Sacramento Convention Center History Loop

A short walking tour providing a quick cross-section of architectural highlights and public monuments! A great way to learn about some of Sacramento's downtown historical gems in an easy loop that starts and ends at the Convention Center.

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Sacramento Memorial Auditorium
Sacramento's Memorial Auditorium opened in 1927, providing the city with an impressive stage for professional performances. It is named in honor of service members who died in World War I. With the exception of a ten-year period, the venue has hosted everything from concerts to high school graduations to gubernatorial inaugurations for almost a century. It seats 3,850 and continues to host events today. The building is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is part of the Sacramento Convention Center Complex.
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St. Paul's Episcopal Church
In addition to being one of Sacramento’s oldest church structures, St. Paul’s Episcopal claims the title of oldest continuously functioning parish in the city, being directly descended from a small Episcopal community that first met in blacksmith shop in 1849. After residences in several structures through the 1800s, the cornerstone of St. Paul’s present structure was laid in 1903. The church features some of California’s most prized stained glass windows, which were donated by prominent parishioners Leland Stanford and Mrs. Charles Crocker, respectively.
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Sacramento Masonic Temple
The Sacramento Masonic Temple was completed in 1918 and was designed by Rudolph Herold. The building is largely unaltered from the time of its construction and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
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Elks Tower (Former Elks Lodge No. 6)
$1.5 million brought the Elks Tower to life in 1926, whereupon it became Sacramento’s tallest building at 242-feet--besting the dome of the California State Capitol by a mere five feet. The structure’s Italian Renaissance styling, designed by local architect Leonard F. Starks, is still a recognizable feature of the downtown skyline, even though the Order of Elks was forced to sell the iconic structure in the 1970s and some of the interiors underwent a hasty remodel that erased much of their architectural heritage. Modern restaurants, offices, and lofts ensure active use while the historic interiors undergo a gradual restoration, and the building is still a popular destination for weddings, events, and tourists.
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Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament
Built from 1886-1889, the ornate Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament was, at the time of its construction, the largest cathedral west of the Mississippi--and though currently dwarfed by Sacramento’s downtown skyscrapers, at a towering 216 feet it was also the tallest structure in the city for a time. The cathedral was the brainchild of Catholic Bishop Patrick Manogue, who had previously mined gold in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains to pay for his church education. John Mackay, owner of the famed Comstock Lode silver mine in Nevada, was one of the cathedral’s key financiers. Built intentionally near the State Capitol, it has held inaugurations and funerals for mayors and governors through the decades. A recent $34 million restoration has reopened the iconic dome to the public again for the first time since the 1930s.
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Hotel Senator
Built in 1924 in the Renaissance Revival style, Sacramento's grand Hotel Senator has long been an integral part of city life, in one capacity or another. For decades, it functioned as a hotel, hosting both politicians and celebrities. Since the 1980s, the building has housed offices used by lobbyists, giving them easy access to the capitol, which is across the street.
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"El Soldado" - California Mexican American Veterans Memorial
The only monument in the nation honoring Mexican American soldiers that is located on the grounds of a state capital, “El Soldado” recognizes the service of nearly three hundred thousand Californians. The movement to create the memorial began as widows and mothers of Mexican American soldiers who were killed during World War II held meetings and raised funds for three years. Thanks to these efforts, this monument was dedicated in 1951 at the Sacramento Mexican American Center. The monument was refurbished in the 1970s and moved to the California Capitol Mall in 1990. Restored again in 2017 thanks to volunteers, a new plinth includes the names of California’s Mexican American Medal of Honor recipients. Efforts to expand the memorial are currently underway.
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California Peace Officers' Memorial
Three 9-foot tall bronze statues preside over this memorial to over 1,500 California Peace Officers who have fallen in the line of duty since statehood was achieved in 1850. The three figures on the memorial, which was dedicated in 1988, represent the different eras of law enforcement in California history, and were designed and sculpted by a retired County Sheriff Division Chief. Annual ceremonies are usually held at the site to commemorate the lives of officers lost each year.
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California State Capitol Museum
The California State Capitol Museum interprets the history California, the city of Sacramento, and the State Legislature. Housed in the historic Capitol building, the Museum includes two exhibit galleries and restored offices of the Governor, Secretary of State, and Treasurer, along with a tour office that offers guided or self-guided tours, a theater that screens an introductory film, and a gift shop. Visitors can explore museum exhibits along with art, architecture, and legislative proceedings throughout the Capitol building and the memorials and monuments in Capitol Park.
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Father Junipero Serra Statue and Historic Marker
Located on the grounds of the State Capitol Park, a statue and plaque honor the life and work of Father Junipero Serra. Though not without controversy, Serra is indisputably a central figure in California's history, credited with bringing Catholicism to California through the establishment of the Franciscan mission system and extending Spanish rule into "Alta California" in the late 1700s. The Christianizing and Europeanization of native tribes throughout California, however, led to their decimation through cultural suppressions and the deaths of hundreds of thousands by disease and warfare over the next century.

This tour was created by Kyle Warmack on 04/11/18 .

This tour has been taken 42 times within the past year.

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