Sutter’s Fort

Sacramento, California


Sutter’s Fort was a 19th-century agricultural and trade colony in the Mexican Alta California-province. The site of the fort was established in 1839 and originally called New Helvetia (New Switzerland) by its builder John Sutter, though construction of the fort proper wouldn’t begin until 1841. The fort was the first non-Indigenous community in the California Central Valley.

Sutter’s Fort
February 2020

The fort is famous for its association with the Donner Party, the California Gold Rush, and the formation of Sacramento. It is notable for its proximity to the end of the California Trail and Siskiyou Trails, which it served as a waystation. After gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill (also owned by John Sutter) in Coloma on January 24, 1848, the fort was abandoned.

Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1961
Imagining life as an early pioneer.

I asked Oliva why she wouldn’t smile and she said the early pioneers never smiled because life was hard.

Do you like to visit historical landmarks too?


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