Sazerac Building and Blue Wing Saloon

Northwest corner of Second and J Streets

Built 1858-59


What could you buy with a bag of gold dust in 1849? Hundreds upon hundreds of patrons of the Gem Saloon never found out! That’s because they gambled their gold dust away at the saloon’s game tables. The Gem Saloon, located at this site, was one of Gold Rush Sacramento’s most popular gambling spots. Joseph McKinney ran the saloon for a short time. In early 1850, residents elected McKinney as Sacramento County’s first sheriff. After the city’s great fire of 1852, new owners built the current 2-story brick building at this site. In 1865, they raised the building by adding a new floor for the city’s street-elevation project. The Sazerac, Adriatic, and Blue Wing Saloon were among the different saloons that operated at this building in the 1850s through 1870s.