STANFORD MANSION, Sacramento, CA — Deputy Secretary of the Interior Lynn Scarlett and City of Sacramento Mayor Heather Fargo along with other officials gathered today to celebrate the Preserve America Community designation awarded to Sacramento. The event took place at the Leland Stanford Mansion, a National Historic Landmark, where the Governor and legislative leadership often meet with dignitaries and leaders from other states and countries. A designation certificate signed by First Lady Laura Bush, Honorary Chair of Preserve America, was presented recognizing the community’s work to preserve, protect, and celebrate the unique history and heritage it contains.
“In California, 22 neighborhoods, cities, towns, and counties of all sizes have taken the steps to becoming designated Preserve America Communities,” said Scarlett. “I am delighted to be here today at the beautiful Stanford Mansion in Sacramento to recognize the importance of heritage tourism, preservation, and the lessons of history that are made authentic and accessible through those efforts made by Sacramento.”
Designation as a Preserve America Community provides national recognition for what the community has achieved, while also enhancing the contribution of heritage tourism and other economic development strategies. This designation indicates that the community is working to preserve and use its heritage assets as building blocks for the future. Sacramento joins other designated communities in California which include: Elk Grove, Fresno, Los Angeles-Chinatown, Los Angeles-Little Tokyo, Los Angeles-Thai Town, Monterey, Ontario, Redlands, Richmond, San Buenaventura (Ventura), San Clemente, San Diego-Little Italy, San Francisco-Japantown, San Juan Bautista, San Ramon, Santa Ana, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, Santa Rosa, Tuolumne County, and Weaverville.
"Sacramento is honored to be designated as a Preserve America Community,” said Mayor Heather Fargo. “This designation recognizes Sacramento's efforts to preserve its rich and diverse heritage. It will help to enhance Sacramento's heritage tourism programs in collaboration with our partners, California State Parks, the California Cultural Heritage Tourism Council and the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau, among others. On behalf of the City, I thank First Lady Laura Bush, Deputy Secretary of the Department of the Interior, Lynn Scarlett, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation for their recognition of Sacramento as a Preserve America Community."
Sacramento (population 460,000), located at the confluence of the Sacramento and American rivers, is in an area inhabited for more than 8,000 years with Native American populations including the Nisenan and the Plains Miwak. Mexican explorers arrived in the area in the early 1800s, though the largest influx of non-Natives came in 1848, after the discovery of gold nearby. The California Gold Rush was in full force when Sacramento was incorporated in 1849. The state capital moved to Sacramento in 1854. With its new status and strategic location, Sacramento prospered, becoming the western terminus of the Pony Express, and later the transcontinental railroad, completed in 1869. The city’s rivers facilitated transportation and commerce but also caused major flooding, leading Sacramento to raise the city using landfill. Tunnels that were once the first stories of buildings are still visible in parts of Sacramento today.
Sacramento has had a preservation program since 1975. The city council adopted a preservation element of the city’s General Plan in 2000, and Sacramento was one of California’s first Certified Local Governments. Old Sacramento, a National Historic Landmark, is home to the largest concentration of preserved commercial structures in California.
The Historic Old Sacramento Foundation is home to the Old Sacramento Living History Program. Members are also on hand during Gold Rush Days, which have been held annually in Sacramento since 2000. In 2007, lectures and performances were added to demonstrate how different ethnic groups experienced the Gold Rush. Representatives from African American, Asian Pacific Islander, Hispanic, Native American, and European cultures performed side by side to depict life in the early days of the West. Gold Rush Days are a joint effort of the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau, the city of Sacramento, the California Department of Parks and Recreation, the Historic Old Sacramento Foundation, and several Sacramento museums. More than 130,000 attendees are drawn to Sacramento each year, contributing more than $4.3 million to the local economy.
About Preserve America: Preserve America is a White House initiative to encourage and support community efforts for the preservation and enjoyment of our priceless cultural and natural heritage. The goals of the initiative include a greater shared knowledge about the nation’s past, strengthened regional identities and local pride, increased local participation in preserving the country’s cultural and natural heritage assets, and support for the economic vitality of our communities.
For more information on the Preserve America initiative, visit www.PreserveAmerica.gov.