Archives: 2015-16 Legislative Session

Capitol Park

Capitol Park is a beautiful and beloved treasure of California, listed in the National, California and Sacramento historic registers. The 40-acre park encompasses 10 city blocks surrounding the State Capitol.

Bounded by N and L Streets and Tenth and Twelfth Streets, the original park grew to include six more city blocks by the 1880s. For a time, the park would provide land for both the California State Fairgrounds as well as an unoccupied Governor’s Mansion. The original four-block area immediately around the Capitol was laid out in a “French system,” a formal geometric pattern. Over time, as the park continued to expand to the east, the newer sections were laid out to have a more natural, park-like feel.

In an 1885 address to the California Legislature, Governor George Waterman called Capitol Park “the greatest collection of diversified flora within any similar area of the globe.” From its humble start, the first original plantings were made in 1870-71. A Civil War Memorial Grove was added two decades later. Then, in 1914, schoolchildren throughout the state were asked to send plant specimens to be used in the California section of the park. Over more than a century, the park has received the attentions of professional botanists, biologists, entomologists, arborists, and a staff of dedicated groundskeepers.

The park is also home to numerous monuments and memorials. They range from war memorials and monuments dedicated to the memories of firefighters and peace officers lost in the line of duty and important individuals from California’s past to a World Peace Rose Garden, to mention but a few.

This magnificent park, one of the largest in the nation, provides a wonderful natural setting in an otherwise major urban landscape. Each day, thousands visit the park.

- Images of America: Sacramento’s Capitol Park
John E. Allen