Sutter's Fort SHP
State Historic Park
Patty Reed’s doll is back! After a brief absence while she underwent much needed conservation work, she is greeting visitors once more, in our updated Orientation Exhibit. Visit Sutter’s Fort today for an authentic experience of early California life.
Patty’s doll, which she called “Dolly,” is a jointed wooden doll just under 4 inches tall. She is similar to dolls made in the Gröden Tal region of the Alps, which were popular throughout Europe and America in the early 1800s. Dolly’s small size means that she was probably intended to be a “dollhouse doll.”
The Reed family’s journey to California by covered wagon in 1846 was difficult. When Patty was asked to leave her toys behind to lighten the load, she secretly kept this one doll, hidden in the lining of her skirt. Dolly was Patty’s companion during the winter of 1846-1847, when she and her family were trapped in the snows of the Sierra Nevada along with other members of the “Donner Party.”
Patty asked her children to donate her doll to Sutter's Fort after her death, because she wanted to honor the Fort for assistance in the rescue of her family. Dolly has been at Sutter’s Fort since 1946.
Stronghold of Pioneer Memories
Exploring some of the unique artifacts from Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park is just a click away! Our online exhibit highlights the reconstruction of Sutter's Fort in the 1890s and explains how the Fort's collection of pioneer and early California artifacts was formed. Scrolling through the exhibit you will see artifacts once belonging to John Sutter, James Marshall and the Donner Party. View Exhibit
In 1839 a Swiss immigrant named John Sutter received a land grant in the Sacramento Valley from the Mexican government. He used the land to create a flourishing agricultural empire and named it New Helvetia (New Switzerland.) This empire established Sacramento’s earliest settlement and the first non-Indian settlement in California’s Central Valley.
In 1847 Sutter sent aid to the Donner Party, a group of immigrants trapped in a winter storm in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Word spread and Sutter became known for his hospitality and for providing temporary refuge to travelers. This reputation made New Helvetia the destination for early immigrants to California.
Less than a decade after they were established, Sutter’s properties were overrun by gold seekers and the fort is all that remains of New Helvetia. It has been restored to its former state based on an 1847 map published in Darmstadt, Germany and is open for tours.
For general Sutter's Fort information please call (916) 445-4422
Wedding Ceremonies Sutter’s Fort SHP Open for Bookings
Looking for a unique venue to say “I do”? Sutter’s Fort is now offering the site for weddings and receptions. The rustic setting can accommodate up to 300 guests (seated) for outdoor weddings within the courtyard. Also, the historic grounds surrounding Sutter’s Fort are an option for brides wanting a park-like setting in the heart of the city. Accommodating 300 guests (seated) and up to 500 (standing), the lawn is surrounded by large heritage trees. A wedding at Sutter’s Fort will guarantee history lovers a “back in time” experience for their special day.
For more information about options and costs or to book a wedding or reception contact the Facility Rental Coordinator at (916) 323-7626
The park is located in midtown Sacramento between K and L Streets and 26th and 28th Streets.
Traveling on I-80, from San Francisco, take Business 80/Hwy 50 east. Take the Business 80 exit (north towards Reno) to the N Street turn off. Travel straight on 30th Street then turn left under the freeway at L Street to the Fort which will be located on your right.
Monday - Saturday, bring quarters for the parking meters. Parking is free on Sundays.
Facilities - Opportunities
The Fort is available for private parties and gatherings for a fee. Please call the Facility Rental Coordinator at (916) 323-7626.
A self-guided audio tour is available.
Special events are scheduled throughout the year.
Sutter's Fort Trade Store provides a large variety of authentic gifts and publications relating to California history including the Overland Trail and Gold Rush. The store is non-profit and operated by the Friends of Sutter's Fort Association in cooperation with the California State Parks.
Summer and spring are warm; fall and winter can be cool. Layered clothing is advised.
• We welcome photography for personal use.
• Handheld flash is allowed; however tripods and free standing flash are not permitted for safety reasons.
• Commercial photography is allowed on a case by case basis by advance arrangement. Visit www.film.ca.gov for more information.
- Hours of Operation:
10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Daily (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day)
- Park Office Telephone:
A Proud Partner of Sutter's Fort State Historic Park
Volunteer at Sutter's Fort
Adults $5 (18 years and older)
Youth $3 (ages 6 to 17)
Children Free (5 and under)
Please Note: Begining March 1, 2012, On special interpretive program days fees are $7 for adults and $5 for youth
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State Historic Park
2701 L Street
Sacramento, CA 95816