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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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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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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Historic Mercury Cleaners Neon Sign Reinstalled!

Video courtesy of Roberta Deering

On June 26, 2015, the historic Mercury Cleaners Neon Sign (circa 1946-47) was returned to 16th Street near O Street in Sacramento. SacMod was happy to be invited to participate in the relighting ceremony! The sign and business were integrated across the street from their original location and into the new Legado de Ravel Apartments complex. 

Hats off to:

CADA for understanding the importance and relevance of the Mercury Cleaners sign and working so hard to return it to 16th Street;

• To Pacific Neon for their skilled renovation;

• To all who helped behind the scenes on this project — many individuals and organizations were involved.

Our City’s historic neon signs are cultural artifacts and landmarks. They are handmade works of art. They provide a sense of place and tell the story of our city’s past.

Unfortunately, we’ve been losing them at an alarming rate. There used to be thousands — and now there are only around 100. They are lost to disrepair, abandonment, and redevelopment.

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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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SAVE Capitol Towers! Important Hearings this Week!

UPDATE 4.20.15 – Planning and Design Commission continued their “Review and Comment” hearing until 4.30.15.

MEANWHILE…. SacMod has submitted comments to the City of Sacramento regarding Sacramento Commons Draft Environmental Impact Report.

2015.04.20 DEIR.Response.SacMod (PDF)

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IMPORTANT HEARINGS REGARDING CAPITOL TOWERS THIS WEEK! Please join us in support of Capitol Towers Historic District and in opposition of the Sacramento Commons proposal to demolish the historic district.

1) Wednesday, 4/15/15 — Preservation Commission — 5:30pm New City Hall, 915 I Street, Sacramento, 1st Floor. The Preservation Commission will weigh in on both the Capitol Towers Historic District local landmarking and Sacramento Commons’ request for demolition.

2) Thursday, 4/16/15 — Planning and Design Commission — 5:30pm New City Hall, 915 I Street, Sacramento, 1st Floor. The P+D Commission will weigh in on Sacramento Commons’ request for demolition. 

Written comments are also accepted. Please cc SacMod: info (at) SacMod (dot) org:

1) Preservation Commission email list
http://portal.cityofsacramento.org/Community-Development/Meetings/Preservation%20Commission?hc_location=ufi

2) P+D Commission email list:
http://portal.cityofsacramento.org/Community-Development/Meetings/Planning%20and%20Design?hc_location=ufi

Here is a template letter for your convenience, in Word, Pages, and PDF.

Letter-of-Support-of-M15-001-and-Opposition-to-P14-12 (Word)
Letter-of-Support-of-M15-001-and-Opposition-to-P14-12  (Pages)
Letter-of-Support-of-M15-001-and-Opposition-to-P14-12 (PDF)

Capitol Towers Officially Declared Historic District!

photo by Justin Wood
photo by Justin Wood

Sacramento Modern (“SacMod”) is pleased to announce that Capitol Towers — a thriving park neighborhood and urban oasis near Capitol Mall — has been determined eligible to be on the National Register of Historic Places. As a result, the district is also listed in the California Register of Historic Resources.

SacMod continues to seek protections at the local level by requesting that the City of Sacramento include Capitol Towers on the Sacramento Register of Historic and Cultural Resources. This pending decision temporarily prevents demolition permits from being granted for parcel numbers relating to the historic district until the matter is voted upon by the City of Sacramento Preservation Commission and City Council.

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