Sacramento – California’s Capital


In early September 2012 I stayed in Sacramento, California for a couple of days mainly to attend the California Capital Air Show. While there I took some time to do a bit of sight-seeing, especially around the impressive State Capitol building. The Capitol building is not only the functioning state government legislature and home off the office of the Governor; it is also a functioning museum displaying how the government offices once looked. The building was completed in 1874 after 14 years of construction, but was in partial use by the Government from 1869.

California Capitol Building Sacramento
California State Capitol Building
Sacramento State Capitol Buidling foyer
Capitol Building Foyer
California State Capitol Foyer Sacramento USA
Looking down onto the foyer
Sacramento Capitol Building dome interior
Dome interior
Old Secretary of State office California Capitol Building Sacramento
Old Secretary of State office (as it would have appeared in 1902)
Old Governors Office California State Capitol Building
The old Governors main office (1869-1951)
Old treasury safe Sacramento State Capitol Building
Historic treasury safe
Governors Office California State Capitol Building
The entrance to todays Governors Office
Ronald Reagan portrait California State Capitol
Ronald Reagan – California Governor 1967-1975 (strangely couldn’t find one of Arnie in the Capitol Building)
Assembly Gallery California State Capitol Building
Assembly Gallery
Senate Gallery California State Capitol Sacramento
Senate Gallery

Within the Capitol Building museum are displays on World War One history that are specific to California. One such display is the Congressional Medal of Honour (the highest American military honour) awarded to Californian Colonel Nelson M. Holderman (1885-1953) for extreme acts of heroism fighting on the Western Front between October 2nd to 8th, 1918 when he was an army Captain leading Company K, 307th Infantry Regiment of the so called “Lost Battalion” who were isolated and completely surrounded by German troops following an American advance. During this fighting he was wounded on multiple occasions (on the 4th, 5th and 7th of October) yet continued to fight and inspire his men, hold their position under intense German attacks and even led a counterattack against them! Once reinforcements arrived he lead his men to a rear area before allowing medics to treat his wounds. One tough soldier! For his actions during this battle he not only received the Congressional medal but also he Californian Medal for Valour.

Colonel Nelson M Holderman Congressional Medal of Honour
Colonel Nelson M Holderman – Congressional Medal of Honour recipient

After the war Holderman joined the California National Guard and was promoted to Colonel. His career ended the day he died in the Governor appointed role as Commandant of a soldiers home. His eleven medals in total make him one of the most highly decorated American soldiers of World War One.

World War One Liberty Bonds Posters California State Capitol
World War One Liberty Bonds Posters

In the park and gardens surrounding the Capitol building is an excellent Vietnam War memorial (one of the best I have seen). The memorial is made up of different panels and statues to represent the various stages of American involvement in the struggle of that war.

Sacramento Vietnam War Memorial California
Vietnam War Memorial
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Sacramento California
US Troops
Hanoi Hilton Prisoner Sacramento Vietnam War Memorial
“Hanoi Hilton” prisoner
Doctors Soldier Sacramento Vietnam Memorial
Doctors and Soldiers
US Vietnam War Memorial Sacramento Capitol USA
A fitting tribute to those who fought in Vietnam

There are numerous stately buildings around Sacramento from public buildings to homes. The former Governor’s mansion (built in 1877 and used to house the Governors from 1903-1967. Today there is no official residence and the former mansion is a State Historic Park) and the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament are two such places.

Former Governors Mansion State Historic Park Sacramento California
Governors Mansion State Historic Park
Sacramento Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament USA
Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament

The International Hostel I stayed in at Sacramento was quite impressive too. A former mansion of a wealthy businessman (Llewellyn “Lew” Williams) it was completed in 1885. Since those days the home has fulfilled a variety of purposes from a house to a funeral home (1904-1967), from then until it was taken over by Hostelling International in 1988 it served as a “Gentlemans Club” of some sort and as a reception hall. The furniture inside is period piece and it really has a totally different decor to your standard hostel. Quite a cool place to stay.

Sacramento International Hostel
Sacramento International Hostel
Sacramento International Hostel Lounge
The lounge area of the hostel
Sacramento International Hostel
Another lounge in the hostel

The California Capital Air Show was fantastic with great displays by historic warbirds, aerobatic and modern military aircraft. I will write more on the show in my aviation blog: Aces Flying High.

P-51D Mustang Spitfire Mk.XIV California Capitol Air Show 2012 Sacramento
North America P-51D Mustang & Supermarine Spitfire Mk.XIV – Two of the greatest fighters of World War Two
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