CA Places: Sutterville

Today no longer in existence, Sutterville was proudly established in the mid-1840s by pioneer John Augustus Sutter. Hoping for and anticipating increased American immigration to California, he knew his fort’s trading post near the confluence of the Sacramento and American Rivers wouldn’t be adequate to supply increased commercial demand.  Rejecting the lowlands at the rivers which were subject to periodic flooding, he chose a site on a low bluff overlooking the Sacramento River a few miles south of his private landing place.  Sutter’s plan included parks, market centers, and about 200 home lots. Growth was slow, despite his enthusiastic promotion and gifts of lots to friends.  Unfortunately, the fledgling town was located behind a slough that required bridging, and when the Gold Rush began it had no docking facilities to offload goods and people coming from San Francisco. Instead, merchants spontaneously created another commercial center around Sutter’s landing place in a mix of tents and shanties that became Sacramento City.  Suttervilleans fought their new rival with economic inducements, but as Sacramento grew, Sutterville eventually declined. Its former town site is in the approximate area of today’s William Land Park.