Sacramento goes Underground

Stephanie Lee, Staff Photographer
May 2, 2012
Filed under Arts & Culture

From Old Sacramento to California State University, Sacramento, there’s a lot of history about the city that is unknown to quite a few of its residents.

Starting in April and running through the end of November, for $15 the Sacramento History Museum gives tours of Old Sacramento on their Underground Tours.  But is it really worth the money to take a history lesson for an hour?

When you arrive at the history museum and pay for your tour, you are handed headphones attached to a little radio. This is to allow you to hear your guide. After going over some of the rules, such as keeping your cell phones silent and no photography, the tour starts.

To start the tour off, you are taken to the first underground spot and asked to sit on some uncomfortable wooden benches. Right in front of you is a projector screen for a little slide show where your guide explains a little of Sacramento’s history from 1849 through 1869.  Once the slide show is over, you delve deeper into the underground space and get to view some items from the times when Old Sacramento used to be a mining town. Your guide may even point out some window weights at the end of this section of the first underground area you visit.

The next stop on your tour is Pioneer Park and the Vernon Brannan office building. According to tour guide, Steve (aka Sheriff George Lee), “The Brannan office building is said to be one of the most haunting buildings in Sacramento.” The final stop on your tour is the B.F. Hastings building, which is where the Pony Express started and ended, as well as where the first Supreme Court of California had its first session and where the first California State Library was.  Heading under the building, your guide shows you jackscrews, which were used to raise the buildings.

So for $15, you only visit two underground areas in Old Sacramento and you don’t even get to take photos.  Staci Cox, the Underground Tour coordinator at the Sacramento History Museum, says that last year over 15,000 tickets were sold for the tours. The first tour starts at 10:30 a.m. and they depart every 30 minutes.  You can purchase tickets at the museum or online at www.historicoldsac.org.


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