The Sacramento Pioneer Association, a non-profit organization, formed in 1854 by the actions of early Sacramentans who realized the historic significance of the times in which they lived. From its inception, the Association resolved to collectively celebrate and preserve the memory of the California Gold Rush era experiences of its membership. The organization promoted camaraderie, civility and patriotism among its members and their families. Through the years, the Sacramento Pioneer Association has been instrumental in preserving artifacts, documents and historic buildings, including Sutter’s Fort. Current members continue this mission of historic preservation through research and publication, philanthropy and a deep appreciation for Sacramento’s history.
Pioneer Grove and Pioneer Hall
One early purpose of the Association was to provide dignified burials for members. In the tumultuous times of the Gold Rush, fires, and floods, this was a very important function of men of good will. In 1861 the organization purchased a large burial plot from the City of Sacramento within the Sacramento City Cemetery at 10th and Y Streets. This historic Pioneer Grove has been owned and maintained by the Association continuously to the present.
Association meetings were held in various places in the early days – hotels, court rooms, and fire houses. In 1868 the members constructed Pioneer Hall on the east side of 7th Street between J and K Streets. The architect was Association member Nathaniel B. Goodell, also the architect for the original Governor’s Mansion. This beautiful building afforded the members space for a meeting hall and library. The building was the center of much of early Sacramento activities and continued so for 120 years when the Association undertook a complete restoration and renovation. In 1987 the building was gutted and rebuilt to its former splendor. Pioneer Hall is one of the oldest buildings in California in continuous ownership of one entity.