The Sacramento Historic City Cemetery is the oldest existing cemetery in the capital of California. Covering an area of 30 acres, the old cemetery is one of the most interesting outdoor museums in Sacramento that features beautiful landscapes, Victorian Gardens, some of the finest roses in California, Gothic elements, and of course, serves as an eternal resting place for some of the most important people in California. In this article, we’ll share a quick overview of the cemetery’s history, its main attractions, and landmarks, and show you why this cemetery is one of the best hidden gems in Sacramento.
Location & Working Hours
The Sacramento Historic Cemetery is located between Riverside Boulevard and Muir Way on Broadway at 10th Street not too far from downtown Sacramento. The cemetery is open to the public and self-guided tours are encouraged. If you plan to visit, note that there’s a winter and summer schedule of working hours.
During winters, the cemetery is open from 8 AM to 5 PM on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday, and from 7 AM to 5 PM on Saturday and Sunday. During the summer, the cemetery is open from 7 AM to 7 PM every day except Wednesday and Thursday (and some city holidays). Moreover, docent-guided tours are available on some Saturdays. Hence, it’s probably a good idea to call the cemetery and check before you visit. For this and all other information, you can contact the Sacramento Historic Cemetery at (916) 448-0811.
Dating back to the mid-19th century, the cemetery is Sacramento’s oldest existing one. Prior to its construction in 1849, most burials in Sacramento were taking place in an area near Sutter’s Fort. However, having in mind the area’s is low elevation and relative proximity to the American River, floods were not uncommon. The old ground still continued operations as a privately-owned cemetery but throughout the years, most of the tombs were removed or even vandalized and in the 1950s, the remnants of the graveyard were removed to make room for the new Sutter Junior High School, effectively making Sacramento Historic Cemetery the oldest one in the city.
When founder John Augustus Sutter founded the cemetery in 1849, it covered an area of 10 acres. The first people who found an eternal resting place here were the 600 cholera victims of the 1850 epidemic (in a mass grave). In 1856, the city of Sacramento engaged a cemetery superintendent who had a task to plan the grounds. Shortly afterward, the cemetery got its gatehouse and bell tower, both of which fell victim to the 1949 widening of Broadway St.
In 1880, Margaret Crocker donates 23 acres and the cemetery area expands greatly. In the following years, a greenhouse and a Bell Conservatory were built from the donation of Mrs. Crocker and the cemetery started getting its modern appearance. Today, the Sacramento Historic Cemetery covers 44 acres and is the final resting place of more than 25,000 individuals that represent the historic and cultural diversity of the city of Sacramento.
In 1957, the Cemetery became a State Historic Landmark and in 2014, it was also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Attractions & Interesting Facts
You’ll inevitably notice that the monuments at the cemetery are symbolic of Victorian funeral customs. This is no wonder, considering some of the numerous groups that have proclaimed this cemetery as an eternal resting place to some of their most distinguished members. Such organizations include the Masons Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Pioneer Association Improved Order of Red Men, Civil War Veterans, the State Government Donner Party Survivors, and many others.
Additionally, some of the most remarkable people who call this cemetery eternal home feature first elected Mayor of Sacramento, Hardin Bigelow, one of the first US representatives from California, Marion Biggs, Confederate State Army Brigadier General, George B. Cosby, 1st Treasurer of Wyoming, John W. Donnellan, son of American founding father Alexander Hamilton, William S. Hamilton, one of the Big Four and founder of the Central Pacific Railroad, Mark Hopkins Jr., Civil War general, George Wright, and many others.
Since the cemetery’s establishment in 1849, the cemetery has become the resting place of some of the most important people of the 19th and early 20th century and is today a remarkable memorial of Sacramento’s cultural diversity and heritage.
Hotels Near Sacramento Historic City Cemetery
If you plan to visit Sacramento Historic City Cemetery and are looking for a place to stay nearby, keep in mind that the cemetery is located near Downtown and that finding a hotel below $100 per night is close to impossible. If you’re looking for a cheap place to stay, one of the best value-for-money options in the area is the Quality Inn. It’s 1.6 miles (2.4 km) away from the cemetery but the price range of $60-$70 per night is almost half the price of an average hotel in the area.
At $80-90 per night, Best Western Plus Sutter House is another solid budget-friendly options in the area. On the other hand, if you’re looking for some luxury, you’ll find plenty of 4 and 5-star hotels in the area, such as Hyatt Regency Sacramento located only 0.5 miles away from the cemetery and The Citizen Hotel Autograph Collection, 1.5 miles away from the cemetery.
If you’re looking for a quick bite, there are some decent restaurants and cafes in the area,. There’s a Starbucks right next to the cemetery but for the best coffee in the area, head to Tower Café, 2 minutes away from the cemetery. If you’re looking for a typical American diner, you’ll find the Riverside Clubhouse just behind the corner of Broadway and Riverside and down the street, you can get some tasty pizzas at Masullo. If you’re looking for something more exotic, on the other hand, a quick, 3-minute walk from the cemetery takes you to Queen Sheba Ethiopian Cuisine on Broadway Street. Finally, if you want to enjoy a cup of afternoon tea, T4 Tea For U (10-15 minutes walking away from the cemetery) offers the widest variety of tea in the area.
Did you know about the Sacramento Historic City Cemetery? Would you ever visit it? Let us know in the comments!