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California State Capitol Museum
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Located in California’s Central Valley, Sacramento is the capital of the state of California. The city can trace its roots to the 1840s when John Sutter established his fort in the area that is now called Old Town Sacramento. The city grew and thrived through the California Gold Rush, the addition of California as a U. S. state in 1850, and the city’s eventual selection as the state’s capital. It was named after one of its most important economic resources, the Sacramento River.
Sacramento was not originally the capitol of California. In fact, it did not become the capital until 1854. Monterey, San José, Vallejo, and Benicia were all hosts of the legislature prior to Sacramento, and San Francisco was a temporary home to the state’s government for a year even after Sacramento was selected. It was not until 1879, nearly 30 years after Californian statehood, that Sacramento was declared the permanent capital of the state.
State Capitol and MuseumThe state capitol building was built in the mid-1800s. Today, it is a registered National Historic Landmark. The building was modeled after the United States Capitol in Washington D.C.
On the exterior, the building boasts Corinthian pillars surrounding a huge, elaborate dome, which sits above granite archways on the ground level along with more Corinthian columns. When you see the capitol you will immediately notice its resemblance to the White House.
The capitol building is the home of the state legislature and the governor’s office. During the legislative sessions, you can watch the elected representatives conducting business in the elaborate legislative chambers, which were modeled after the rooms in the British Parliament. A huge gas chandelier used to hang above the chambers. Today, a very exacting electric replica graces the room.
The capitol is more than just a place of business. It is also a museum dedicated to the great state of California and houses historic paintings, prized sculptures, elaborate murals, and rooms that stage rotating exhibits. Of course, the building itself is quite a piece of historic art with its amazing architecture, brilliant tile groupings, and exquisite mosaics. Both guided and unguided tours are available.
Capitol ParkThe area directly surrounding the state capitol building is known as ‘Capitol Park’. The expansive and lush 40-acre park has thousands of trees from around the world. There are also flowers and plants, both native and imported, which range from the rose to the cactus. In the spring and summer, when the flowers have bloomed and are at their peak, the park is simply gorgeous.
An immaculate hiking trail will take you on an hour’s trip through the stunning grounds. In addition to the trees and flowers, there are hundreds of memorials ranging from the Apollo 14 Moon Tree, the bell from the famed battleship the USS California , and the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial to the World Peace Rose Garden.
When in Sacramento, the Capitol Building and Museum along with the Capitol Park are must-see sights. They can be adequately seen in as little as a couple of hours, but there is enough to see and do that you can easily make an entire day of it.
Getting ThereDriving: The State Capitol can be accessed by the I-80 or the I-5.
From the I-80 East, exit the I-5 to Redding, exit Q Street and turn on 10th street. Signs will direct you the rest of the way. From the 1-80 West, exit P Street and turn on 10th.
From the I-5 North, exit Q street then turn on 10th, and from the I-5 South exit J Street, turn on 3d, turn on N and then turn onto 10th.
Sacramento International Airport (SMF) is only 15 minutes from downtown Sacramento by way of the I5. You can take a taxi to downtown, or the bus (bus 42A) can be caught from the airport as well.
Amtrak's Coast Starlight and California Zephyr both run through Sacramento. The Starlight runs from Seattle to Los Angeles with connections in San Francisco, Portland, Oakland, San José, and Santa Barbara. The Zephyr connects to San Francisco, Reno, Salt Lake City, Denver, Omaha, and Chicago. The Amtrak station is in downtown Sacramento, only moments away from the capitol. While it is a little bit of a hike, you could walk from the train station, but you would be better off taking a taxi either from the train station or from your hotel.
Greyhound bus has service to Sacramento from many areas across the country. There is a station near the capitol.
The city has an extensive bus system. Ask at you hotel for the correct numbers and connections. You will want to ask for the SCS bus (Sacramento State Capitol).
Other Things to See and DoWhen in the area, be sure to visit some of the other amazing attractions in Sacramento. A few of the more exciting sites include Old Town Sacramento with Sutter’s Fort and the California State Railway Museum, the Crocker Art Museum, and the William Land Park.
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Author: Robert. Last updated: Mar 19, 2015