Our book having been gotten up at the Capital of the State, it is only proper that we should devote some of its pages to the city, its residents and public buildings, as well as to its prominent businessmen, and such other subjects as may be interesting to the citizens in general.
Sacramento is called the "City of Homes," and it has very many beautiful ones, with corresponding lawns and walks. The number of the people who own the houses they live in probably is as great in proportion to population as any city in the Union. The millionaire, and the mechanic and laboring man seemed to be alike imbued with the spirit of adorning their homes, and often times the modest cottage will be found as interesting to eye as the mansion of the rich man. Nearly every home, outside the business mart, has a pretty blue-grass lawn attached to it, which is kept neatly trimmed and well watered, looking fresh and green the year-round. In hundreds of gardens may be seen, growing in the open air, most delicate plants of the tropics, and the forest trees which bordered the sidewalks and yards are of nearly every variety. The cottonwood, which, although affording a good shade, has mainly given way to the elm, the locust, the walnut and the eucalyptus, or gum tree, which latter is being extensively planted here now. Among the most pretentious and
Worth from $10,000 up to $100,000, may be mentioned those of Chas. Crocker, the Redingtons, ex-Governor Leland Stanford, Mrs. E. B. Crocker, Edgar Mills, Mrs. Mesick, C. W. Clarke, Albert Gallatin, Levi Wilsey, Julius Wetzlar, Henry Miller, T. M. Lindley, F. Birdsall, John H. Carroll, Mrs. Hubbard, Mrs. H. H. Hartly, H. C. Kirk, W. L. Pritchard; Mrs. Scudder, W. R. S. Foye, D. W. Welty, Robert Hamilton, George Cadwaladar, D. H. Russell, W. B. C. Brown (occupied by Governor Irwin), Fred. Cox, Richmond Davis, R. Oppenheim, Capt. Ebner, Dr. Snider, Edw. Cadwaladar, Sylvester Tryon, Judge Denson, John F. Allen, Frank Miller, H. M. Larue, John Reel, J. L. Huntoon, W. F. Knox, W. R. Cluness, Judge C. H. Swift, Mrs. Doherty.
The State Capital.
In the beginning of 1860 the citizens of the city thought of deeding to the State lots of land in the city on which a new State Capital could be built. It was a little before the time the Legislature had in consideration the propriety of removing the Capital to some other place, but finally decided on keeping the seat of government here. The two blocks of land, lying between Tenth and Twelfth, L and N streets, were condemned, and on the 2d day of June, of that year, Judge McCune, then Judge of the District Court, appointed B. B. Redding, Levi Hermance and Harvey Houghton as appraisers. Work commenced soon thereafter, and on the 15th day of May, 1861, the corner-stone was laid with the Masonic ceremonies, conducted by and Greene Curtis, then Grand Master of the Order. In after years other blocks were condemned, so that now the grounds extend from Tenth to Fifteenth, and from L to N. For this addition the citizens of the city subscribed $30,000, the State appropriation not been sufficient to fully pay for the land. The original architect was Reuben Clark, to whom the greatest meed of praise should be given for the beautiful building that now adorns the city, and it is an honor to the State. Then followed Gordon P. Cummings and A. A. Bennett. The original Capital Commissioners were Governor Downey, Secretary of State Johnson Price, State Treasurer Thomas Findley, A. C. Monson and Alfred Redington. After the dedication ceremonies, work was discontinued on it for some time, and it was not till about 1865 that labor was commenced in earnest. Up to November 1st, 1875, the cost, added to the usual items for repairs and improvements, amounted to $2,449,429.31. The building is 240 feet in height, the height of the main building being 94 feet. Its depth at 140 feet and its length 282. The Assembly Chamber is 73x 75, with a height of 48 feet, and the Senate is 73x 56, with the same height. The first, or ground story of the building, is 16 feet above the level of the surrounding streets. There are only the lots deeded by the City of Sacramento which have as yet been improved, owing to the insufficient amounts allowed by the Legislature.
In the cheerful and handsomely furnished apartments of the State Capital allotted to its use, during office hours, books may be used by anyone, and leisure time cannot be more pleasantly spent then by the perusal of an entertaining book in one of its many cozy alcoves. It contains many rare and otherwise inaccessible volumes, and in all departments will be found very complete and invaluable for reference. In political economy and finance, in irrigation and mining matters, and liked departments of local interest, it is most valuable; while in the history of the State, as shown by documents and complete files of all the early papers, it is without any equal, processing records that cannot possibly now be duplicated. There are at present on its shelves 46,300 volumes, and this number is constantly being added to at the rate of between
4,000 and 5,000 yearly, the fees from the Secretary of State's office averaging $1,000 monthly, been set aside for this purpose. It was built to hold 100,000 volumes, but will not accommodate much more half that number; and at the present rate of increase the shelves will be filled in four or five years. Handsome portraits of six of California's Governor's--Downey, Low, Stanford, Latham, Burnett and Haight--painted by Coggswell, were purchased by the last Legislature, and now adorns its walls. Efforts were made to complete the set, but a vision of economical constituents, perhaps, drove the idea from the legislative mind, which is much to be regretted. Attached to the Library, and forming really a portion of it, is the Law Library, containing nearly 14,000 volumes which number is included in the 46,300 mentioned above. It is justly considered the finest thing of its kind on the coast, and is much consulted by the Supreme Court and the legal fraternity. The Trustees of the Library are elected by the Legislature, and at present consist of Hon. Jo Hamilton, Hon. J. J. Green, J. W. Armstrong, E. B. Mott and F. W. Hatch. R. O. Cravens is State Librarian, and his deputies are, in the general library, Mrs. Laura Morton, in the Law Library, James E. Robinson. Besides the magnificent State Capitol buildings for which Sacramento is noted, there are many imposing buildings within her limits, among which may be mentioned the Railroad Hospital, Odd Fellows' Temple, Masonic Hall, the Crocker Art Gallery, Court House building, City Library, besides several fine hotels, churches, etc. The County Hospital, a commodious and imposing building, is located beyond the city limits on the Stockton road.
Organized in 1857, and reorganized as a local institution--part and parcel of our fair city. Several years ago a handsome brick building was erected on I street, between the Seventh and Eighth, particularly for the Library, which building it's still occupies. It is a circulating library, and its books are available to anyone, on the payment of a small monthly due. It has 6,024 volumes, and there were drawn during the last year, 5,756. Its officers are as follows: President, G. M. Mott; Vice-President, F. W. Hatch, Jr.; Secretary, M. R. Beard; Treasurer, G. W. Lorenz. Directors--R. A. Fisher, S. A. Pitcher, J. J. Spicker, W. A. Beck, G. W. Safford. Librarian, M. S. Cushman.
Pioneer Burial Grounds.
This cemetery is located southwest of city, on Tenth and T streets, and is about three and one half acres in extent. The lots and improvements cost the society about $4,000. This cemetery is governed by a Board of Trustees, elected from the Society. The burial grounds are a credit to any city, and are for the exclusive use of Pioneers and their families.
United States Offices.
There are three principal United States offices located in Sacramento, viz: Post Office, Land Office and Internal Revenue Office. We regret to say, however, that the Government has been woefully neglectful of this section of the matter of providing suitable accommodations for the respective offices. The Post Office especially has suffered in this respect, the accommodations being totally inadequate to the business transacted and the importance of this point. This is the second city on the Pacific Coast, and should be provided with a suitable Government building, where all its offices could find ample accommodations, and the dignity of the General Government be maintained. Our Congressmen are now moving with a view of obtaining an appropriation for this purpose, and the universal wish of the people in this section is that they will succeed.
The present Postmaster is W. C. Hopping, who has a Chief Deputy J. H. Lewis. Hon. T. B. McFarland is Register of the Land Office, Sacramento District, embracing several counties, and Hart Fellows is Receiver. A. L. Frost is Collector of Internal Revenue.
A U. S. Signal Station is also located here, under the charge of Sergeant R. B. Watkins, of the Signal Service, U.S. Army.
Source: Pen Portraits, by R. R. Parkison, San Francisco, 1878. Pages 108-112.
Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton.