Sutter’s Fort Commemorates 175 Years on August 16th

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – On Saturday, August 16, 2014, California State Parks and Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park (SHP) will present a special “Hands on History” event commemorating John Sutter’s arrival to the Sacramento region 175 years ago that led to the building of Sutter’s Fort, the discovery of gold and the founding of the City of Sacramento.  As background, John Sutter landed on the bank of the American River in August of 1839 and went on to found the New Helvetia area on which Sutter’s Fort was later constructed.

To commemorate Sutter’s arrival 175 years later, Sutter’s Fort SHP is presenting an interactive and interpretive event that will include a number of special activities for Fort visitors.  Some of the planned activities include the following: the arrival of a wagon — provided by Top Hand Ranch – that will transport local dignitaries from Sutter’s Landing to the Fort as the Park opens for the day; rarely-seen Sutter family and Fort artifacts on display such as a work boot that purportedly worn by Sutter and a geography book that belonged to Sutter that was published in 1838 when he first set out for California; and special guests on-site (some offering presentations throughout the day) by the Native Sons and Native Daughters of the Golden West, Sacramento Helvetia Verein, Sacramento County Historical Society, Rick Adams of the Hutu Anape Cultural Association and Sutter’s family descendants.

Plus, a few of the interactive activities and stations set-up for the day include the following: a stencil rubbing station of John Sutter’s brand (once used on cattle, horses, mules, sheep and his property as well); a pioneer dress-up station where families dress as pioneers (perfect for picture-taking!); pen and quill activity station;  period-appropriate laundry station; period games for kids; a corn husk doll craft station; cooking demonstrations using iron ware with tastings of food prepared in the outdoor brick bake oven, and a display of guns and weapons from the Gold Rush era complete with demonstrations of black powder weaponry highlighted by the crowd-favorite firing of Sutter’s cannon.

And, because the 175th anniversary of Sutter’s Fort happens the same year that California State Parks is celebrating its 150th anniversary, Fort visitors will have the opportunity to watch a short pictorial history of California State Parks and find out how the anniversary commemoration for California State Parks and Yosemite evolved. Presented by Mike Lynch, co-chair of the California State Parks 150th Anniversary Committee, the special presentation will include a showing of the Ken Burns film Yosemite: A Gathering of Spirit.

More information about the 175th commemorative “Hands on History” event is available at