What Cheer House

California Historical Landmark #597

 
What Cheer House, California Historical Landmark #597

What Cheer House, California Historical Landmark #597

It all started IN 1853...

The historic building that houses Stage Nine Entertainment Store, G.Willikers Toy Emporium, The Vault, California Clothiers, and the Old Fashioned Candy and Confectionery began its life as a beloved hotel.  The What Cheer House was constructed in 1853 on the South East corner of Front St and K St in what was known at the time as Sacramento City.  Born in the height of the California gold rush, Sacramento City was known as a friendly place and existed on the Western-most edge of the frontier. It is thought that the building was named after a friendly salutation common during the gold rush, where people often greeted each other with "what cheer, partner?!".  In addition to being a hotel, the What Cheer House also held several State Government offices beginning as early as 1855 and was later used as a warehouse, serving the maritime shipping industries in central California.  The What Cheer House stood on one of the most centrally located intersections in Sacramento City; less than one block from the main commercial waterfront and shipping districts on the city and less than 100 yards from the Central Pacific Railroad.

Historic rendering of the What Cheer House (far right) during the great Sacramento floods of 1862.

Historic rendering of the What Cheer House (far right) during the great Sacramento floods of 1862.

Just prior to the the construction of the What Cheer House, a mammoth project was proposed to raise the buildings of Sacramento City above the flood plane of the Sacramento River. The ambitious and expensive proposal was not fully accepted until another devastating flood swept through the city in 1862. Within a few years, thousands of cubic yards of earth were brought in on wagons and the daring scheme to raise the street level began. The What Cheer house, along with many other buildings in Sacramento City was raised an entire story to help save the building from the threats of future flooding. 

The What Cheer House was used for various purposes by several tenants over the next hundred years but eventually fell into disrepair as Old Sacramento had became a veritable skid row in the 1940's and 50's. In the mid-1960s, a plan was set forth by the State of California to redevelop the area and through it, the first historic district in the West was created. It was during this period that the building was completely renovated and modernized. 

Today, the What Cheer House, along with 53 other historic buildings in Old Sacramento, is a part of the most dense collection of historically valuable buildings in the Western US.  Registered as National and California Historic Landmark #597, the What Cheer House was eventually purchased by the owners of Stage Nine Entertainment, LLC, and other stock holders and now houses the various storefronts owned and operated by Stage Nine Entertainment.