Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sutters Fort

After Crepeville, we headed to Sutters Fort, the place where the gold rush occurred and a refuge for pioneers coming to California.
Although the fort usually welcomed people here- the entrance does look fairly foreboding with these spikes.
The museum has a permanent exhibit detailing the history of the fort and its owner, John Sutter.
Here is a replica bust of John Sutter. He should have been quite wealthy, but he made several bad investments and horrible mismanagement. But, he was kind in that he let everyone stay the fort.
The great thing about this state park is that they had motion sensors that would play a pre-recorded message about each room, giving a history of the fort and its occupants. This is a replica of Sutter's office.
And here are the cannons in the bastians.

It turns out that we came on one of the living history days- this one called "A Settler's Christmas." This was such a great experience because they had many different stations where they explained how things occurred in the days of the fort.
They showed how to make popcorn over an open fire, snowflakes, and even homemade bread. I had no idea about how difficult to was to make bread in an outdoor oven. The men usually were the bakers, since they had to insert the firewood to warm up the bricks before taking it out to then bake the bread.
One of our favorite stations was where they taught us about bells. We learned that each family in a small town was given a different size bell that produced a unique sound.
That way, when they were traveling through a snowstorm, people would know who they were. They would put all the same levels on a harness so that they could be heard.
The blacksmith demonstration was also really neat. They had a bellows to stoke the fire, which they let me use. It was amazing how quickly it could get the fire so hot. He demonstrated how to make several horseshoes.

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