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:
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 Americanabook 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”.
(There are NEW and EXTENDED gallery hours for the exhibit through closing on Oct. 25th: M&W 10:30-4:00 pm, T&Th 10:00-7:00 pm, Fridays 9:00-4:00 pm & Saturday Oct 21st 10:00-2:00 pm. Please see map and parking notes at bottom of page.)
Sacramento Modern is pleased to present Carter Sparks : Architect, Modernist, Friend, opening October 4th at the Kondos Gallery located on the Sacramento City College campus.
Sparks is one of Sacramento’s most recognized and beloved Modernist architects, and is best known for his work with Streng Brothers Homes. Alone, as the architect for the Streng Brothers, Sparks contributed to over 3,000 modern residences in the Sacramento Region. In addition to these plentiful examples, Sparks designed commercial and civic buildings and many custom homes for individual clients, ranging in feature and style from modest low-slung concrete block and plywood structures, to expressionist forms employing hyperbolic roofs and symphonic beam play, to larger cathedrals of redwood and glass.
A charismatic individual, and ardent believer that an architect’s design should be based on an extended study of clients’ wants, needs and personality, Sparks forged close and enduring friendships with many of them. This exhibition will feature early drawings, renderings, photographs, models and ephemera surveying Sparks’ output from the early 1950s, until the early 1990s.
Sparks studied engineering at Oregon State University before his studies were interrupted by WWII, during which he served as an ensign air navigator for the Navy. He resumed his studies after the war, and in 1950 earned a Bachelor of the Arts in Architecture from UC Berkeley. Sparks worked as a draftsman for two architectural firms in San Francisco: first for Mario Corbett, and later with Anshen and Allen (who designed homes for Joseph Eichler). In Sacramento, he was a designer with Gordon Stafford. After earning his state license, Sparks opened his own firm in 1954. He partnered with Donald Thaden for a few years, but primarily worked as a sole practitioner.Sparks was born on February 26, 1923 and passed away October 30, 1996.
Exhibition runs from October 4 -25, 2017 with an opening reception October 11th from 4:30 – 6:30 pm.
The exhibit is FREE, but parking is not—and is enforced 24/7; be sure to purchase a parking permit at one of the machines in the North Lot ($2 CASH ONLY) or Parking Structure ($2).
There are NEW and EXTENDED gallery hours for the exhibit through closing on Oct. 25th: M&W 10:30-4:00 pm, T&Th 10:00-7:00 pm, Fridays 9:00-4:00 pm & Saturday Oct 21st 10:00-2:00 pm.
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.
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.
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.
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! Continue reading →
A Live Comedy Slide Show Performance Celebrating the Capitol City like it’s a Big Theme Park!
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.
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.
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;
We 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.
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.