Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Sacramento

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SACRAMENTO, a city of the United States, the capital of California and the county seat of Sacramento county, 135 miles by rail north-east of San Francisco on the east bank of the Sacramento river, which at this point receives the American river and becomes navigable for large steamboats. The site is only 15 feet above low water of the river, or 30 above sea-level, and as the river sometimes rises 20 feet the city was originally subject to destructive floods. Those of 1850, 1852, and 1853, however, led to the raising of the level of the principal streets and buildings in the business quarter by 5 feet, and to the construction of strong levees or embankments, from 4 to 20 feet high for 2 miles along the Sacramento and 3 along the American river. Further measures of the same kind were adopted after the disaster of 1861, which almost rendered the city bankrupt; and the level of the principal districts is now 8 feet above the river. The shops and stores in the city are mostly of brick, but the dwelling-houses generally only of wood. The State capitol, commenced in 1861 and completed at a cost of $2,500,000, is one of the finest buildings of its kind in the States; it stands in the heart of the city in the midst of a park of 50 acres. The other public buildings—the State printing-office and armoury, the agricultural hall, the Oddfellows' hall, the hospital, the grammar-school, &c.—are comparatively unimportant. Besides the State library (36,000 volumes) there are two other public libraries in the city. The number of industrial establishments has recently been rapidly increasing; they comprise the extensive workshops of the Central Pacific Railroad, a woollen-mill, carriage-factories, plough-factories, marble-works, breweries, potteries, glue-works, &c. The population was 6820 in 1850, 13,785 in 1860, 16,283 in 1870 (6202 foreigners, 1370 Chinese), and 21,420 in 1880 (7048 foreigners, 1781 Chinese).

In 1841 John Augustus Sutter (b. 1803), a Swiss military officer,

obtained a grant of land at the junction of the Sacramento and American rivers, and made a settlement which he called New Helvetia. The discovery of gold on his property in 1848 changed the whole history of California. Sutter's Fort, as the spot was popularly called, became the site of a mining town, which was made the capital of the State in 1854, and obtained a city charter in 1863. The name of Sacramento was first applied to the place in the

advertisement for the sale of ground-lots in 1848.