PLACERVILLE AT THE GOLD BUG MINE AND HANGTOWN'S GOLD BUG PARK
Day two of our Sacramento stay included the highlight of this trip: a visit to the Gold Bug Mine and Hangtown's Gold Bug Park. There, we were transported back in time, donned our hardhats, and explored the mines of the Mother Lode. Originally called the Vulture and dug by William Craddock in 1888, the Gold Big Mine exemplifies a typical neighborhood hard rock mine of the times - and the kids loved it.
We toured the famous Priest Mine, the first to be excavated on the Vulture Claim sometime before 1867. We visited Joshua Hendy Stamp Mill and learned how gold was extracted from the quartz - this was incredibly impressive (and loud!). And finally, the children met a real blacksmith who showed them how he creates objects from wrought iron and steel by forging the metal using different tools to hammer, bend, and cut.
The Gold Bug Mine and Hangtown's Gold Bug Park is definitely a must-do when you are in Sacramento.
TOUR OF THE LELAND STANFORD MANSION
The next stop on our list was the Stanford Mansion, once home to Leland Stanford, railroad tycoon (President of the Central Pacific Railroad Corporation), governor of California (from 1862 to 1863), and founder of Stanford University. During his governorship, the brick and plaster Renaissance Revival mansion served as the state's executive office and living quarters (and to subsequent governors like Frederick Low and Henry Haight). In 1900, the mansion was given to the Diocese of Sacramento to become a home for “friendless children”, housing mostly young women. In 1978 the State purchased the historic property but it remained in the hands of the Sisters of Social Services until 1987 when the mansion was declared a Nation Historic Landmark. In 2005 the mansion was finally opened to the public after extensive renovation and rehabilitation.
This was such an interesting tour and the kids loved all the fun facts they discovered about the Victorian mansion as well as the people who lived in it: such as the fact that in 1863, Leland Stanford had to use a rowing boat to get to his own inauguration due to the Great Flood that had spilled the Sacramento river right into his home.
UNDERGROUND TOUR OF OLD TOWN SACRAMENTO
We ended our entire visit to the City of Trees with a half-mile underground tour of Old Town Sacramento. The kids listened intently as we explored the excavated foundations of houses and discovered that Sacramento 'jacked up!' streets and buildings to avoid flooding. Truly incredible.
What an unforgettable trip. When you find yourself in California, visit Sacramento. Explore, learn, and support - so that generations after us can do the same.