In the heart of Midtown Sacramento, Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park captures the pioneer spirit of families arriving in wagon trains at the dawn of the California Gold Rush. John Sutter built the Fort and his agricultural empire, was critical in the rescue of the tragic Donner Party and served as a diplomat with the Mexican government until it all came crashing down in 1848. A fascinating place to visit for history field trips, kids and adults!
 

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January 17, 2015

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Visitor Information

 

Visitor Information

 

In 1839 a Swiss immigrant named John Sutter received a land grant in the Sacramento Valley from the Mexican government. He used the land to create a flourishing agricultural empire and named it New Helvetia (New Switzerland.) This empire established Sacramento’s earliest settlement and the first non-Indian settlement in California’s Central Valley.

 

In 1847 Sutter sent aid to the Donner Party, a group of immigrants trapped in a winter storm in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Word spread and Sutter became known for his hospitality and for providing temporary refuge to travelers. This reputation made New Helvetia the destination for early immigrants to California.
Less than a decade after they were established, Sutter’s properties were overrun by gold seekers and the fort is all that remains of New Helvetia. It has been restored to its former state based on an 1847 map published in Darmstadt, Germany and is open Tuesday - Sunday for tours.

 

For general Sutter's Fort information please call (916) 445-4422