Sutter's Fort

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Sutter's Fort State Historic Park is a state-protected park in Sacramento, California which includes Sutter's Fort and the California State Indian Museum. Begun in 1839 and originally called "New Helvetia" (New Switzerland) by its builder, John Sutter, the fort was a 19th century agricultural and trade colony in California.[3][4] The fort was the first non-Native American community in the California Central Valley.[5] 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 for which it served as a waystation.

After gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill (also owned by Sutter) in Coloma, the fort was abandoned.[2][6] The adobe structure has been restored to its original condition and is now administered by California State Parks, although threatened with closure. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1961.[2]



The compound was built near the junction of the American and Sacramento Rivers and is located at what is now the intersection of 27th and L Streets in the Midtown neighborhood of the city of Sacramento, California.


The Main Building of the fort is a two story adobe structure built between 1841 and 1843. This building is the only original surviving structure at the reconstructed Sutter's Fort State Historic Park. It was in here on January 28, 1848 that James Marshall met privately with Sutter in order to show Sutter the gold that Marshall had found during the construction of Sutter's sawmill along the American River only four days earlier. Sutter built the original fort with walls 2.5 feet (0.76 m) thick and 15 to 18 feet (5.5 m) high.[7]

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