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Guide to the Old Sacramento Citizens and Merchant Association records
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing Information
  • Biography / Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Old Sacramento Citizens and Merchant Association records
    Dates: 1960-2004
    Collection number: MS0044
    Creator: Old Sacramento Citizens and Merchant Association
    Creator: Atwell, William
    Collection Size: 7 linear feet (7 boxes)
    Repository: Center for Sacramento History
    Sacramento, California 95811-0229
    Abstract: The Old Sacramento Citizens and Merchants Association collectively with the city of Sacramento, sought to preserve the historic integrity and commercial interest of the Old Sacramento historic district. The collection was donated by local businessman and association historian, William Atwell, in 2011. The collection contains correspondence related to the association and city entities, monthly newsletters and bulletins, event related materials, association election materials, and artifacts. The collection ranges in dates from 1970 to 2004 with the bulk of material from 1975 to the mid 1990s. The materials reflect the business practices of the association, yearly promotional events, merchant concerns, and coordination with the city of Sacramento to preserve the district and promote as a cohesive merchant area.
    Physical location: McClellan
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English


    Collection is open for research use.

    Publication Rights

    All requests to publish or quote from private collections held by the Center for Sacramento History (CSH) must be submitted in writing to csh@cityofsacramento.org. Permission for publication is given on behalf of CSH as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the patron. No permission is necessary to publish or quote from public records.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item and/or item number], [box and folder number], Old Sacramento Citizens and Merchant Association records, MS0044, Center for Sacramento History.

    Acquisition Information

    Collection donated by William Atwell/Old Sacramento Citizens and Merchants Association to the Center for Sacramento History in 2007 (accession #2007/040).

    Processing Information

    Old Sacramento Citizens and Merchants Association records were processed by Amy Long and Kristen Svozil, 2011. Finding Aid prepared by Amy Long and Kristen Svozil.

    Biography / Administrative History

    William Atwell served as the Old Sacramento Citizens and Merchants Association historian from the 1970s to the 1990s. A participating merchant in Old Sacramento, Atwell owned Mother Lode Company Leather. The association sought to work with the City of Sacramento, property owners, and merchants to preserve and promote the area as both a historic district, and thriving commercial area. The association published a monthly newsletter and held administrative meetings with a set of bylaws and elected officers. In the spirit of the historic area, candidates ran campaigns based on Old Sacramento ties to the Gold Rush with stage names and non traditional titles such as, Sheriff or Madam. Yearly sponsored events also played a vital role in the promotion of local businesses. The association often used the districts proximity to the river, and Old West themes to showcase annual events, many of which are still held today.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Old Sacramento Citizens and Merchants Association records include an extensive catalogue of correspondence within the organization and city entities, monthly newsletters that include merchant news and events, redevelopment issues, media coverage, Old Sacramento Events, promotional materials, and related artifacts, association election materials, and association minutes and bylaws. The years of the collection range from 1970 to a few items in 2004. The majority of items are concentrated form the 1970s to the early 1990s. The collection was originally eleven boxes of unsorted materials and now stands at seven boxes. The collection is organized by series, but as of December 2011, only boxes one through three were organized by sub series due to time restrictions, and interpreted importance. Boxes one through three include: administrative records, correspondence, newsletters, events, merchant information, city entity correspondence, and association bylaws and minutes. Boxes four through seven have been organized by series. They include: printed materials, artifacts, and oversized materials.
    The Association’s goals were to preserve the integrity and maintain the commercial interests of the Old Sacramento district. In 1965 Old Sacramento became the first historic district in the West on the National Register and a California State Historic Park. It is an area comprised of significant Gold Rush commercial buildings. Some of the most notable include: The Eagle Theater, B.F. Hastings Building that was once home to the California Supreme Court, and the Big Four Building. In addition, Old Sacramento was the western terminus of the Pony Express postal system, the first transcontinental railroad, and the transcontinental telegraph. The district has over 50 historic buildings. Today the properties in the district are primarily owned by private owners, and leased to individual merchants. The continuous efforts of the city and merchants association, have maintained the area as a both a historic and commercial attraction.


    Series 1. Administrative records Subseries 1.1 Bylaws Subseries 1.2 OSCMA Board meeting notices and minutes Subseries 1.3 Agencies and advisory boards Subseries 1.4 Local and city ordinances/business codes Subseries 1.5 Financial records Subseries 1.6 Redevelopment Subseries 1.7 Individual business entities Subseries 1.8 Logistics and planning Subseries 1.9 OSCMA Bulletins/Newsletters Subseries 1.10 Business census / cards Series 2. General correspondence Series 3. Local events Subseries 3.1 Old Sacramento election posters Subseries 3.2 Railfair Subseries 3.3 Railroad Museum opening Subseries 3.4 Event guidebooks Subseries 3.5 Promotions Subseries 3.6 Cavert building Subseries 3.7 Flyers Subseries 3.8 Menus Subseries 3.9 Theater and playbills Subseries 3.10 Gold Rush Days Subseries 3.11 Dixieland/Jazz Jubilee Subseries 3.12 4th of July Subseries 3.13 150th Anniversary Series 4. Printed materials Subseries 4.1 Magazines Subseries 4.2 Newsletters Subseries 4.3 Journal publications Subseries 4.4 Newspapers Subseries 4.5 Merchant menus/coupons Subseries 4.6 Attraction publications Subseries 4.7 Railroad Museum Subseries 4.8 Newspaper clippings
    Series 5. Artifacts Series 6. Oversized

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Old Sacramento Historic District (Sacramento, Calif.)
    Sacramento (Calif.)--Buildings, structures, etc.
    Sacramento (Calif.)--History
    Historic districts--California--Sacramento