Sacramento State’s Sinclair Way and Moraga Way have a connection to the area’s history.
lessons are taught in many of Sacramento State’s classrooms, but even
street names can teach a lesson or two. Key players in Sacramento’s history
are represented at Sacramento State—not only in the annals of the Library
but in moniker-inspired street names.
The University’s original
street names, Jed Smith Drive and Judah Way (since renamed State University
Drive), as well as Sinclair Road and Moraga Way, were inspired by men connected
with early California history in this area.
was believed to be the first American to cross the continent to California’s
coast at a time when it was part of Mexico. In 1827, motivated by his fur trading
company’s need for beaver pelts, Smith and 11 other men traveled from
St. Louis to the San Gabriel Mission. From that region, he and his crew journeyed
north, where they eventually crossed the American River, presumably somewhere
between the campus grounds and Folsom. The
news of Smith’s trip to California inspired other American trappers and,
later on, farmer-immigrants.
Theodore Judah contributed
to California’s expansion through his role in the development of the railroad
system. Judah took on the task of building the railroad from Sacramento to Folsom
in 1854-56. After that, he organized financial support for the Central Pacific
Railroad, which ultimately received the government contract to build the western
half of the first continental railroad.
Southern Pacific Railroad
emerged from the company Judah formed, and SP Railroad later built the railroad
tracks that form the western boundary of today’s campus.
those railroad tracks is Sinclair Way, the street that runs east-west from the
railroad to the back of Eureka Hall. John Sinclair, for whom it was named, was
a farming partner of John Sutter and lived on the property on which the campus
is located. Sinclair was also known for his involvement in the search for and
rescue of the Donner Party, as well as taking in several survivors from the
doomed expedition shortly after they were found.
Explorer Gabriel Moraga’s
ventures into the Sacramento Valley were the inspiration for Sacramento State’s
Moraga Way, the road that runs north and south beginning at Yosemite Hall and
ending at the Central Plant. Moraga began his journey in San Jose and arrived
in Sacramento just below the present site of Auburn by way of the Sierra Foothills
and then the Calaveras, Mokelumne and Cosumnes Rivers.
There is one street on the
campus, however, that has never had a “name” attached to it. The
Esplanade, which runs from J Street into the north entrance of campus, stands
alone as the only Sacramento State street never to have been named for a person.
The term “esplanade” usually refers to a walkway or road alongside
a body of water, and although The Esplanade is not situated next to the American
River, it is located nearby.
California State University, Sacramento Public
6000 J Street Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 (916) 278-6156