On our tour of Old Sacramento this weekend, the guide asked..."and what was the major event happening in December 1861? That's right. The great flood of 1861." Wait? What? I'm confused? What are you talking about? In December of 1861 the Civil War was in full swing. First shots fired in April. Do you want me to go on?
Guess what? It turns our there were other things besides the Civil War going on in 1861. Who knew!?! Certainly not the east coasters on the tour. Neither Rob nor I had ever heard of this flood. Due to a perfect storm of events, over 5,000 square miles of California was under water - up to thirty feet of water!! (I read about it on Wikipedia.) We had no idea.
My whole world view is changing since moving to the west coast. You want to know about the Revolutionary War or Civil War? I'm your gal. Anything west of the Mississippi is a little hazy. I know there are states west of the Mississippi River. I could even name most of them. Probably couldn't put them on a map. (Can't we just refer to them as the Louisiana Purchase?) It's just a big mass of retangular states with California on the other side. Turns out, there is a whole lot of history that I know nothing about.
We took the boys on an overnight trip to Old Sacramento. I had heard about the California State Railroad Museum, and it sounded pretty awesome. The museum lived up to it's reputation! We were there for and hour and a half and didn't see everything. My youngest was doing a happy-hippity-hop dance everywhere we went. It's less like a museum and more like a children's interactive museum. Why are trains so big here? The Big Four that funded the the transcontinental railroad were in Sacramento. The terminus of the railroad was in Sacramento. Fascinating.
What an awesome afternoon. We climbed in trains, tried our hand at driving a steam engine and a high speed bullet train. All of the docents were friendly and helpful. What more could you ask for? If you have a chance, definitely check out the museum!
The museum is right on the edge of Old Sacramento. So, you can make a whole day of it.
Old Sacramento is the location of the original state capitol and is a registered historic landmark. It's a mixture of original, refurbished buildings and reconstructed buildings. The area was developed during the late 60's and early 70's in exchange for the interstate overpass going through next door. It's a nice, pleasant, busy, easily walkable area right along the Sacramento River.
The only thing that surprised me was the trash. For a place that attracts more than a million people a year, I would think they would be a little more on top of the trash in the streets and the over-flowing trash cans. (You can see the trash all over the sidewalk in the picture. I was surprised.) But, I'm being picky. It's a very nice area and we had lots of fun.
On Sunday morning, we walked around and checked things out along the Sacramento River. Including, one serious draw bridge.
This is a California State Park and I have to say it is incredibly well done. The rooms and demonstrations are elaborate and interesting. They also acknowledge that there will be families and kids here. We could actually move around pretty freely. For awhile, we just sat and talked. (One of us was talking to himself.)
Overall, we had a great weekend and opened our eyes to a whole new sense of our country's history. Plus, I have to thank Rob for all of these photos. I barely even take my phone out anymore because I have a personal photographer with me. I knew I kept him around for some reason.