Four MCM Landmarks listed on the Sacramento Register of Historic and Cultural Resources!

SacMod is pleased to announce that the Sacramento City Council unanimously voted last night to approve all four exemplary mid-century modern landmarks for being listed on the Sacramento Register of Historic and Cultural Resources!

A bank.
A courthouse.
A community garden and arts center, and;
An ice cream shop.

These unique Sacramento properties share a common thread: they have been a part of our collective experience for generations, and are worthy of being preserved for future generations to enjoy.

Senator Savings and Loan (now Chase Bank) is a distinctive circular 1964 building designed by Barovetto and Thomas. It is a monument to the United States’ post-WWII success. Symmetry, geometry, and elongated pillars form an impressive New Formalist style shrine — when saving for the future and investing in the community were core values.

The dramatic 1965 Gordon D. Schaber Sacramento County Courthouse and plaza features works by notable architects and artists.
The building — by Starks, Jozens and Nacht (now Nacht & Lewis) — the landscaped plaza: by Sasaki, Walker & Associates, and; the bronze and copper Prometheus fountain by Aristides Demetrios — together form a site that symbolizes strength, unity, and justice. The building exhibits Brutalist, International Style, and New Formalist features. Generations of Sacramentans have walked through this plaza and courthouse doors to honor their civic duty.

Shepard Garden and Arts Center is a beautiful post-and-beam building from 1958 — and courtyard from 1959 — designed by Raymond Franceschi. The Center brings people from all parts of the city together to celebrate common ground and shared interests. In doing so, it enhances our community’s quality of life.

And Gunther’s Ice Cream Established April 1940! Perhaps no other business has provided generations of Sacramentans as much pure joy! Jugglin’ Joe — an iconic neon sign by Electrical Products Corporation — has been busy scooping ice cream for almost 70 years. We are delighted this landmarking highlights *both* the 1949 neon sign and the Moderne and Googie style building by Koblik + Fisher.

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GSA: John E. Moss Federal Building Meets Historic Listing Criteria

1962 photo of 650 Capitol Mall by renowned architectural photographer Julius Shulman via getty.edu

A report from the General Services Administration (GSA) dated August 2018, determined that the John E. Moss Federal Building— located at 650 Capitol Mall in Sacramento — “meets National Register of Historic Places Criterion A and C, when evaluated within a local, state, and national context.”

The 71-page report, titled “650 Capitol Mall, Sacramento, CA Determination of Eligibility,” written by Architectural Resources Group (ARG), provided a thorough, thoughtful, and detailed account of the building’s history and context.

December 1959 AIA Journal, “Federal Buildings 1960,” by J Roland Snyder. Via NCMH Colossus Architecture Magazine Archive

650 Capitol Mall was originally completed in 1961 and collaboratively designed by a group of important Sacramento architects: Harry J. Devine, Herbert E. Goodpastor, Albert Dreyfuss, Raymond R. Franceschi, and the firm of Kenneth C. Rickey & Fred E. Brooks.

According to the report, 650 Capitol Mall is eligible for listing under both
National Register Criterion A (Associated with Significant Events) and National Register Criterion C (Architectural Significance). The report concluded: “The John E. Moss Federal Building at 650 Capitol Mall is significant under Criterion A for association with the redevelopment of Sacramento’s West End in the last half of the 20th Century. The building is also notable under Criterion C as a local example of an International/Corporate Modern style building.”

Photo of 650 Capitol Mall courtesy of the State of California

Our thanks to GSA and ARG for their final analysis and report. Additional thanks to the City of Sacramento’s Preservation Director and Preservation Commission, and the California State Office of Historic Preservation for their interest and involvement.

GSA’s report will inform future evaluations pertaining to the building — as well as future evaluations involving Capitol Mall.  Also, the report highlights the work of important mid-20th century architects from Sacramento such as Harry J. Devine, Herbert E. Goodpastor, Albert Dreyfuss, Raymond R. Franceschi, and the firm of Rickey & Brooks.

Sacramento Art Institute Projects : New Tech, Old Places

This past December, Board members Justin Wood and Zann Gates had the opportunity to represent Sacramento Modern for the Art Institute of California – Sacramento’s Special Topics class. The class, run by instructor Jay Truesdale, positioned SacMod as a hypothetical client. The students were asked to apply their artistic sensibilities and imagine ways in which newer technologies could help Sacramento Modern achieve some of its goals : preservation, awareness and education.

From an initial presentation with 5 teams, 3 remaining teams presented their work at the ZionVR gaming center in Sacramento. 

We would like to thank all of the students who put a great deal of thought and work into their proposals and projects, instructor Jay Truesdale, as well as special juror Laura Wood, and the AIA Central Valley for hosting the initial round of presentations.

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City of Sacramento Open Call : Ethel MacLeod Hart Interior Restoration Project

Entrance, Vintage Postcard

Ethel McLeod Hart Senior Center, 915 27th St, Sacramento, CA

Opened in 1961 and designed by Herbert Goodpastor, A.I.A, the Ethel Hart Senior Citizen’s Center located in Marshall Park “symbolize[d] the hopes and dreams of our senior citizens, City Government and a great number of citizens dedicated to the welfare and recreation of our elder population.”

The design was featured in Architectural Record in December of 1962. The “Social Center in a City Park” building was “designed in the round to be viewed from all directions in its block-square park.” It featured a large arc shaped club room that could be divided or expanded into larger or smaller rooms with a massive fieldstone fireplace at one end.

Finishes of stone and vertical fir siding were used both inside and out, with porcelain paneled facias. The central core of the building was a planted court open to the sky viewable thorough the safety glass corridor that surrounded it. There were two doors on either end of the court which one could traverse through upon large circular concrete pavers.

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June 18th, 2016: Next Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour!

SacMod’s highly praised and most requested event is back! Join SacMod (Sacramento Modern) on Saturday, June 18, 2016 at the Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour from 9AM to 3PM. Tickets sold online here.  To order tickets by phone, please call Brown Paper Tickets at 1-800-838-3006. Phone orders are available 24/7.

Details below!

Our 2016 tour will feature a wide variety of mid-20th century living — highlighting the time period’s distinctive architecture, design, and lifestyle. Spend a fun day touring some of Sacramento’s best mid-century homes, gardens, and vehicles in Sacramento’s beautiful South Land Park, Land Park, and Hollywood Park neighborhoods. From minimalist to kitsch, moderns to ranch homes, and everything in between. Our collectible guidebook features in-depth historic information, related points of interest, and local vintage resources.

Space is limited — buy your tickets early to ensure you don’t miss out!
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Charles Phoenix: Sacramentoland

A Live Comedy Slide Show Performance Celebrating the Capitol City like it’s a Big Theme Park!  
Charles Phoenix:  Sacramentoland - October 16, 2015
Charles Phoenix: Sacramentoland – October 16, 2015
Brown Paper Tickets Buy Now
Brown Paper Tickets Buy Now

Prepare for your local pride to SWELLL when Ambassador of Americana, Charles Phoenix, sweeps us away on a madcap adventure as he uncovers the stories and glories of Sacramento’s classic and kitschy landmarks and lore.

With his gracious sense of humor, unbridled enthusiasm, and keen expertise,  Charles lavishes the city’s most colorful “attractions” with the respect they SO deserve; revealing the unique style, backstories, and pop-cultural significance of Pancake Circus, Jim Denny’s, Iceland Skating Rink, Gunther’s Ice Cream, Vic’s Ice Cream, Sam’s Hofbrau, County Club Lanes, Fairytale Town, Tower Theatre, Crest Theatre, and Old Town.  

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City Council to Decide Fate of Capitol Towers Historic District on 7.14.15

Save Capitol Towers

On July 14, 2015, the Sacramento City Council will be making important decisions regarding Capitol Towers Historic District. This established neighborhood and urban oasis has been a highly successful example for a livable, walkable, densely populated, and public transit-oriented district for over 50 years. It has also been receiving national attention and architectural acclaim, as evidenced in this recent article.

Capitol Towers is also home to a vital urban tree canopy, which cleans the air and helps counterbalance the increasing heat island effect downtown.

We believe there is a solution that can meet the mutual goals of the owner, the City, and the community. We believe that in doing so, we can find an answer that makes the proposed Sacramento Commons project — which is still in its early conceptual phases — even better.

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A Call to Action – Help Save Capitol Towers Historic District!

captowers_buttonWe need your help to save Capitol Towers Historic District. You can help by speaking up at public hearings and by writing letters opposing its demolition. Upcoming hearing dates and an easy-to-use online form are listed below.

Capitol Towers is an established mixed-use neighborhood in the heart of downtown Sacramento. Its award-winning design includes the interplay of high-rises, individual low-rise garden apartments, green spaces, recreational areas, and car-free bicycle and pedestrian areas. Even after over 50 years, the Capitol Towers neighborhood remains a highly successful model for a livable, walkable, densely populated, and public transit-oriented downtown community.

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Capitol Towers has been deemed a historic district by Federal and State law. The City of Sacramento’s Preservation Director and Preservation Commission have also determined it is a local landmark. At every hearing in 2014, experts unanimously voted in favor of its historical importance. However, these decisions are not enough to save it. That is why we need your help.

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Capital Decades 1960s at the Sacramento Library

Capital Decades 1960s
Capital Decades 1960s

On May 12th, 2015 at 6:30 pm. we are joining our friends at the Sacramento Public Library again this year for “Capital Decades: 1960s.” We’ll be teaming with James Scott for “The Best of Times, the Toughest of Times: Sacramento Life, Leisure and Reaction to that Damned War in Southeast Asia.”  Join us and reminisce or learn about our local history!