Sacramento Zoo Entrance Structures Landmarked!

UPDATE 2.21.23:

The Sacramento Zoo Entrance is now a historic landmark!

We are delighted to report that the ordinance for the Sacramento Zoo Entrance structures was unanimously passed by City Council! It is now listed on the Sacramento Register for Historic and Cultural Resources. We are grateful that City Council recognizes the hyperbolic paraboloids’ historic significance.

Many thanks to everyone who submitted emails and letters of support. Hundreds of comments were sent. Your voices mattered and made a huge impact!

We encourage and support historic rehabilitation of the historic Zoo Entrance — its historic status now makes preservation funding possible for much-needed repairs and restoration.



The ordinance to landmark the Sacramento Zoo Entrance structures is scheduled to be heard and decided by City Council next Tuesday, February 21, 2023. We urge you to add your voice in support of the landmarking effort. Our friends at Preservation Sacramento have made it easy! Just click on the underlined text in the previous sentence to jump to their handy email generator so you can easily show your support. It takes only seconds!

This landmarking effort began over eleven years ago as part of a City of Sacramento-led survey. As a result of the survey findings, SacMod facilitated a more intensive and focused historic evaluation of the hyperbolic paraboloid structures, resulting in a National Register Nomination. 

SacMod stands with the Sacramento historic preservation community — the City of Sacramento’s Preservation Directors over the years; architectural historians from Mead & Hunt, Inc.; the City of Sacramento Preservation Commission, and Preservation Sacramento — as well as with City of Sacramento residents who wish to see the Zoo Entrance structures preserved.

The Sacramento Zoo entrance (1961) was designed by Kenneth Rickey and Fred Brooks. The largest building originally doubled as a concession stand to all William Land Park visitors. These iconic structures are an important, rare, and intact example of a Mid-Century Modern style known as Googie.

They are a beautiful portal to the Zoo — and also serve as a visual transition to the South Land Park neighborhood — which is known for its abundant mid-20th century architecture. The entrance to the Sacramento Zoo has been well-loved by multiple generations. It is an irreplaceable and distinct place in our cityscape and collective memory. We are delighted to see these 61 year old structures being recognized — and hope this landmarking will help ensure they will be preserved and enjoyed by future generations.

For more details regarding the effort toward landmarking effort and reasons for support, please see letters from SacMod and Preservation Sacramento.

Please enjoy our slide show of historic images of the Sacramento Zoo entrance structures!

Images in slide show via SacMod’s archive, the Center for Sacramento History, and the City of Sacramento’s Youth Parks and Community Enrichment Department

FILM : “The Streng Bros. | Modernist Pioneers of the Sacramento Valley”

Sacramento Modern is pleased as punch to share “The Streng Bros. | Modernist Pioneers of the Sacramento Valley”. This short film (~9 mins) was Directed by D. L. Stern, a documentary filmmaker in the Sacramento Area.

Originally airing at the “2019 Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour – 60 Years of Streng Bros. Homes”, the film features an interview with Jim Streng, and weaves archival material and contemporary photography to tell the story of chance encounters and Carter Sparks’ magic behind our beloved “Native Moderns” – Streng Bros. Homes.

Archival material provided by Steve Streng, Jim & Mary-Jo Streng, Karmen and Bill Streng, Jennifer Sparks, Dodi Sparks, Marty Arbunich and Gretchen Steinberg.

With Production by D.L. Stern, Robert Maurer, Glen Warren and Justin Wood.

Dan runs a project called “In My Own Words”, which helps people create documentary films of their lives which they can share with their loved ones. Dan has a talent for putting this kind of thing together with humor and compassion, and we’re really lucky to have him helming this film. Thanks Dan!

SOLD OUT! 2019 Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour – 60 Years of Streng Bros. Homes

Our 2019 Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour is now SOLD OUT! We have reached capacity; there are no more tickets available, and there will be no “day-of” sales.

Ticketholders: check your inbox for an email from us via Brown Paper Tickets with tour addresses. We’ll see you tomorrow, (Saturday, June 1, 2019) between 10AM and 4PM! It’s going to be a GREAT tour!

IMPORTANT: Find and display those barcodes for us to get into the first door/check-in. You will get a hand stamp (for easy entry thereafter) and a guidebook that will tell you all you need to know! Follow these instructions and the wait in line will be shorter.

If you have accidentally misplaced your Brown Paper Ticket confirmation email, or are unsure which email you used to buy your ticket, you can use

 – or call BPT’s 24/7 hotline at 1-800-838-3006.

If you missed out on getting tickets, please join our mailing list so you can be informed of our future events:

All the best,

[Photo from 2013 Sac MCM Home Tour by Kace Schwarm]

Tour Instructions: 2019 Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour – 60 Years of Streng Bros. Homes

How to get ready for a great 2019 Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour experience:

1) Brown Paper Ticket barcodes? Check!
2) Watch for email on 5/31/19? Check!
3) Go to your assigned address, show your barcode, get a hand-stamp and a guidebook? Check!

It’s this easy!

Are you ready?!? We’re getting excited for our upcoming tour this Saturday, June 1st! We’ve got some important and easy-to-follow tips to help you get in the door quickly and on your way to having a great tour:

  • In the late afternoon/evening of May 31st, look for an email announcement from Brown Paper Tickets (BPT)! This is going to tell you where to start your tour.
  • This email will be sent to all ticket holders/attendees – to the email that was used to receive your BPT tickets. The email will have instructions regarding your first tour home address. It will be one of the six homes (A-F) on the map.
  • For safety reasons, we are only releasing addresses to ticket-holders/attendees.
  • Your wait in line will be shorter if the instructions below are followed!


Before Tour Day:

  • Locate your Brown Paper Ticket (BPT) confirmation email. You should have received it the same day that you purchased/received your tour ticket(s). Check the email you used to receive the tickets, as well as your “spam” folders.
  • Under 1. “Cart Overview”, you will see, “Your order contains one or more Print-at-Home tickets. If you have not already done so, please print your tickets by following this link: (specific link to your ticket).”
  • Click on that link to display your ticket / barcode.
    Print out, or simply display your barcode(s) on your mobile device.
  • Each ticket barcode is like a key for entry to the first tour home. See our ‘fridge photo for what the document should look like.
    – We are digitally scanning barcodes at the first door.
    – We will accept printed or digitally displayed tickets; either is fine!
  • If you have accidentally misplaced your Brown Paper Ticket confirmation email, or are unsure which email you used to buy your ticket, you can check online to track your BPT order:
    – or call BPT’s 24/7 hotline at 1-800-838-3006.
  • And if you haven’t bought your tickets yet, go to: Ticket sales close May 31st at noon.  


On Tour Day (June 1, 2019 between 10AM and 4PM):

  • Go to your assigned address (this helps us spread guests between houses and will make the lines shorter). Carpooling with other guests? Pick one assigned address for all to check in. No need to make multiple stops.
  • Tour homes will have signs posted in front, but there will be no additional tour signage; this is a private event for ticket-holders only. There will be no tickets sold at the door.
  • These homes are in residential neighborhoods, so please drive slowly and with care. Study maps and alternative routes in advance to avoid heavy traffic and difficult turns. If you can walk easily, park farther from the homes to avoid traffic and walk in.
  • Show your barcode(s) at the first home and have them scanned.
  • Get your hand stamped (for easy entry to the other five homes) and pick up your guidebook. Then enjoy the rest of the tour!

Looking forward to seeing you on tour day!

All the best,
Your hosts from SacMod

Sneak Peek of Homes on the 60 Years of Streng Bros. Homes – 2019 Sacramento MCM Home Tour – June 1, 2019

(All pictures copyright by Travis Pacheco)

Here are some sneak peeks of the homes on our upcoming Tour on June 1, 2019 to get you in the mood!

Tickets online only until noon, May 31, 2019: Brown Paper Tickets

For an in-depth look at our Tour homes, you can read more about our Tour homes:
– An atrium model is highlighted in this great article from Inside Sacramento;
– A fantastic roundup of our tour from our friends at Eichler Network! 
– An excellent writeup of the tour from local mainstay Sactown Magazine;
– And some nice background on Streng Bros. Homes in Valley Community Newspapers.

In addition to six wonderful homes, our Tour also features fun extras, such as live music, vintage wares, Motel California book signing, informative displays, and extra treats and trinkets along the way (magazines, stickers, toys, candy)!

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.

Continue reading →

SacMod T-Shirt Sale!

The first-ever SacMod T-shirt – selling 100% cotton T-shirts through Custom Ink.  Featuring our logo design, the original Jumbo’s Market in South Land Park, designed by Sooky Lee.  Available in Women’s, Youth sizes as well as Unisex.  Long-sleeve option as well.  Sales end November 30th and ship in time for the holidays!

MCM in the City of Sacramento: Historic Context Statement & Survey Results

Sacramento Mid Century Modern Historic Context Survey: Places


The Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Historic Context Statement and Survey:

This document identifies and defines the different key features, characteristics, and types of Mid-Century Modern places built within Sacramento city limits and highlights outstanding examples in an effort to promote understanding. This study also serves to educate and inform future evaluations and identification of additional historic resources.

Sacramento experienced a period of unprecedented growth and expansion between 1940 and 1970. During this time, much of Sacramento’s unique and distinctive character was forged. While this chapter of Sacramento’s development may still seem recent to some, it represents a significant, distinct, and well-defined area of architecture and design.

The Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Historic Context Statement and Survey is the first of its kind, and acts as a springboard from which future efforts will follow. It has been a collaborative effort with partners from:

plus a dedicated group of volunteers.

SacMod would like to acknowledge and express our sincere thanks to everyone who contributed to this effort, including our tour homeowners, attendees, and volunteers, who helped make this happen.

Charles Phoenix: Addicted to Americana – November 4, 2017 – 6:30 pm – 10:00 pm


Join Charles Phoenix for a live comedy slideshow performance celebrating classic and kitschy American life and style!

Hosted by the California Automobile Museum and presented by SacMod.

Prepare to swell with patriotic pride when the Ambassador of Americana launches retro pop culture into the stratosphere! With unbridled enthusiasm and keen expertise, Charles unleashes his stories and glories of spectacular space-age style, amazing attractions, local landmarks, roadside wonders, fun foods, festive fashions, crazy car culture, futuristic transportation and more galore. Your imagination will be inspired and your American spirit will soar!

Come for the show…stay for the Addicted to Americana book signing, classic cars and ice cream social!

Festive dress is encouraged  (but not expected).


6:30pm – Doors open – California Automobile Museum is open – join us for a “no host bar.”  

7:30pm – Performance – Addicted to Americana. 

9:00pm – Book Signing and Ice Cream Social – After the show Charles will sign copies of his new book, Addicted to Americana, while the Museum serves ice cream and root beer floats.

More information about Charles Phoenix:

A showman, tour guide, food crafter and author, Charles Phoenix is the Ambassador of Americana. He is known for his live retro slide show performances, fun filled trip tours, madcap test kitchen videos, and colorful coffee table books celebrating classic and kitschy American life and style. 

On TV, he has appeared with Jay Leno, Martha Stewart, Conan O’Brian, and as a judge on Cake Wars. 

Growing up in Southern California, Charles was educated at theme parks, thrift stores, and his dad’s used car lots. Fans enjoy his genuine reverence, keen eye and trust his guide to time-honored attractions from coast to coast. The New York Times says, “Call him the King of Retro”.

His latest book is Addicted to Americana.

Tickets ($29) available at California Auto Museum’s website