The historic B.F. Hastings Bank Building located at 1006 2nd Street in Old Sacramento stands prominently in history, and today, as the starting point to explore the Sacramento region.
Originally built in 1851, the historic building was purchased at auction by Benjamin Franklin Hastings in 1853 and, at one time, was the single most important building in Sacramento. The building’s location was critically important because at the corner, the intersection was the busiest in the state (especially given J Street was the main thoroughfare that led to the coveted gold fields).
The historic building was also once the western endpoint and staging area of the Pony Express, the first home of the state Supreme Court when it came to Sacramento in 1854, a prestigious bank for some of the city’s wealthiest clients, and housed the office of influential American railroad and civil engineer Theodore Judah.
That was then. Declared a National Historic Landmark in 1966 and officially part of Old Sacramento State Historic Park, the B.F. Hastings Building is now home to the newly renovated Sacramento Visitors Center and the history-rich Wells Fargo History Museum, among other businesses and retail establishments. In addition, the building is the starting point for the new Gold Fever! tours and is an intriguing underground stop during the popular Old Sacramento Underground tours.
Sacramento Visitors Center
The perfect first stop for those new to Sacramento or simply interested in finding out more about the city’s fascinating history, the Sacramento Visitors Center offers key information – facts, figures, history, maps and more – about the entire Sacramento region. Guests can also view a new exhibit on display the depicts the city as a shipping hub while viewing an early carriage wagon, reading letters from miners and learning more about the turbulent early years of what was then known as Sacramento City.
The Sacramento Visitors Center is managed by the Sacramento History Alliance in partnership with California State Parks, the City of Sacramento and Visit Sacramento. For more information about the Visitors Center and/or tips and ideas about exploring Sacramento, please visit SacHistoryMuseum.org/sacramento-visitors-center/ or VisitSacramento.com/
Wells Fargo History Museum
When guests visit the Wells Fargo History Museum in Old Sacramento, they can learn about the first half century of Wells Fargo’s history and how it coincided with the most explosive growth in transportation and communication technology the world has ever known. Journeys that once took months could be completed in days and messages that took weeks could be sent in minutes. Wells Fargo employed every technological advance to bring new and better services to its banking and express customers.
Visitors can explore the shrinking world with authentic artifacts, documents, photographs and interactive exhibits including a telegraph connected to other Wells Fargo museums around the country. More information about the Wells Fargo History Museum is available at WellsFargoHistory.com/
Gold Fever! Tours
Guests to Old Sacramento can also experience what it was like to catch gold fever while getting actively involved in the intriguing and new Gold Fever! guided tours that start at the Sacramento Visitors Center located in the B.F. Hastings building. Each tour guest has the unique opportunity to take on the persona of a character in history – or a “real-life rascal” – who scratched and clawed his or her way to make this area the center of the Gold Rush. Never the same tour twice, the all new Gold Fever! tours relive Sacramento’s early days when gold fever ruled amid horrible disasters that threatened fates and fortunes.
To spice things up even more, elements of chance are introduced that could change the fate of tour guests. Through the course of the lively tours that meander through Old Sacramento, visitors find out if they successfully escaped the many floods, if they managed to keep their gold dust (or lose it all at the gambling tables) and if they survived the fires, disease and occasional steamboat explosion. Catch Gold Fever! tours by calling 916-808-7059 or visiting SacHistoryMuseum.org
Old Sacramento Underground Tours
Hidden beneath the city for more than 150 years, Old Sacramento’s underground has long been the capital’s best-kept secret and includes a stop under the historic B.F. Hastings building. Underground tour visitors have the unique opportunity to uncover the facts behind the legends that lie below historic buildings and sidewalks. Tour guests explore excavated foundations and enclosed pathways while entertaining and knowledgeable tour guides recount the tales of the devastation, perseverance, and determination that led to California’s only successful street-raising project.
The Old Sacramento Underground tour program is coordinated by the Sacramento History Museum in partnership with the City of Sacramento, California State Parks, Downtown Sacramento Partnership (DSP) and participating Old Sacramento merchants and businesses. Additionally, Underground After Hours evening tours are offered (although they often sell out early) where guides share some of the dark secrets and racy tales lurking in Old Sacramento’s underground history. Tour schedules vary with the seasons and more information is available by calling 916-808-7059 or visiting SacHistoryMuseum.org.