What Cheer House

Southeast corner of Front and K Streets

Built 1853

Reconstruction


City residents commonly greeted each other with the words, “What cheer” in Gold Rush California. The phrase was popular in Sacramento, San Francisco, Columbia, and Placerville. These cities all had their own “What Cheer” houses.


From the late 1850s and throughout the 1860s, Sacramento City’s “What Cheer House” was a favorite gathering place for miners and politicians alike. Its prime location provided equal access to the comings and goings of steamboats on the river and stagecoaches bound for the gold fields.


The What Cheer House did not always occupy this site. In the early 1850s, people would have visited The Sackett Hotel at this location. In the 1870s they stayed at the Grand Hotel. Old pioneers fondly remembered the What Cheer House. Its good food, fair pricing, and spacious rooms made it one of the most famous early boarding houses in Sacramento.