As a quick intro for those who are not familiar with Sutter's Fort, Johann Augustus Sutter was a German immigrant who came to the U.S. in 1834. In 1840 he began building what would become a large adobe fort. It became a temporary refuge for pioneers between 1841 and 1849, including a group of 47 survivors from the Donner Party expedition. In 1847, Mr. Sutter contracted to build a sawmill about 50 miles from the fort, when one of the workers discovered gold. Not able to keep it a secret, the gold rush proved to be the downfall of the fort, as would-be miners overtook much of the land.
For starters, I tried to get a group photo of the kids under the sign. It didn't work very well. The sun was so bright that Conman insisted on standing in the shade, so that's why he looks like he's hiding in the back. And Lulu was busy trying to see what he was doing back there, so all I shot of her was the side of her head. The little cutie in the stroller is my niece Heidye, who came along with Grandma for the ride.
When you enter the fort, you pay admission ($6 for adults, $4 for kids, 5 & under free) and are given a map of the grounds and an informative printout of the history of the fort. As soon as we walked in, the fort bell rang indicating that a musket firing demonstration was underway. This gentleman showed the crowd how a musket was loaded and fired.
Next, we walked through an orientation room that, through photos, documents, artifacts and exhibits, took us through a history of Johann Augustus Sutter's life. There was also some other interesting facts about the gold rush, Donner Party and early California history. One of Blakester's favorites was Patty Reed's little doll, which survived the trek of the Donner Party. He read the book Patty Reed's Doll earlier this year and it was very neat to see it in person. One would imagine it was a large item, but in reality, is only a couple of inches tall.
Here is a fuzzy photo of the kids in what was the jail area. It's fuzzy due to all the dust floating around in there. No windows and underground. Yuk.
We wandered in and out of several shops, enjoyed the beautiful weather, perused the unusual items for sale and stocked up on salt-water taffy at the candy store.