Friday, November 20, 2020

California State Capitol Sacramento

California State Capitol

Neoclassical California State Capitol main entrance. Compare this to the classical Roman temple below (Maison Caree in Nimes, France) also copied from the Greek style & built in 12 BC.

East Annex (added in 1952) is at the far right of photo.  The style has been called neo-fascist.

Interior of the rotunda. Photos taken in 2018.

From my travel journal on 4-13-18: We got to Sacramento at 1, had Chinese food for lunch & walked around Downtown. We saw Downtown Commons, Cesar Chavez Square, Cathedral Square, K Street Mall, the California State Capitol Building & Capitol Park. Downtown Sacramento was not very impressive. It covered a small area. There were few people on the streets. Many buildings were empty, soon to be demolished & replaced. The tallest building had 43 floors & there were only 17 buildings over 20 floors. The renovation at Downtown Commons was almost finished & nicely done. Chavez Square was pleasing, the center of Downtown. The Capitol was a beautiful old building, partly a museum. The interior was lovely, especially the rotunda. 
The California State Capitol in Sacramento sits at the west end of Capitol Park, facing west on 10th Street between L St & N St. The California State Capitol was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 & named a California Historical Landmark in 1974. The neoclassical structure was built between 1861 & 1874 with major renovations between 1975 & 1982. Neoclassical architecture attempted to replicate the architectural style & details in ancient Greece. The building was based on the United States Capitol in Washington DC.  But the California State Capitol is smaller & better proportioned. The California Senate chamber seats 40 members. The California Assembly chamber is located at the opposite end of the building. Almost identical to the Senate chamber, it accommodates 80 members. Two new Capitol buildings were completed in 1928, the State Library & the Courts Building. The East Annex was completed in 1952, creating offices for the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, legislators & other state officials. It has quite a different, modern style.

Friday, November 6, 2020

Old Sacramento

Steel Bridge, a local landmark seen from Old Sacramento Waterfront. Photos taken in April 2018.

Click here for more photos of Old Sacramento.

From my travel journal on 4-9-18: We flew to Sacramento from Seattle & arrived before 11 AM. We rented a car. We drove to Robert Matsui Waterfront Park. The causeway to the modern, architecturally striking water intake structure was closed, but we could see it clearly from the riverbank. The Sacramento River was high from heavy rain 3 days before. Trees along the riverbank were standing in water. We drove a short distance to Old Sacramento, also on the Sacramento River Waterfront. It was a very charming area filled with shops & restaurants in wooden 19th century buildings, older than any in Seattle. It had an "Old West" feel with covered sidewalks of wooden boards.

Old Sacramento State Historic Park is a National Historic Landmark District. The City of Sacramento began at Sutter's Fort, more than 2 miles from the Sacramento River & more than 1 mile from the place Sutter's party landed on the south bank of the American River & established a camp in 1839. The settlers moved to Sutter's Fort in 1841. In 1848, gold was found during the construction of  a sawmill on the American River. People rushed to find gold & the fort was largely deserted by 1850. When the Gold Rush began, local merchant Sam Brannan opened a store near the Sacramento River. First called Sutter’s Embarcadero, it soon became the City of Sacramento. The city grew rapidly as a center for outfitting miners.

Old Sacramento Historic District covers the area between the river & Interstate 5, I St & the Capitol Mall.  It is a relatively small district of 8 short streets from 2 to 4 blocks long. Almost all the buildings date from the mid-19th century, beginning after the fire of 1852. After varying amounts restoration, they look much like they originally did. While the architecture is Victorian, some buildings have characteristics such as large arched doorways, full-height balcony windows & wrought-iron balconies that show a Spanish influence. The buildings are filled with restaurants, gift shops & other tourist businesses.  While the shops can be a bit tacky, the facades of the buildings & the district a whole seem quite authentic. Old Sacramento State Historic Park attracts over 5 million visitors annually.