Sutter’s Fort was a 19th-century agricultural and commercial colony in the province of Alta California, Mexico. The site of the fort was established in 1839 and was originally called New Helvetia (New Switzerland) by its builder, John Sutter, although the construction of the fort itself would not begin until 1841. The fort was the first non-Indigenous community in the Central Valley of California. The fort is famous for its association with the Donner Party, the California Gold Rush, and the formation of Sacramento. It is remarkable for its proximity to the end of the California Trail and the Siskiyou Trails, which served as a way station.
After the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill (also owned by John Sutter) in Coloma on January 24, 1848, the fort was abandoned. The adobe structure was restored to its original condition and is now administered by the California Department of Parks and Recreation. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1961.
The main building of the fort is a two-storey adobe structure built between 1841 and 1843. This building is the only original surviving structure in Sutter ‘s Fort State Historic Park. It was here, on January 28, 1848, that James Marshall met Sutter privately to show Sutter the gold that Marshall had found only four days earlier during the construction of Sutter’s sawmill along the American River. The original fort was built by Sutter with walls 2.5 feet (0.76 m) thick and 15 to 18 feet (5.5 m ) high. Pioneers moved to Sutter ‘s Fort around 1841. Following the word of the Gold Rush, the fort was largely deserted in the 1850s, and fell into disrepair.
In 1891, the Golden West Native Sons, who sought to preserve many of the landmarks of California’s pioneer days, bought and rehabilitated Sutter’s Fort when the City of Sacramento tried to demolish it. Repair efforts were completed in 1893 and the fort was handed over to the Native Sons of the Golden West to the State of California. In 1947, the fort was transferred to California State Parks.
Most of the original neighborhood structures were originally built as residences in the late 1930s, many of which were converted to commercial uses such as private medical practices. The history of the neighborhood is mostly residential.
The Sutter fort is located on the ground level at an altitude of approximately 20 feet (6.1 m) above the average sea date. The elevation of the slopes decreases northward to the American River and westward to the Sacramento River. Slope rises gradually to the south and east, away from the rivers. All surface drainage flows to the Sacramento River. Groundwater flows south-southwest towards the delta of Sacramento. After high rainfall, however, the Sacramento River swells and the groundwater flow can actually reverse away from the river.
The park is located in the middle of the city of Sacramento between K and L Streets and 26th and 28th Streets. The entrance is located on 28th Street between K and L Street (East Gate). Driving Directions Traveling on I-80, from San Francisco-Take Business 80 / Hwy 50 East (north to Reno) to N Street turn off. Travel straight on 30th Street, then turn left under the freeway on L Street to Sutter ‘s Fort State Historic Park, which is located on your right. Parking is available at the City of Sacramento.