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1911 Encyclopedia Britannica


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the capital of California, U.S.A., and the county-seat of Sacramento county, 91 m. (by rail) N.E. of San Francisco, on the eastern bank of the Sacramento river, about 61 m. above its mouth, at the point where it is joined by the American. Pop. (1850) 6820, (1890) 26,386, (1900) 29,282, of whom 6723 were foreign-born (1371 Germans, 1293 Irish, 964 Chinese, 655 English, 446 English Canadian and 337 Japanese) and 402 were negroes, (1910, census) 44,696. Land area (1906) 4.49 sq. m. Sacramento is on the direct eastward line to Ogden, Utah, of the Southern (once the Central) Pacific railway (which has its main shops here), the starting point of the Southern Pacific line to Portland, Oregon, the terminus of several shorter branches of the Southern Pacific and on the Western Pacific, which has repair shops here, and it is served by interurban electric railways connecting with places in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys. The city is about zoo m. below Red Bluff, the head of river navigation for boats drawing 2 or 22 ft. of water; for boats drawing 4 to 5 ft. Colusa, 91 m. above Sacramento, is the head of navigation; at low water, vessels drawing 7 ft. of water go up the river to Sacramento. There are two daily steamer lines to San Francisco, besides freight lines.

The city site is level (formerly in many parts 5 ft. below floodlevel of the river) and is about 30 ft. above sea-level, and the street plan is rectangular. The business quarter has been filled in, and levees have been built along the Sacramento and American rivers. The climate is mild: the average annual temperature is 605° F.; average for winter months, 483°; for spring, 59 5 for summer, 71.7°; for autumn, 61.5°; average rainfall, 1 9.94 in.; average number of clear days per annum, 244. The principal buildings are: a very fine state capitol (cornerstone laid, 1860; completed, 1874) in a wooded park of 35 acres, in which is an Insectary where parasites of injurious insects are propagated; Roman Catholic and Protestant Episcopal cathedrals; the county court-house; the city hall; the public library (in 1908, 41,400 volumes); and the Crocker Art Gallery, which was presented to the city by the widow of Judge E. B. Crocker, one of the founders of the Central Pacific, with an art school and an exhibit of the minerals of the state. There is a state library of 140,000 volumes in the capitol; connected with it are travelling libraries sent out through the rural districts of the state. In Sacramento are the large state printing establishment, in which, in addition to other books and documents, text-books for the entire state school system are printed; the College of the Christian Brothers, Howe's Academy, Atkinson's Business College, St Joseph's Academy, the Stanford-Lathrop Memorial Home for Friendless Girls (1900), under the Sisters of Mercy, two other orphanages, the Southern Pacific Railway Hospital (1868), the Mater Misericordiae Hospital (1895, Sisters of Mercy), Wentworth Hospital, a City Receiving Hospital (1884), the Marguerite Home (for old ladies), the Mater Misericordiae Home (1895, Sisters of Mercy) and the Peniel Rescue Home (1899). Just outside the city limits is the State Agricultural Pavilion, with race track and live-stock exhibition grounds (where the State Agricultural Society holds its annual "State Exposition" in September).

The city has a large wholesale trade. Its prosperity rests upon that of the splendid Sacramento Valley, a country of grain and fruit farms, along whose eastern side lie the gold-producing counties of the state. It is the centre of the greatest deciduous fruit region of California, and shipped about 11,000 car-loads east of the Rocky Mountains in 1909. Sacramento derives electric power from Folsom, on the American river, 22 m. away, and from Colgate, on the Yuba river, 119 m. distant. The manufacturing interests of the city are large and varied: the city's manufactures include flour (1905, value $1,172,747), lumber, distilled liquors, canned and preserved vegetables and fruits, packed meats, cigars and harness. In 1905 the total value of the factory product was $10,319,416. In 1909 the assessed valuation of the city was about $30,400,000, and the bonded indebtedness about $1,10o,000. The city owns its own water system, which has a capacity of 22 million gallons daily, and is a financial success.

In 1839 John Augustus Sutter (1803-1880), a Swiss military officer, was allowed to erect a fort on the then frontier of California, on the present site of Sacramento. He became a Mexican official (1840), and in 1841 obtained from the Mexican government a grant of 11 square leagues of land. Sutter's fort, or "New Helvetia" (a reproduction of which, with a historical museum, in Fort Sutter Park, is one of the objects of interest in the city), was on the direct line of overland immigration from the East, and its position - purposely selected by Sutter with a view to freedom of interference from Mexican officials - made Sutter a man of great importance in the last years of the Mexican regime. After the discovery of gold in 1848, made on Sutter's land, near the present Coloma, about 45 m. E.N.E. of Sacramento, several rival towns were started on Sutter's property near the fort. Of these fortune finally favoured Sacramento - a name already frequently applied to the fort, and adopted for the name of the settlement about its embarcadero or river landing in 1848. The first sale of town lots was in January 1849. Here began the determined movement for the organization of a state government. The extraordinary richness of the placer mines of '49 caused the city to grow with wonderful rapidity. In October 1849 its population was probably 2000, in December 4000 and a year later 10,000. Trouble with land "squatters" almost led to local war in. 1850. In 1849 the city offered $1,000,000 for the honour of being the state capital, which it finally secured in February 1854 (the legislature having already met here once in 1851). Between November 1849 and January 1853 the city was thrice devastated by fearful floods, and it was two-thirds destroyed by fire in November 1852; but though these misfortunes caused a collapse of inflated realty values they did not seriously cripple the city in its development. A city government was organized in August 1849, and in February 1850 this government was incorporated, and in 1863 reincorporated; the city and county governments were consolidated from 1858 to 1863; and a new city charter was received in 1893, coming into effect in 1894. The first local steam railway of California was opened from Sacramento in 18J5, and here in 1863 was begun the building of the Central Pacific railway across the Sierras, the first train from the Atlantic coast reaching Sacramento in May 1869. In 1862 there was another flood, the most destructive in the history of the city; since then the measures taken for protection have secured safety from the river. The government of the city in the 'fifties was excessively corrupt and expensive. Progress since the end of the flush mining days has been steady and conservative.

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Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Sacramento'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. 1910.

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