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About Sacramento

Sacramento is the capital of the State of California and the county seat of Sacramento County. Located in California's expansive Central Valley, it is the seventh most populous city in California with a 2007 estimated population of 467,343.[1] Sacramento is the core cultural and economic center of its four-county metropolitan area (El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, and Yolo counties) with a combined population of 2,103,956. The Sacramento Metropolitan Area is the largest in the Central Valley, and is the fourth-largest in California, behind the Greater Los Angeles Area, the San Francisco Bay Area, and the San Diego area. Greater Sacramento has been cited as one of the five "most livable" regions in America,[2] and the city was cited by Time magazine as America's most integrated.

Destination Guides > North America > USA > California > Gold Country > Sacramento 

Skyline of City of Sacramento, California

Sacramento became a city due to the efforts of John Sutter, a Swiss immigrant, and James W. Marshall. There were settlers in the area before this time. The Dutch came in the 1820s.[citation needed] Sacramento grew faster due to the protection of Sutter's Fort, which was established by Sutter in 1839. During the California Gold Rush, Sacramento was a major distribution point, a commercial and agricultural center, and a terminus for wagon trains, stagecoaches, riverboats, the telegraph, the Pony Express, and the First Transcontinental Railroad.

Typical of California informality, Sacramento is referred to by many nicknames. The most common names are Capital City, River City (after the Sacramento River and American River), The Big Tomato, Sacratomato,[3] and the City of Trees (due to Arbor Day recognition as a Tree City USA for 29 years).[4] The nicknames most used by those living in Sacramento are Sac, Sactown, or Sacto. The area where Sacramento was originally developed is still in existence as a tourist venue, and is simply named Old Sacramento, or Old Sac.

California State University, Sacramento, more commonly known as Sacramento State or Sac State, is the major local university. It is one of the twenty-three campuses of the California State University system. Currently, many other universities have been proposed in the immediate metropolitan area.

Capital city

California's State Capitol Building
California's State Capitol Building

The California State Legislature, with the support of Governor John Bigler, named Sacramento as the permanent home of the state capital in 1854 by law, but the city did not physically hold that honor until January 1, 1855. Previously, the capital was located in Monterey, San Jose, Vallejo, and Benicia successively.

Begun in 1860 to be reminiscent of the United States Capitol in Washington, DC, the Renaissance Revival style California State Capitol was completed in 1874. The legislative chambers were first occupied in 1869 while construction continued. From 1862-1868, part of the Leland Stanford Mansion was used for the governor's offices.

With its new 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 Tower Bridge, a landmark of Sacramento.
The Tower Bridge, a landmark of Sacramento.

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 the 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.

In an effort to control the flooding the Sacramentans raised the level of the city by landfill. Thus the previous first floors of buildings became the basements, which were later connected by tunnels under the streets of Old Sacramento. The tunnels became a network of opium dens, which were also eventually filled in.

Now both rivers are used extensively for recreation. The American River is a 5-mph (8-km/h) waterway for all power boats (including jet-ski and similar craft) (Source Sacramento County Parks & Recreation) and has become an international attraction for rafters and kayakers. The Sacramento River sees many boaters, who can make day trips to nearby sloughs or continue along the Delta to the Bay Area and San Francisco. The Delta King, a paddlewheel steamboat which for eighteen months lay on the bottom of the San Francisco Bay, was refurbished and is now a hotel and restaurant.

The modern era

The city's current charter was adopted by voters in 1920, establishing a city council-and-manager form of government, still used today. As a charter city, Sacramento is exempt from many laws and regulations passed by the state legislature. The city has expanded continuously over the years. The 1964 merger of the City of North Sacramento with Sacramento substantially increased its population, and large annexations of the Natomas area eventually led to significant population growth with the housing boom of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.

Sacramento City and County (along with a portion of adjacent Placer County) are served by a customer-owned electric utility, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD). Sacramento voters approved the creation of SMUD in 1923. In April, 1946, after 12 years of litigation, a judge ordered Pacific Gas & Electric to transfer title of Sacramento's electric distribution system to SMUD. SMUD today is the sixth-largest public electric utility in the U.S., and has a worldwide reputation for innovative programs and services, including the development of clean fuel resources, such as solar power.

The Ziggurat Building in the city of West Sacramento, viewed across the Sacramento River from the western edge of Sacramento
The Ziggurat Building in the city of West Sacramento, viewed across the Sacramento River from the western edge of Sacramento
West America Bank Building
West America Bank Building

The Sacramento-Yolo Port District was created in 1947, and ground was broken on the Port of Sacramento in 1949. On June 29, 1963, with 5,000 spectators waiting to welcome her, the Motor Vessel Taipei Victory arrived.[6] 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. bound for Okinawa and 1,000 tons of logs for Japan. She was the first ocean-going vessel in Sacramento since the steamship Harpoon in 1934. The Port of Sacramento has been plagued with operating losses in recent years and faces bankruptcy. As of 2006, the city of West Sacramento will take full responsibility for the Port of Sacramento. This severe loss in business is due to the heavy competition from the Port of Stockton, which has a larger facility and a deeper channel.

In 1967, Governor Ronald Reagan became the last Governor of California to live permanently in the city. A new executive mansion, constructed by private funds in a Sacramento suburb for Reagan, remained vacant for nearly forty years and was recently sold by the state.

The 1980s and 1990s saw the closure of several local military bases: McClellan Air Force Base, Mather Air Force Base, and Sacramento Army Depot. As a result, the U.S. armed forces have little military presence in the city except for recruiting offices.

In the early 1990s, Mayor Joe Serna attempted to lure the Los Angeles Raiders football team to Sacramento, selling $50 million in bonds as earnest money. When the deal fell through, the bond proceeds were used to construct several large projects, including expanding the Convention Center and refurbishing of the Memorial Auditorium. Serna renamed a city park for controversial farm labor organizer Cesar Chavez. Through his effort, Sacramento became the first major city in the country to have a paid municipal holiday honoring Chavez.

In spite of major military base closures and the decline of agricultural food processing, Sacramento continued to experience massive population growth in the 1990s and early 2000s. Primary sources of population growth are people migrating from the San Francisco Bay Area seeking lower housing costs, as well as immigration from Asia, Central America, Mexico, Ukraine, and the rest of the former Soviet Union. From 1990 to 2000, the population grew 14.7%. The Census Bureau estimates that in four years (2000-2004), the population of Sacramento County increased from 1,223,499 to 1,352,445.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Mayor Heather Fargo made several abortive attempts to provide taxpayer financing of a new sports arena for the Maloof brothers, owners of the Sacramento Kings NBA Basketball franchise. In November 2006, Sacramento voters soundly defeated a proposed sales tax hike to finance this, due in part to competing plans for the new arena and its location.

Despite a devolution of state government in recent years, the state of California remains by far Sacramento's largest employer. The City of Sacramento expends considerable effort to keep state agencies from moving outside the city limits. In addition, many federal agencies have offices in Sacramento.

The California Supreme Court normally sits in San Francisco.

Colleges and universities

Sacramento State north entrance
Sacramento State north entrance

Sacramento is home to Sacramento State (California State University, Sacramento), founded as Sacramento State College in 1947. In 2004, enrollment was 22,555 undergraduates and 5,417 graduate students in the university's eight colleges. The university's mascot is the hornet, and the school colors are green and gold. The 300 acre (1.2 km²) campus is located along the American River Parkway a few miles east of downtown. A satellite campus of Alliant International University also serves the city with a number of graduate programs.

Sacramento is home to an unaccredited private institution, University of Sacramento, a Roman Catholic university run by the Legionaries of Christ. Currently, the university offers course work in graduate programs. Nearby Rocklin, CA is home to William Jessup University, an evangelical Christian college.

The University of California has a campus, UC Davis, in nearby Davis and also has a graduate center in downtown Sacramento. The UC Davis Graduate School of Management (GSM) is located in downtown Sacramento on One Capital Mall. The UC Davis GSM is where working professional (part-time) MBA students, from UC Davis, complete their MBA. There are over 300 part-time MBA students enrolled in the program. The part-time program is ranked in the top-20 and is well known for its small class size, world class faculty, and involvement in the business community. UC also maitains the Unversity of California Sacramento Center (UCCS for undergaduate and graduate studies. Similar to the UC's Washington DC program, "Scholar Interns" engage in both academic studies and as well as an internship.

Also, the UC Davis School of Medicine is located at the UC Davis Medical Center in Oak Park.

University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, a top 100 law school according to U.S. News and World Report's annual rankings of U.S. law schools (2006, 2007 & 2008), is located in the Oak Park section of Sacramento.

The private campus of the University of Southern California has an extension in downtown Sacramento, called the State Capital Center. The campus, taught by main campus professors, Sacramento-based professors, and practioners in the State Capitol and state agencies, offers Master of Public Administration and Master of Public Health degrees.

The Los Rios Community College District consists of several two-year colleges in the Sacramento area – American River College, Cosumnes River College, Sacramento City College, Folsom Lake College, plus a large number of outreach centers for those colleges.

Sacramento has a number of private vocational schools as well.

In the PBS KVIE building, there is also an extension of San Francisco's Golden Gate University.

Sports and recreation

Raley Field, home of the Sacramento River Cats
Raley Field, home of the Sacramento River Cats

ARCO Arena is home to two professional level basketball teams: the Sacramento Kings of the National Basketball Association and the Sacramento Monarchs of the Women's National Basketball Association. The Kings came to Sacramento from Kansas City in 1985, and the Monarchs are one of the eight founding members of the WNBA, which started in 1997. The Monarchs won the WNBA Championship in 2005 to become the first major, professional sports team in Sacramento to do so.

The Sacramento Solons, a minor league baseball team of the Pacific Coast League, played in Sacramento during several periods (1903, 1905, 1909-1914, 1918-1960, 1974-1976), mostly at Edmonds Field. In 2000, AAA minor league baseball returned to Sacramento with the Sacramento River Cats, an affiliate of the Oakland Athletics. The River Cats play in the recently constructed Raley Field.

Several smaller leagues have and continue to be in Sacramento. The Sacramento Heatwave of the American Basketball Association currently plays at Cosumnes River College. In the past, the city hosted two professional football teams, the Sacramento Surge of the World League of American Football and the Sacramento Gold Miners of the Canadian Football League. Sacramento was also home to an indoor soccer team, the Sacramento Knights of the Continental Indoor Soccer League (later called the World Indoor Soccer League). The Sacramento XSV (pronounced "excessive") of the National Professional Paintball League are based in Sacramento.

View of the city skyline from Raley Field
View of the city skyline from Raley Field

Sacramento has frequently hosted the NCAA Men's Outdoor Track and Field Championship as well as the 1st and 2nd rounds of the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship. The Sacramento Mile is a national flat-track motorcycle racing event.

Sacramento also hosts some recreational facilities and events. The Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail, that runs between Old Sacramento and Folsom Lake, attracts cyclists and equestrians from across the State. The California State Fair is held in Sacramento each year at the end of the summer, ending on Labor Day. Over one million people attended this fair in 2001. Sacramento residents play softball more than any city except Detroit, Michigan.

Among other activities in Sacramento is Discovery Park, a 275 acre (1.1 km²) park studded with stands of mature trees and grasslands, this park where the American River flows into the Sacramento River, its a destination for fisherman and travelers alike.

 

ClubLeagueSportVenueEstablishedChampionships
Sacramento KingsNBABasketballARCO Arena1945 (1985)1 NBA Title And 1 NBL Title (as Rochester Royals)
Sacramento MonarchsWNBABasketballARCO Arena19971 WNBA Championship
Sacramento River CatsPCLBaseballRaley Field1978 (2000)2 League Titles
Sacramento CapitalsWTTTennisAllstate Stadium19875 Championships
Sacramento HeatwaveABABasketballCosumnes River College2003 
Sacramento KnightsNPSLSoccerCosumnes River College20031 Championship
Sacramento SirensIWFLFootballFoothill High School20011 WAFL Title, 3 IWFL Titles
F.C. Sacramento PrideWPSLSoccerLincoln High School1995 
 

 

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