1849 Scene


That portion of the Old Sacramento State Historic Park bounded by Front Street on the west, I Street on the north, J Street on the south, and the alley between I and J Streets on the east, commonly known as the "1849 Scene," is one of Sacramento's most historic areas.

Sacramento City (the name by which the city was incorporated March 18, 1850) was part of the New Helvetia land grant, occupied by Captain John Augustus Sutter, Sr. in August 1839. By the summer of 1848, Captain Sutter was in poor financial condition. Sutter's advisors devised a plan to pacify his creditors.

In October 1848, he transferred title of his Sacramento property to his son, John Augustus Sutter, Jr. The younger Sutter recognized the need for an established business community along the waterfront to serve the growing influx of miners. In December 1848 he had a town site surveyed and began selling city lots in Sacramento City.

On December 28, Sutter Sr. granted the partnership of Samuel J. Hensley, Pierson Barton Reading, Jacob R. Snyder and John Augustus Sutter, Jr. (Hensley, Reading & Company) Lots 1, 2, 3, and 8 in the block bounded by Front and Second, I and J Streets, plus property at the Front for $6,500. Two days later he granted Reading alone, Lot 4 in that block, plus two other city lots for $1,000.

The four lots granted to Hensley, Reading & Company and Pierson Barton Reading between Front and the alley, I and J Streets, constitute the 1849 Scene in Old Sacramento State Historic Park. Each lot measures 85 feet on Front Street and extends 150 feet to the alley. This property, the structures on it, the businesses and people involved are the elements which make up the 1849 Scene.

To date the following structures have been reconstructed on their original locations: the Eagle Theatre, the Tehama Block Building, and the C. M. & T. Connecticut Mining & Trading)Company building.