read about it, you would think that it had a run of more than 1 1/2 yrs.

  2. Marsha says:

    What fun that would be in Sacramento. I love historically correct reenactments.
    I love the photo of the downtown area. It makes me feel like I am really back in the 1800’s. So cool to see those buildings with the balconies.
    I’ll say that the street has been raised. That is amazing how low the street used to be.
    Blue Diamond Almond ….. love them. FREE samples…I will be right there!
    I have never seen an almond tree. Pretty cool.
    Hope the service goes swimmingly!

  3. Erin says:

    Pam, thanks for stopping by and commenting on my blog. The excitement is building as we count down the days to full timing; hope to have some great memories to share once we’re on the road. I really enjoyed your tour of Old Sacramento; we would have gone on Friday to enjoy it without the hoards. Hope the service on your MH is for nothing serious.

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