It was a hot time at this year's annual meeting of the Conference of California Historical Societies in Sacramento.
It was in the 90s for the three-day affair and we had opted to walk instead of using our car to go from our hotel to and from the state Capitol, the state library and the Delta King anchored at Old Sacramento. All those sites were less than a mile from our starting point.
But when it came time to go to Sutter's Fort we took the car.
Downtown Sacramento at least has a lot of trees, and we could always find a shady sidewalk. On our way to the Capitol we came across the Wells Fargo building. It has a museum on the first floor. Free. We walked around the shiny stagecoach and into the replica of an old-time Wells Fargo office. We read about Black Bart, the bandit who held up stagecoaches and left poems behind.
Then it was on to the Capitol, where we had a guided tour, again, at no charge. Our Capitol is a beautiful building filled with art and portraits. I liked the quasi-abstract one of Gov. Jerry Brown, even though the Los Angeles Times called it unpopular.
We looked at the mind-boggling photographs of the migrant workers who came to California in the 1930s. These black-and-white photos displayed along the walls tell the story of those difficult times. There was so much to see that we'll have to come back another time.
We had Sutter's Fort all to ourselves. Docents dressed in costumes of the 1850s talked about life at the fort. We saw a replica of the type of small covered wagon used by most of the pioneers. The Conestoga wagon we see in Westerns was too big to get over the Sierras. We heard about John Sutter and how this wily and clever Swiss immigrant was able to build a thriving business and get along with the Native Americans, who had been hostile to other Europeans.
At the California State Library, which was opened just for our group on that Saturday, we saw a Bible used by Father Junipero Serra and James Marshall's hand-drawn map of his gold discovery.
Also on Saturday was the annual awards luncheon. Some 70 local history lovers gathered for lunch in Old Sacramento. We ate in a covered patio outfitted with misters spraying welcoming coolness over us as we sat.
Among the 11 award winners honored for their contributions to preserve local history were these four from our area: George Watkins Anderson from the Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society; Betty Karplus from Orinda; and Susan Sperry and Maria Rieger, both from Moraga.
The meeting ended with dinner on the Delta King in Old Sacramento. This old riverboat took passengers from San Francisco to Sacramento and back from 1927 to 1940. During World War II it transported troops around San Francisco Bay. In 1982 it actually sank in the bay near Richmond. But it was rescued and brought to Sacramento, where it was restored. It is now a great tourist attraction.
Days Gone By appears on Sundays. Contact Nilda Rego at firstname.lastname@example.org.