Monday, November 21, 2011

Sutter's Fort State Historic Park

Sutter's Fort is a recreation of the fort built by John Sutter in 1840.  A German born Swiss, Sutter secured a Mexican land grant of over 47,000 acres by becoming a Mexican citizen.  He sought to establish a self sufficient colony which he called New Helvetica (New Switzerland).
 He had a successful farming operation, growing barley, peas, beans and cotton in addition to wheat.  He raised cattle, sheep, horses and mules.
Carpentry shop
Grain mill
Blanket Factory
Distillery
Of course, who could imagine a frontier outpost without whiskey?

 
Docents in period costume explain and demonstrate life at the fort.  Many displays have audio explanations that turn on when the visitor approaches.

Sutter's colony did not last long.  John Marshall's discovery of gold in 1848 at the lumber mill he ran for Sutter was the beginning of the end.  Sutter could not hold his land against the hordes of gold seekers that began coming to California in 1849 and the American courts did not recognize his Mexican land grants. 

By 1860 all that remained of Sutter's Fort was the central building.  In 1890 the site was purchased by the Native Sons of the Golden West and reconstruction was started a year later based on a map that had been published in Germany in 1847.

Today the Fort is a living history museum, a place where school children can come and learn about life in 19th century California and get some hands on experience in some of the skill that were needed then.



This is one view of our amazing world, see other views at Our World, Tuesday, hosted for us by Arija, Gattina, Lady Fi, Sylvia and Sandy.

19 comments:

Sylvia K said...

A wonderful post, superb captures and fascinating history, Martha. I would love to visit there. Hope your week is off to a good start!

Sylvia

Mama Zen said...

What a neat place to visit!

Gary said...

Great post Martha!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

EG Wow said...

Oh, I didn't know Sutter was not able to keep all his land! How fascinating!

Gaelyn said...

Used to pass the Fort as a kid when visiting my Grandparents in Sacto but no adults wanted to stop. Thanks for the tour of this interesting place. They tried.

aka Penelope said...

I wonder how heartbreaking it was to have lost all this during the gold rush. The educational legacy is certainly of value, however, in the New Switzerland that lost its chance to flourish.

Lesley said...

That must have been heartbreaking to have it all go under so quickly.

Kathiesbirds said...

How interesting! I love living history museums. How I hate it that whenever the budget needs to be cut that education and state parks are some of the first to feel the cuts!

Arija said...

Ah, the days without a Walmart nearby. I wonder how many small communities could survive today without running water, electricity and no handy shops to buy at? I could, but thee would not be that many others who can still grow their own food and make their own blankets and cookware.

J Bar said...

Interesting post.

Esther Garvi said...

What an intriguing place!

Andrew said...

Wonderful images and a lovely post to read...

Barb said...

Like stepping back in history! Just wanted to visit to wish you and Jules a very Happy Thanksgiving, Martha. I've been off-line awhile playing with visiting Grands.

Leovi said...

Magnificent photos, now seems an interesting museum. Good job. Greetings.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

I love this kind of stuff. Great post. I'm glad somebody recognized its historical value and preserved it for future generations to look at.

Judy said...

I love learning about the good old days, and I am ever so thankful I don't live then!

NatureFootstep said...

I like old stuff thike this. But I feel sad that it is not in use anymore. It is great tools.

Raine said...

A great place to visit. New Helvetica? Reminds me of a font of the same name :D

Walter said...

Wonderful photography - wonderful story!
Drive 2013 "Sutter's Mill" - Education Travel California.

In 1849 the information into gold discoveries had come to Germany - John A. Sutter on everyone's lips. Emigranten/Goldsucher: "We're going to Sutter - gold, gold, gold in abundance!"
Then speculators and swindlers - it was no good for the nation after the 1848 revolution and poverty. Many were lured, be emigrants. 9220 km as the crow flies but even at that time were no obstacle for information, but there was a problem: the departure had to be approved by the authorities, and it took. Some emigrants were traveling illegally - they had better maps, but they had miscalculated in terms of travel time ...
Several families sold according to historical chronicles of land or possessions to make the trip across the Elbe to Hamburg and then to New Orleans to finance - the thaler was favorable. Then there was a problem - about 2000 miles were still up there in the areas of Auburn, Coloma and Grass Valley. The trip took a total of seven months - if everything went smoothly. Literature: "The gold of the Sierra Nevada," Adventure, AAVAA-publishing house, Berlin, 2012. Or: "The gold of the Sierra Nevada, AAVAA-Verlag, Berlin.