Editor’s Letter, May 2011

Posted on May 3, 2011 – 7:19 AM | by OldManFoster
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When the notion of an Old Sac Issue came up there were grumblings. Sure, everyone on the MM crew had some fond memories of days (or nights) there, but a WHOLE ISSUE? Really?


The interesting thing about Old Sac is that – as Becky discovered while working on her article – the more you look, the more you find. The articles in this issue are a good example. We didn’t even touch on the Railroad Museum, Evangeline’s, the fast-fading murals under the waterfront, the history of the riverboats, the Sacramento Union building, The Marshes of Two Street, the Indo Arch at the entrance on K, or Eleanor McClatchy, the heroine who helped save Old Sac from the wrecking ball. We just ran out of room.

Old Sac is neat. Sure, it’s easy to take for granted, but if you can mentally cut through all the tourist t-shirts, dreamcatchers and James Dean novelties, there is an awful lot of history stuffed in a few close blocks – especially when you compare it to the city east of 3rd Street. Most Sacramentans tend to forget that Old Town even exists until Aunt Petunia from Fargo comes to visit, and then they make a cursory trip, missing most of what the area has to offer in their haste to get out before they get a parking ticket.

I have to admit that I used to be in that category myself. Even though I’d once worked as a DJ in a club in the basement of the Union, I never gave Old Sac much thought after I’d quit. I’d check out the free outdoor Sunday night movies once in a while, or ride through as part of the Thanksgiving Day bike ride, but that was about it. Out of sight, out of mind. Then, six years ago, I had a revelation.

Over the years, the News and Review has experimented with many ways of promoting their Sammies music awards. In 2005 they had the idea of having all the nominated bands perform in venues throughout Old Sac – all on the same night. Having 20+ bands all playing simultaneously in one tiny neighborhood sounds like a crazy idea, but it worked. For once, Old Sac was packed, not with tourists, but with Sacramentans. In a few short blocks you could check out a half dozen different types of music from a huge variety of acts. It reminded me of a mini South by Southwest. For whatever reason, SNR never tried that again. It’s a shame, because for that one night, Old Sacramento seemed like part of Sacramento again. It was wonderful.

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