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What is the Capital of California?

capital, capitol, california

So many people are asking this question (in fact many people are Googling it right now and ending up here) that I thought I would finally put all doubt to rest once and for all.

So, what is the capital of California?

That’s easy.

It’s either Los Angeles or San Francisco because every time you talk to people from either one of these cities, they act like they are all that and a side of fries piled on a golden platter that floats in the center of the universe. So, it naturally follows that one of those cities is the capital.

Plus, I used to live in Los Angeles. And for ten years, I lived half the time in Los Angeles and half the time in my home town, a little known village in northern California called Sacramento (pronounced: Sak’-ruh-menno)

So this one time, during those ten years of crossing the border between the Northern and Southern Californias every week, I remember meeting a nasally old woman dressed in a horribly expensive gown bedecked with thousands of purple gemstones at a blogger conference in Walla Walla, Florida, and when she gave me her limp hand she said to me, “Oh, you’re the one from California… you live in the capital, right?”

And since I lived in L.A. part-time, my all-that-and-a-side-of-fries attitude probably presented itself and since nobody’s ever heard of my little village in northern California, she was undoubtedly referring to the City of Angels.

Also? It’s capital. Not capitol.

So now you can go and tell all your friends what the real answer is. In fact, go tell all of them right now and see if you don’t get a bunch of ignoramuses contradicting you. Then we’ll all find out who the real dummies are, won’t we.

You’re welcome.

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  1. Too funny! I can picture her in her get up.

  2. I lived in Los Angeles for about 10 years before I figured it out (but don’t tell anyone 😉
    xo jj

    1. Margaret says:

      Ha! Speaking of which, Joanna, I wished we’d met before I left LaLa Land. One of these days, though, one of these days…

  3. Susan Cooper says:

    I live near Sacramento and I can say it is a busy city. Not as busy as S.F. or L.A. but still a very busy city. Funny thing was Monterey was the original state capital. 🙂

    1. Brad says:

      IIRC, Monterey was never Capital of the US State of California, just just during the Spanish/Mexican years. (Gads, I apparently need to retake 4th grade again… My son will be there in a few short years! 🙂 )

      1. Margaret says:

        Wait, so it was the capital, but it wasn’t the capital? I’m confused. Also? I’ve never seen someone use IIRC before. I must be hanging around on the wrong chat boards.

        1. Brad says:

          Quoting Wikipedia (Hey, my English teacher never forbid the use of Wikipedia. In fact, wikipedia didn’t exist yet!)

          “The seat of government for California under Spanish and later Mexican rule was located at Monterey from 1777 until 1846…”

          And I also forgot that Benicia officially became Capital again for one day when it became a State Historic Park in 1958, and again in 2000 to celebrate 150th Anniversary of California Statehood. Obviously, instead of IIRC (If I Remember Correctly), I should have used IDNRIC.

          Ok, time to break out the California Edition Trivia Pursuit. I’m ready!

  4. Brad says:

    All these years, I thought it was pronounced “Sack-of-Tomatoes” (Yes, there’s an “e,” Dan Quayle.)

    IIRC, I think there have been 4 Capitols of the State of California (San Jose, Vallejo, Benecia, and Sacto), with one year that the Legislature moved to SF due to flooding. (Not many people know that most of downtown’s ground level is actually the “second” floor.)

    1. Margaret says:

      For some reason, I thought word had spread around enough that everyone knew about Sacramento’s upstairs downtown. Hey, I think I’ll have to use that phrase more often. My Dad used to work in a clothing store back in the day (I’m guessing around 1960) and it was somewhere on J St. and he said the basement was unfinished to the point that you could tell it used to be the original street. How cool is that?

      1. Brad says:

        Maybe it is more common these days with this newfangled Internets thingy, but when I lived there back in the early 80’s, many folks our age had no idea. My dad’s shop was also on J.

  5. Ben Swilley says:

    Sorry to change the subject but I have a good friend who is also from All-Benny (Albany) Georgia. I think she is being held captive in Chicago because she sent a picture of a menu on a restaurant wall that made me think of you and goats in particular. Anyhow, the restaurant owner who has long since passed on was a great lover of his goat and I put the story on here in case you had never heard it. If you have heard it, oh well!

    If you have never read the story of the world famous “Billy Goat Curse” on the Chicago Cubs, you need to check it out. they were cursed by the Greek, Billy Goat Sianis (that’s his cheezborger joint in the picture) during the World Series in 1945. Sianis bought two tickets to the fourth game in the series (one for him and one for his goat) hoping to bring the Cubs some Billy Goat luck. The goat was refused entrance to Wrigley Field. This was confirmed by none other than owner, PK. Wrigley, who told Sianis “The goat stinks!” The Cubs had won two games and needed only two more to win the series but they lost all after the billy goat curse. After losing the series, Sianis sent Wrigley a telegram that said, “Who stinks now?” The cubs are still haunted by that curse.

    By the way, my friend and I both knew the capital of California was Sakruhmenno but we did not know y’all pronounced it that way. Since we are from All-Benny, we perfectly understand the vernacular.

    1. Margaret says:

      Oh my goodness – I’ve been to that very restaurant! When I went to Chicago for a blogger conference a few years ago, I’d heard about it and it was very close to our hotel so I walked over there.

      IIRC (an acronym that I just learned very recently and couldn’t wait to use) it is also the restaurant that SNL mocks with that whole “Cheezeborger Cheezeborger” sketch.

      Also? You crack me up, Ben Swilley.

  6. This made me laugh. I suppose it IS a little curious that our little town is the capital of CA.

    1. Margaret says:

      I’m just glad it made you laugh, Jill. It’s my #1 objective here on the panties channel.

  7. Sacto is the capital? I thought it was Eureka all this time.

    1. Margaret says:

      It was Eureka, Linda. I think. But that was about ten years ago although now that I think about it, I might be mixing it up with Yreka, its shoe string cousin.

  8. Kate Upton says:

    I’ve reviewed your every single blog post..and it was awesome..will be back to read this blog soon. 🙂

    1. Margaret says:

      Really? Every single blog post? I’m so pleased. In fact, I”m going to run out and tell all my friends right now how you read every. single. blog. post. And then I’m going to tell every. single. friend. that they should visit your site and buy every. single. product. Because you are my very new best friend, Ms. Kate Upton. Will you be my very new best friend, Ms. Kate Upton? I like having very new best friends, don’t you, Ms. Kate Upton? I do so hope you’ll be back to read this blog soon. I’ll just be sitting right here, refreshing my screen every. single. minute. until you return. Because you are my very new best friend.

  9. The “t” is silent? Yes, Sakruhmenno is like the much-ignored, sad, little step-sister.

    1. Margaret says:

      Yes, the poor thing. L.A. and S.F. are lucky. Not only do they have two words for themselves, they have no silent “T”s.

      1. Clearly, you should start a media campaign to “Free the T.”

        1. Margaret says:

          I think you’re on to something there, Jane. You, my dear, are a genius.

          1. Uh-oh. You’ve committed a major faux pas and need to go read my latest post immediately. And yes, I am a genius. 🙂

  10. SueAnn says:

    And I for one really didn’t care! Are we arguing? Is there a problem…I am confused.
    capitol or capital?

    What town are we discussing?


    1. Margaret says:

      I know! Or, I don’t know.

      Wait, what were we talking about again?

  11. anjiknut says:

    I would have guessed Los Angeles, inspite of the earthquakes.

    I taught my French pupils the names of the States on e year for a project, but we didn’t do capitals, we did TV shows.

    1. Margaret says:

      TV shows? That sounds way more fun!

      1. Anji says:

        It was, and most TV shows keep their English titles so they knew more English words than they realised – a great confidence booster.

  12. MsChick74 says:

    I’m pretty sure capitol is for the building and capital is for the city and/or money. My boss and I had this discussion a couple of months ago, but with the way grammar and spelling gets altered these days…who knows.

    1. Margaret says:

      As I understand it, you’re right, Amy.

  13. Nicky says:

    And here I thought the capital of California was C.

    Anyway, it doesn’t really matter what the capital of Cali is or the capital of any other place is because as you well know, the capital of the universe is Facebook. When the aliens land, that’s the first place they’ll go to enslave mankind since mankind has already been enslaved there. The “War of the Worlds” will now entail the aliens “unliking” any rebellious human slaves into submission. We pretty much toast.

    But at least we’ll know what the capital of California is. That’s very comforting.

    1. I thought the capital of California was “C”, too!

      1. Margaret says:

        Why didn’t I think of that? 🙂

    2. Nicky’s comment is sofa king funny!

      1. Margaret says:

        When it comes to funny, Nicky is an entire set of living room furniture of it. Or something like that.

    3. Margaret says:

      I can’t decide if I’m looking forward to the alien’s arrival or not. Gasp! Maybe they are already here…in the form of Facebook. Holy crap, I should have known all along. The signs are all there. Resistance is futile and all that sort of thing.

  14. Terra says:

    Ha ha, I live in California and so I know the answer. I don’t live in SF or LA, and prefer my small town. So, what is the capital of Wisconsin? That’s where I grew up and I bet lots of people don’t know the answer. LOL

    1. Margaret says:

      OK, in the 6th grade I memorized all the capitals, so you’d think I could conjure it up, but the only city that comes to mind is Madison, which means I’m probably wrong. So….what is it, really? Is it Baton Rouge? No wait, that was an episode of Brady Bunch.

  15. Kate I. says:

    I work under the Capitol dome. A number of others who do the same cannot seem to keep the -tol/-tal straight. Ignorami? (P.S.: One is a “principle consultant,” which must be kind of like a life coach except for scruples.)

    1. Margaret says:

      And now my husband says -tol is the building, but ‘-tal is the city. I’m too lazy go really figure it out. But I thought when I last checked it was -tol.

      Also…. Principle consultant? not PrinciPAL consultant? 🙂

      1. Kate I. says:

        Yep, Sackamenno is the capital city, and bollards (not to be confused with bollocks) were installed in strategic locations around the State Capitol Building after a semi driver rammed his truck into the south portico.

        This consultant should try to remember that s/he is everyone’s PAL.

        Didn’t Auburn serve as the capital for a time (with what’s currently the courthouse as the Capitol)? Cap History Museum page doesn’t list it.

        1. Margaret says:

          I remember that truck crash. I also seem to remember reading that California has had maybe 4 different capitals? One of them being Benicia for about a year in the 1850s.

  16. Are you looking to raise the capitol to change the capital to Los Angeles?
    Just curious….

    The capital of Montana is Helena. Supposedly named after the Madame of the largest brothel in the gold camps. History claims it’s to honor previous towns by the same name but that is not what natives say….heh

    1. Margaret says:

      Madame Helena, eh?… It has a nice ring to it. 🙂