This fort is mostly rebuilt to look like it would have looked back before the gold rush. Sutter built this fort but it wasn't really in need of defending. Both the natives and the Californios were happy to have Sutter here. He got rich trading and farming the fertile land in the valley. Gold wasn't found here but at his mill further up the river which today is about a 40 min drive away. Finding Gold did not make Sutter rich. He lost tons of money because his workers all left to go strike it rich in the gold fields. His livestock was stolen by miners and fields plundered as they headed up to the hills. Eventually sold the fort and retired to one of his farms. The fort fell into ruins.
Mostly we wandered through the fort and looked into rooms set up to look like the different shops needed to run the fort.
This was the destination the Donner party was trying to get to when they headed to California. Men from this fort ended up heading up to the Sierra to find and rescue them. Patty Reed was one of the Donner party and she snuck a doll in her pocket. I read the book "Patty Reed's Doll" when I was a kid and I read it aloud to Sophie a number of years ago when we studied CA history. It is told from the point of view of the doll in Patty's pocket and all that she saw and heard around her as the travelers crossed the plains and mountains and were stuck in the snow trying to get to California.
Another historical place on our to see list has now been crossed off. Funny how places that are really only an hour or so away are easy to visit so therefore forgotten about. A nice day trip to Sacramento but I think next time we will time it to hopefully avoid the 100 degree temperatures.