Sacramento Architecture: From the Gold Rush to Mid-Century Modern

Posted on September 15, 2011 – 6:38 PM | by OldManFoster
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I know you’re all gearing up for this weekend’s SOCA home tour, but if you’re a hardcore history fan don’t miss this Sunday’s edition of the Sacramento Living Library at Time Tested Books!

Historian William Burg will describe the architectural styles found in Sacramento’s central city and historic neighborhoods, from the Gold Rush through the 1930s. Generations of Sacramentans responded to the climate and conditions of the Sacramento Valley to create buildings and neighborhoods that suited the local environment utilizing northern California’s abundant natural resources. Sacramento’s architecture used contemporary styles found around the country, but adapted them to local conditions in unique ways. Sacramento’s architects combined these adaptations with the lessons of the world’s great architectural traditions and ideas of landscape design. Some of their work still stands, while others were swept away.

Gretchen Steinberg of Sacramento Modern will continue the discussion through the Mid-Century era, explaining how the architects of the post-World War II generation left their own mark on Sacramento’s built environment, both in the central city and Sacramento’s suburbs.

Sunday, September 18, 7PM
1114 21st Street
All Ages, Free

  1. 3 Responses to “Sacramento Architecture: From the Gold Rush to Mid-Century Modern”

  2. avatar

    By Steven Cotterill on Sep 22, 2011 | Reply

    Awesome. Sacramento has some wonderful post war mid century homes. The Eichler’s in South Land Park, and all the Streng Bros. developments. There have been some movements to make Eichler neighborhoods in Palo Alto designated as historic neighborhoods. I would love to see Sac home owners petition to make some of these wonderful homes also become historically preserved neighborhoods in Sacramento.

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    By William Burg on Sep 22, 2011 | Reply

    Petitions are a start–but in Sacramento, it is more likely that neighborhoods interested in historic district recognition pursue hiring a consultant (or at least a grad student) to prepare the nomination. The City of Sacramento’s historic preservation department consists of one person, and there are basically no resources for surveys and district nominations. But some groups, nonprofits or neighborhood organizations, have stepped up to fill the gap–like the nomination of the mid-century SMUD Building in East Sacramento to the National Register of Historic Places. Nonprofits do a lot in southern California–about half of the citywide “Survey L.A.” study is funded by nonprofit foundations, although admittedly Los Angeles’ nonprofit sector has deeper pockets than Sacramento’s!

    Some cities are more proactive about creating historic districts than others. Los Angeles and Pasadena have recently established historic districts in neighborhoods built as late as the early 1960s. In Sacramento, there are neighborhoods built out more than a century ago that aren’t considered “historic districts” yet, simply because the city doesn’t have the resources to do the survey, assessment and nomination work. The mid-century neighborhoods also fall into this category.

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    By Gretchen S on Sep 30, 2011 | Reply

    Thanks for your post on this Steven. There are efforts underway regarding some MCM neighborhoods in Sacramento. I would encourage anyone who has interest in knowing more to contact me via SacMod:

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