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Sacramento, California

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Sacramento is the county seat of Sacramento County, California and the capital of the U.S. state of California. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 407,018. It was founded in December, 1848 by John Sutter Jr.[?]. Sacramento was an outgrowth of Sutter's Fort which was established by his father Captain John Sutter in 1839.

During the gold rush Sacramento was a major distribution point, a commercial and agricultural center, and terminus for wagon train[?], stagecoach, riverboat[?], telegraph, Pony Express, and the First Transcontinental Railroad.

The city covers around 96 square miles, with a population of 407,018 in 2000 (the population was 275,741 in 1980). It is located at the confluence of the Sacramento River and the American River, and is a deepwater port via a channel to Suisun Bay[?]. It is the shipping, rail, processing[?], and marketing center for the Sacramento Valley[?], where fruit, vegetables, rice, wheat, and dairy goods are produced, cattle is raised, and food processing[?] is a major industry.

Elevation: 18 feet. Latitude: 38 31N. Longitude: 121 30W. Sacramento is located around 85 miles northeast of San Francisco, California on Interstate 80, 135 miles southwest of Reno, Nevada on Interstate-80, and 385 miles north of Los Angeles on Interstate 5.

Table of contents

History Past and Present Mayors

The Lost Frontier

Miwok, Shonommey and Maidu Indians lived in this area for perhaps thousands of years. Unlike the settlers that would eventually make Sacramento their home, these Indians would leave little evidence of their existence. Their diet was dominated with acorns taken from the plentiful oak trees in the region and by eating fruits, bulbs, seeds, and roots throughout the year.

The Spanish explorer Gabriel Moraga[?] discovered and named the Sacramento Valley and the Sacramento River after the Spanish term for "holy sacrament", in either 1806 or 1808.

From Pioneers to Gold Fever

The pioneer John Sutter arrived in the Sacramento area with other settlers in August, 1839 and established the trading colony Sutter's Fort (also called New Helvetia[?]) in 1840. Gold was subsequently discovered in Sutter's Mill (located in nearby Coloma[?]) in 1848, leading to a large increase in population as gold-seekers came to the area. John Sutter Jr. then planned the City of Sacramento, against the wishes of his father, naming the city after the Sacramento River for commercial reasons. He hired topographical engineer William H. Warner[?] to draft the official layout of the city. However, a bitterness grew between the elder Sutter and his son as Sacramento became an overnight commercial success (Sutter's Fort, Mill and the town of Sutterville[?], that were all founded by John Sutter Sr., would eventually fail).

The part of Sacramento originally laid out by William Warner is situated just east and south of where the American River meets the Sacramento River (though over time it has grown to extend significantly north, south, and east of there). A number of directly adjacent towns or cities enlarge the overall greater Sacramento area to a much larger size.

The citizens of Sacramento adopted a city charter in 1849, which was recognized by the state legislature in 1850. Sacramento is the oldest incorporated city in California. During the early 1850's the Sacramento valley was devastated by floods, fires and from cholera epidemics. Despite this, because of its position just downstream from the Mother Lode[?] in the Sierra Nevada mountains, the newfound city grew, quickly reaching a population of 10,000.

Capital City

California's Capitol larger image
After a few years of wandering throughout the State, the California Legislature[?] named Sacramento as the permanent home of the State Capital in 1854. Built to be reminiscent of the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C., this Renaissance Revival[?] style granite building was not completed until 1874. With its newfound status and strategic location, Sacramento quickly prospered and became the western end of the Pony Express, and later the First Transcontinental Railroad (which began construction in Sacramento in 1863 and was financed by the "Big Four" - Mark Hopkins[?], Charles Crocker[?], Collis P. Huntington[?] and Leland Stanford).

The same rivers that earlier brought death and destruction began to provide increasing levels of transportation and commerce. Both the American and especially Sacramento rivers would be key elements in economic success of the city. In fact, Sacramento effectively controlled commerce on these rivers, and public works projects were funded though taxes levied on goods unloaded from boats and loaded onto rail cars in the historic Sacramento Rail Yards[?].

Sacramentans raised the level of the city by landfill. The previous first floors of buildings became the basements, in an effort to control the flooding. Now both rivers are used extensively for watersports. The American River is off limits to boats and has become an international attraction for rafters. The Sacramento River sees many boaters, who can make day trips to nearby sloughs or go all along the Delta to the Bay Area and San Francisco. The 'Delta King' , which for a long time lay on the bottom of the river, was refurbished and is now a popular hotel and restaurant.

The Modern Era

Sacramento became a port (79 nautical miles northeast of San Francisco) when a schooner loaded with iron and steel arrived at the wharf in downtown Sacramento. Ships bringing mining tools and equipment, to Sacramento and its nearby gold fields enabled the river port to prosper.

Major Paul Norboe, assistant state engineer for California, saw Sacramento's potential as a port in 1916, and he campaigned for a deeper harbor. Norboe's efforts convinced the state and the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce to make a feasibility study for a deep-water channel and harbor. At the end of World War II, Mr. William G. 'Bill' Stone (later considered "The Father of the Port of Sacramento") convinced the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers[?] to restudy the deep-water project. The Corps' study proposed a 43-mile channel cut to Lake Washington in Yolo County[?], in what is now the City of West Sacramento. The channel would begin at the Sacramento River near Rio Vista, California.

The U.S. Congress authorized the Sacramento port construction project in July 1946, signed by President Harry S Truman. Roy Deary, president of the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce, appointed a port district organization committee, with meetings held with the County and the City. The Sacramento-Yolo Port District was created in 1947, with the ground breaking ceremony in 1949.

The first major storage facility at the port was a 500,000-bushel capacity grain elevator (later expanded to 875,000 bushels), which received its first truck shipments of wheat in 1950. On June 29th[?], 1963, with 5,000 spectators waiting to welcome her, the Motor Vessel Taipei Victory arrived. The Port was open for business. The Nationalist Chinese flag ship, freshly painted for the historic event, was loaded with 5,000 tons of bagged rice for Mitsui Trading Co. Its destination was Okinawa. Carried on deck were 1,000 tons of logs for Japan. She was the first ocean-going vessel in Sacramento since the steamship Harpoon in 1934.

The city's current charter was adopted by voters in 1920, establishing a city council and city manager form of government, still used today.

The city of North Sacramento incorporated in 1924, and merged into the city of Sacramento in 1964.

Sacramento Today

The current mayor is Heather Fargo. The city hosts two professional basketball teams, the Sacramento Kings (NBA), and the Sacramento Monarchs (WNBA). In addition, Sacramento also has a minor league baseball team called the Sacramento Rivercats[?] (affiliate of the Oakland Athletics).

The California State Fair[?] is held in Sacramento in the latter weeks of the summer (ending on Labor Day). Over one million people attended this state fair in 2001.

Sacramento is also home to California State University at Sacramento, founded as the Sacramento State College in 1947, with a 2000 enrollment of around 27,000. The Los Rios Community College District hosts several 2-year colleges, American River College, Consumnes River College, Sacramento City College, plus several other educational centers.

The primary newspaper is the Sacramento Bee[?], founded in 1857 (http://www.sacbee.com). It's rival, The Sacramento Union started publishing six years earlier, in 1851. Before it closed its doors in 1994, it was the oldest daily newspaper west of the Mississippi. The Union also had a familiar reporter -- Mark Twain, who worked at the Union in 1866.

Geography According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 257.0 km² (99.2 mi²). 251.6 km² (97.2 mi²) of it is land and 5.4 km² (2.1 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 2.10% water.

Demographics As of the census of 2000, there are 407,018 people, 154,581 households, and 91,202 families residing in the city. The population density is 1,617.4/km² (4,189.2/mi²). There are 163,957 housing units at an average density of 651.5/km² (1,687.5/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 48.29% White, 15.47% African American, 1.30% Native American, 16.62% Asian, 0.95% Pacific Islander, 10.96% from other races, and 6.41% from two or more races. 21.61% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 154,581 households out of which 30.2% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.4% are married couples living together, 15.4% have a female householder with no husband present, and 41.0% are non-families. 32.0% of all households are made up of individuals and 9.2% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.57 and the average family size is 3.35.

In the city the population is spread out with 27.3% under the age of 18, 10.4% from 18 to 24, 30.7% from 25 to 44, 20.2% from 45 to 64, and 11.4% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 33 years. For every 100 females there are 94.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 91.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $37,049, and the median income for a family is $42,051. Males have a median income of $35,946 versus $31,318 for females. The per capita income for the city is $18,721. 20.0% of the population and 15.3% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 29.5% are under the age of 18 and 9.0% are 65 or older.

Climate Sacramento has a Mediterranean climate[?] that is characterised by mild winters and dry summers. The area usually has low humidity. Light rain usually occurs between December and February. The average temperature throughout the year is 61 Fahrenheit, with the daily average ranging from 46 in December and January to 76 in July. Daily high temperatures range from 53 in December and January to 93 in July. Daily low temperatures range from 38 to 58. The average year has 73 days with a high over 90, with the highest temperature on record being 114 on July 17, 1925, and 18 days when the low drops below 32, with the coldest day on record being December 11, 1932, at 17.

Average yearly precipitation is 17.4 inches, with almost no rain during the summer months, to an average rainfall of 3.7 inches in January. It rains on average 58 days of the year. In February of 1992, Sacramento had 16 consecutive days of rain (6.41 inches). A record 7.24 inches of rain fell on April 20, 1880.

On average, 96 days in the year have fog, mostly in the morning, primarily in December and January.

The record snowfall was recorded on January 4, 1888, at 3.5 inches.

External Links The City's official web site is at http://www.cityofsacramento.org/

Other cities in the United States that are also called "Sacramento":
Sacramento, Colorado[?], Sacramento, Illinois[?], Sacramento, Kentucky, Sacramento, Nebraska[?], Sacramento, New Mexico[?], Sacramento, Pennsylvania[?]

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