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12 interesting facts about Sacramento

How well do you know Sacramento, CA? We’re bringing you some fun facts about the city and its history. If you’re a trivia master (or local enthusiast), give this a try.

a ground-level view with pebbles in the foreground, the reflecting waters of Folsom Lake in the middle, and large clouds at top.

You don’t have to believe: Somewhere out there at Folsom Lake is a submerged ghost town.

Photo by @creignakano

Did you know Sacramento is home to more trees per capita than any other city in the world?

Nah, just kidding. If you know us, you know we’re here for the deep cuts — and there’s plenty of interesting factoids to go around. As connoisseurs of the quirky and unconventional, we put together a list of Sacramento’s history, oddest characteristics, and more. Maybe you’ve lived here your whole life and know some of this, or maybe you’ll learn something new.

Either way, test your local knowledge with these 12 interesting facts.

1. There’s a network of tunnels beneath Old Sacramento that traces the history of the original city before it was “jacked up” to a higher elevation in the 1860s-70s in an effort to avoid flooding.

2. Speaking of flooding, the impact of the Great Flood of 1862 was so great on Sacramento that Governor Leland Stanford had to travel by rowboat to his inauguration at the State Capitol Building.

3. This has to be one of the most interesting gambits to draw tourism ever dreamed up by the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce: the Days of ’49 Facial Hair Growing Contest of 1922. Awards were given out to participants who were judged to have the longest mustache, to be the best looking, or (in our opinion, the best laurel ever handed out) the best imitation of a sagebrush.

4. Under Folsom Lake rests the remnants of Mormon Island — a Gold Rush-era ghost town that was founded by the Mormon Battalion. It was destroyed by a fire in 1856, and last year — due to our historic drought — it became exposed.

5. A lesser known detail about C.K. McClatchy is that he was a crusader for the “City of Trees” reputation — something he felt so strongly about that he would write obituaries in the Sacramento Bee for vandalized trees.

6. Sacramento is home to the nation’s first entirely solar-powered sports arena, Golden 1 Center, which has received a platinum-level LEED certification.

7. The Crocker is the oldest art museum west of the Mississippi River, having been opened to the public in 1885.

8. Sacramento hosts three of the nine International World Peace Rose Gardens — one at the State Capitol Building, another at Southport Elementary School, and a third at our Lady of Guadalupe Church.

9. The rice grown in the Sacramento Valley is used in almost every sushi roll in America, according to the California Rice Commission.

10. Sacramento is older than the state of California itself. The city was officially incorporated on Feb. 27, 1850, while the Golden State didn’t join the Union until Sept. 9, 1850 — making it California’s oldest incorporated city as well.

11. Sac hasn’t always been California’s capital. Monterey, San Jose, Vallejo, and Benicia all served as capital cities until Sacramento was chosen as the capital in 1852. San Francisco took that title in 1862 before giving it back to the City of Trees in 1869.

12. The California State Fair has been held in Sacramento all but four years of its existence — taking place in San Francisco in 1854, San Jose in 1856, Stockton in 1857, and Marysville in 1858.

Your turn. Think you can get one over on us? Let us know your favorite local trivia tidbit and you just might make it into the newsletter.

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