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Sutter’s Fort Blacksmith Shop to Undergo Much-Needed Restoration Effort

Sutter’s Fort is getting fired up about another exciting restoration effort coming soon.

The popular Blacksmith Shop at Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park (SHP) will soon undergo a much-needed restoration. Led by California State Parks and made possible due to a donation by the Sacramento Pioneer Association, the restoration of the crowd-favorite exhibit room will begin by early August and is expected to be completed this fall.

Once the restoration is finished, guests will enjoy an enhanced experience and gain a greater appreciation about the important role of the blacksmith early in California’s history. Having a skilled blacksmith at the Fort was a real point of pride for John Sutter. In fact, blacksmith skills were in great demand to help transform dark metals into original tools and hardware to be used as shoes for horses, lance heads for soldiers, tires for wagons as well as for making door handles, hinges, latches, and much more.

The restoration of the Blacksmith Shop is estimated to cost $26,000 and will include the following:

  • The removal of all artifacts and exhibit furniture for a thorough cleaning and conducting any needed repairs;
  • The uneven floor will be leveled and resurfaced with soil cement so it is even with the exterior pathways;
  • The interior walls will be cleaned, repaired and painted;
  • The windows and entrance doors will be stripped, repaired and painted;
  • The chimney will be reworked;
  • Rehabilitation of Blacksmith Shop forge/firebox that includes work on shop’s exhaust ducting.

“The Sacramento Pioneer Association admitted John A. Sutter as an honorary member in 1854,” said Wendel Robert Flint, President of the Sacramento Pioneer Association. “The Pioneers assisted in the effort to save Sutter’s Fort from demolition in 1889-90. Today, in collaboration with Friends of Sutter’s Fort, the Pioneers are proud to continue the relationship forged so long ago with Sutter and his fort through our sole sponsorship of the restoration of the Blacksmith Shop.”

This latest effort is part of a continuing series of restoration projects at Sutter’s Fort SHP that include restoration of the Fort’s historic exterior walls; repair or replacement of the east and south gates; a new roof for and seismic stabilization of the historic Central Building; upgrades to various pathways in and around the Fort; and installation of outdoor lighting for the interior courtyards.

In total, this continuing series of recent upgrades represent the most extensive restorations at the Fort since a major reconstruction effort in the 1890s. And it’s important to note that the Blacksmith Shop was considered so critical during the reconstruction of the Fort in the 1890s that it was the first room restored and items created there are still visible and in use throughout the Fort today.

During the short restoration period, the Blacksmith Shop may be periodically closed to the public so work can progress as quickly and efficiently as possible. Updated information about these restoration efforts or about Sutter’s Fort SHP in general is available at suttersfort.org.

Community members and/or businesses interested in contributing to future rehabilitation efforts are encouraged to call 916-323-7626.

 

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About the author

Traci Rockefeller Cusack

Traci Rockefeller Cusack

Traci Rockefeller Cusack has 25+ years of media and public relations experience.  Her work experience includes News10 (ABC) as Promotion Manager from 1989-1998 (where she developed and launched “Coats for Kids’ Sake,” a winter coat drive that lasted 20+ years plus coordinated Oprah Winfrey’s first ever visit to Sacramento) and Fleishman-Hillard as Vice President from 1998-2005 (where she led the wildly successful statewide “California Grown” program and also produced the five-minute video that played on the Jumbotron on Opening Day at Pac Bell Park). In 2007, she launched T-Rock Communications and currently handles a wide range of marketing activities for a number of top-notch organizations.

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