Sacramento was an entirely different place back in the mid-19th Century. It was at the mercy of consistent flooding. Eventually, the authorities took steps to elevate the city above the floodplain. The structures that were constructed in the subsequent years were designed to withstand challenges of this sort, which is why they are still standing in the 21st Century.
But they are not the only architectural marvels in the city. Sacramento’s modern buildings are just as fascinating as their ancient landmarks, which is why the city attracts so many architecture enthusiasts. Sacramento has something for everyone. The city’s most impressive architectural offerings include:
1). Tower Bridge
The Tower Bridge was built by the Department of Public Works in 1935 and it was such an impressive undertaking for its time that it won a national award in 1936. The American Institute of Steel Construction recognized it as one of the most beautiful bridges of the year.
The Tower Bridge is still standing today. Originally silver, it is now coated with gold. This signifies Sacramento’s history with the Gold Rush. The bridge is one of Sacramento’s most iconic sites.
2). Governor’s Mansion State Historic Park
Despite its name, this property does not house the governor of California; though it was once the official home of the individuals that held that position. The fact that it does not have a governor living in it makes the property the only governor’s mansion of its kind in the US.
Recognized by the National Register of Historic Places for its historic importance, the mansion is quite impressive. Built for Albert Gallatin in 1877, the State of California gained ownership of the property in 1903.
Boasting 30 rooms, a visit to the mansion will reveal that it still contains the furnishings of former governors. Anyone passionate about architecture will also appreciate the fact that it has been renovated on numerous occasions with the aim of making repairs and updating some elements.
As far as impressive works of architecture in Sacramento are concerned, the ziggurat is one of the most extraordinary. As some might have guessed, Edwin Kado based his designs on Mesopotamia’s ziggurats.
Completed in 1997, it was initially meant to house The Money Store. Today, you will find the Department of General Services within its confines. But no one cares about the offices that it houses. The structure’s exterior is its most impressive offering. The shape, which is reminiscent of a pyramid, is like nothing else in the city.
4). Masonic Temple
The Masonic temple became a national historic place in 2001. It has been traced back to 1913. The temple pays homage to the architecture of that time which is why it became a historic place in 2001. It has a medieval-style that immediately captures the eye. The rooms are large and magnificent. There are stained glass windows, cast bronze rails, and beautiful oak doors.
5). State Capitol
People that have only heard of California’s capitol building are unlikely to appreciate the significance of the structure. The capitol building was completed in 1874. It has spent a century acting as California’s seat of power, which is why it is so important, not only among architecture students but historians.
The building, with its regal dome, stands out. The mosaic tile floors and stained glass imagery are popular among visitors.
6). Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament
This cathedral was the work of Patrick Manogue. After becoming the city’s first Bishop in 1886, he decided that he wanted to construct a structure inspired by European projects like L’Eglise de la Sainte-Trinitein Paris.
Currently the mother church and seat of the ordinary bishop of the Sacramento Diocese, the cathedral was a marvel in its day, eclipsing all other cathedrals West of the Mississippi River.
Even though it has undergone numerous repairs and changes in color, the cathedral has maintained its distinct style, a blend of Victorian architecture and Italian Renaissance.
7). Elks Tower
The Elks tower is one of the least impressive structures on this list. At the end of the day, it is just a building. But it occupies a special place in the hearts of the locals. The tower was constructed by an organization known as the Sacramento Elks. After outgrowing their meeting places in 1926, they decided to invest in a larger, more enduring home. For a time, it was the tallest building in Sacramento.
Today, the 14-story tower is quite popular among couples that are looking for suitable wedding venues.
8). US Bank Tower
The so-called 621 Capitol Mall is an impressive building that stands at 25 stories. Completed in 2008, it got its name from the US Bank which purchased the naming rights along with a sizable chunk of office space.
The most notable aspect of the structure is the series of LED screens that create a flowing river at the top of the building when they are activated at night.
The Bank of the West Tower is similar to the US Bank Tower. It is also just as impressive. Boasting 25 stories and a steel frame, the building features a massive parking garage (10 levels and 800 stalls), penthouse restaurants, and a 5-story atrium. As a fan of modern architecture, you cannot ask for more.
9). Old Sacramento
This is the first place a lot of history buffs visit. Old Sacramento slid into disrepair after workers abandoned the 19th Century waterfront business district. While plans were eventually made to restore these 28 acres to their former state, the area is still populated with historic buildings and museums that provide tourists a glimpse of a life they have only read about in history books.
10). Wells Fargo Center
The Wells Fargo Center was completed in 1992. The skyscraper sits on 2.3 acres. The work of Hellmuth, Obata, and Kassabaum – not a general contractor Sacramento. The Wells Fargo Center is Sacramento’s tallest building. If you don’t care about the marble walls and clear glass atrium, you will probably appreciate the museum in the ground floor lobby which chronicles Wells Fargo’s history.
The building doesn’t necessarily have the charm of its historic counterparts but it is still impressive to behold.