Center for Sacramento History

Center for Sacramento History


The Straine Building, a two-story office structure at 1435 Alhambra Blvd, was designed by Grant Caywood for low-cost maintenance due to its combination of brick, steel, and porcelain panels. On the outside, Caywood designed a brick wall open at the top and ends to protect the west side of the building from afternoon sun. The perforations in the wall help control the level of light entering the building to minimize energy waste and offer privacy to its occupants. Standing about seven feet from the second-floor window, this brick wall also forms a partially enclosed balcony. The building was completed around the end of 1956 by Continental Constructor Company and originally housed the offices of the building’s owners, public accountants Harry M. Straine & Sons, plus the Paul Revere Life Insurance Company, and Caywood himself, with space for three other occupants.

Born April 3, 1918, in Iowa, Caywood graduated with a BS in Architectural Engineering in 1940 before serving in the United States Air Force as a lieutenant colonel and commander of the 720th Bomber Squadron at Manduria, Italy, flying raids on combat missions. He received, among other decorations, the Silver Star and Purple Heart for his services. After being honorably discharged in 1945, Caywood moved to Sacramento where he worked as an architect before returning to active duty in Europe in 1951, this time to use his architectural skills as chief of design and planning for bases in Germany and France. Upon his return in 1953, he founded his own architectural practice in Sacramento, Caywood & Associates, that grew to five partners. Grant retired in 1986, still active in the community, and passed away in 2008.

(Photographs taken by Pope Studios, Grant D. Caywood papers, MS0064, 2017/046/0001-0006)
Yesterday, the Year of the Rabbit was welcomed with celebrations around the world. Here, we see a Chinese New Year parade winding its way through Sacramento’s Chinatown and downtown, ca. 1939. Businesses in the background include Lee Rooms at 4th and I streets, Bell Pharmacy at K and 5th, Ray Rooms and J and 4th, and Kress at K and 8th.

(Sacramento Bee collection, 1983/001/01832-01839)
This aerial photo was taken above West Sacramento looking east at approximately 5 pm on September 3, 1966. The Tower Bridge and Capitol Mall can be seen in the center of the photo.

(Sacramento Bee Collection, 1983/001/SBPM01223)
In 1936, family and friends gathered to celebrate the 25th wedding anniversary of Lewis N. and Frances Crawford at their home at 2685 26th Street in Sacramento. At the time, Lewis was working as a janitor for the State Bureau of Buildings and Grounds. Frances was serving as a deaconess and president of the missionary society at Shiloh Baptist Church. The preacher at Shiloh, Rev. J. T. Muse is pictured standing at the top left. Both born in Kentucky in 1879 and 1885 respectively, Lewis and Frances moved to Sacramento around 1911. The details of their journeys are unknown to us. Sadly, Frances would pass away in 1938. Louis remarried twice but was widowed once more. He eventually retired from his state job to pursue real estate with the Star Real Estate Company. Lewis passed away in 1965 at age 85 and is buried at Odd Fellows Lawn on Riverside Drive.

The party-goers are identified on the back of the photo as follows:

Seated L to R: Mrs. Muse, Mr. L.N. Crawford, Mrs. Crawford, Mr. Crawford’s brother, Mrs. George, Unknown Lady, Mrs. Leftridge

Standing: Rev. Muse, Patsy?, Elizabeth Gray, Mrs. Blakey, Mrs. Daniells, Ola Mae Jackson, Marguerite Williams, Clarissa Hundley

Anniversary party, 1936 (Gift of Clarissa Hundley Wildy, 2000/061/008)
The second annual Sacramento ’49 Roundup was held May 27-30, 1927, at the state fairgrounds. It featured standard rodeo events with 70 men and 6 women competitors, plus chariot races and parades. The first day was canceled due to rain, but the rest of the event went off without a hitch. The program for the event featured local business ads, including this one for the Van Voorhies-Phinney Company, which made saddles, tack, and other leather goods. We have many business records and items from Van Voorhies-Phinney in our collection.

(MS0098 Ephemera collection)
This postcard from the 1950s gives us a great view down K Street at dusk, aglow with neon signs. The Daniels Jewelers sign and clock take center stage in front. On the same side of the street is the Clunie Hotel. Signs for stores on the opposite side of the street include Berland’s Shoes, Kay Jewelers, Kress department store, Montgomery Wards, and finally Fox Senator Theater in the distance.

(Gift of Edwina Coffing, 1996/048/110)
The Sacramento Observer has frequently published special memorials to Martin Luther King Jr. in observance of the civil rights leader’s birthday. Here we see the cover and article in a 1984 supplement, plus coverage of a memorial held at Mather Air Force Base in 1985.

The Observer was established in 1962 by Dr. William H. Lee, Gino Gladden, and John W. Cole to cover local, national, and international news with a focus on African American culture, politics, and leadership. It also publishes calendars highlighting African American events, plus special supplements and guides on Black businesses, education, equal opportunity, and entertainment.

(Sacramento Observer records, MS0011, 2011/031/127; 2011/031/240)
Stevedores work on a Sacramento pier with the Tower Bridge in the background, circa 1936.

(Sacramento Bee Collection, 1983/001/SBPM01220)
With millions of photos in our collection, we sometimes come across wonderful images that unfortunately have no information, like this one. Charley Peters is written on the back, but that’s the only info we have. Charley here is wearing an interesting assortment of fraternal ribbons and badges, a pistol in a shoulder holster, and a knife in his boot, and he’s holding up a bottle. The ribbons on his shirt give us a little more information. One reads “UAOD.”

UAOD stands for the United Ancient Order of Druids. It was founded in London in 1781 by Henry Hule who stated the society was “established to promote harmony and good fellowship.” The United States got its first grove, as their lodges were called, in 1830 in New York. By August 1866, Walhalla Grove #6 was established in Sacramento. The group held their meetings at the Pioneer Hall on 7th Street between J and K and originally spoke German, but after a few years changed to English.

(Edwina Coffing collection, 1996/048/156)
Wondering what happened to the head of the Charles Swanston statue that was recently vandalized and decapitated in William Land Park? After spending some time with the Sacramento Police Department during their investigation, it was sent to us until it can be checked out by a conservator to determine the best course of action for restoring the statue. In the meantime, we are confirming the type of stone it is made of, cleaning it, photographing and documenting it for the city's records, and storing it with the rest of the historical items in our storage vault.

As you can see, the face was almost completely destroyed on the left side. You can still make out an eye, ear, and hair on the right side, and part of an ear on the left. The nose had been missing for some time before the decapitation.
Celebratory butter anyone? For several years on his birthday, Herman Grabow, lobbyist for the California State Grange, celebrated by handing out one-pound packages of butter on the steps of the Capitol. Here he is in January 1978 commemorating his 80th birthday. The amused-looking ladies accepting the butter are identified as Esther Carr (far left) and Ruth Albright (middle) of Fresno. The lady on the right scampered away, butter in hand, before the photographer could get her name.

Have you ever noticed white lines drawn on photos from our Bee collection? In this shot, you can see a white line around the women’s hair. Lines like these were drawn on using white ink or sometimes a wax crayon to emphasize a particular feature or provide clarity. It’s common to see on photos that were selected to be reproduced in print in the newspaper. Print photos went through a halftone process in which they were reproduced using tiny dots to mimic different shades of grey. We snapped a photo from our bound print volume so you can see the final result.

(Photograph by Skip Shuman, Sacramento Bee Collection, 1983/001/SBPMP02409)
Grant Union High School’s new stadium was dedicated October 18, 1940, during a football game against C. K. McClatchy High School, as commemorated by this vibrant souvenir program. According to an August 29, 1940, article in the Bee, the stadium—a WPA project—was modeled after Stanford’s and was constructed of adobe bricks that were made on site by students from the field’s soil.

(Ephemera Collection, MS0098)
Born January 9, 1913, Richard Nixon would have been 110 today. Serving as Vice President from 1953 to 1961, Nixon entered the California gubernatorial election in 1962, ultimately losing to Pat Brown. This loss was thought to be the end of his political career, but as we know, he went on to be president from 1969 to 1974. Here we see Nixon speaking at the Young Republicans Conference held at the Sacramento Inn, and chatting with that year’s Miss Sacramento, Julie Van De Vort.

(Sacramento Bee Collection, 1983/001/SBPMP06667; 1983/001/SBPMP06668)

CSH is a research center and repository that preserves and makes accessible the region’s history.

Disclaimer: This account is intended to be a limited forum for communication and discussion between the City of Sacramento and members of the public about specific topics. The City of Sacramento reserves the right to remove inappropriate comments including those comments that are not topically related, comments that include profane or obscene language, sexual content, threats, defamatory statement

Operating as usual

Desegregating Sacramento: A Fight for Fair Housing, Part 2 10/05/2023

Check out part two of our three-part examination of Sacramento's role in the national fight for fair housing.

Part one highlighted Sacramento's role in the national effort to end discrimination in public housing. In part two, Sacramento is again at the center of the struggle, this time in the fight to end racial discrimination in the sale and rental of private homes and apartments across the United States.

Featured in the film are urban sociologist Dr. Jesus Hernandez, author of "Race and Place in Sacramento," and historian Clarence Caesar, author of "A Historical Overview of the Development of Sacramento's Black Community, 1850-1983." Longtime Sacramentans Macia Fuller and Marian Uchida also provide context by sharing personal stories in the fight for fair housing.

“Desegratating Sacramento” was produced for the Center for Sacramento History by Chris Lango using footage and archival material from our collections. It is part of the our film series that explores the history of systemic racism in the Sacramento region in order to provide a historical context for the issues that affect our community today.

Desegregating Sacramento: A Fight for Fair Housing, Part 2 This film is the second of a three-part examination of Sacramento's role in the national fight for fair housing. “Desegratating Sacramento” was produced for ...

Photos from Center for Sacramento History's post 10/05/2023

During the Great Depression in Sacramento, there were thousands of men, women, and children living in shanty towns on the edges of the city and in dilapidated housing, some considered unfit for human habitation, downtown. Local artist John B. Matthew visited the shanty towns, known as Hoovervilles, and drew what he saw from life, including this scene and these two residents. More of his drawings will be on display at the Center during this Saturday’s Archives Crawl from 10 am-4 pm. They will be exhibited along with photos from the lavish 1939 Golden Empire Centennial, showing two very different experiences Sacramentans had in in 1939.

That year, as the Golden Empire Centennial was underway, the City of Sacramento applied for a $1 million federal slum clearance loan, which would be used to demolish deficient housing and build 310 subsidized units at the future New Helvetia housing project, where displaced people would be relocated. Though many felt the real slums were the Hoovervilles, the program would not apply to those living in them, but only to people living downtown. Work began the following year, but with World War II on the horizon, the federal government changed course and stipulated that all units at New Helvetia must go to defense workers, not to the families removed from the slums. The push to rehouse Sacramento’s poor families ended not long after it began.

While city officials were applying for that federal slum clearance loan in 1939, the city’s business leaders were able to raise a large sum of money for a grand celebration. The $200,000 earmarked for the Golden Empire Centennial, some of which went to building an entire temporary town, could have relocated 62 poor families into permanent housing in Sacramento.

The Sacramento Archives Crawl is this Saturday, 10 am-4 pm, at the Center for Sacramento History, California State Library, California State Archives, and the Sacramento Room at the Sacramento Central Library.

(1982/064/008, 013, 014)

Photos from Center for Sacramento History's post 10/04/2023

Many books have been written about John Sutter that inaccurately portray him as a conquering hero and kindly founder. This 1895 book from our collection and a biography written in 1934 by Julian Dana are a couple examples. Albert Hurtado, author of the 2006 quintessential Sutter biography, noted that Dana included fictional conversations and factual errors in her book. Nevertheless, Dana was chosen to write "Dawn of Gold,” the historical pageant that was a highlight of the 1939 Golden Empire Centennial celebration. “Dawn of Gold” chronicled the Sacramento region’s first 100 years in an over-the-top, romanticized version of the past. With a cast of 2,000 locals, including prominent citizens and civic leaders, the pageant was performed at Sacramento Municipal Stadium (now Hughes) over four nights. An estimated 20,000 people attended.

See this and more at the Sacramento Archives Crawl this Saturday from 10 am-4 pm at the Center for Sacramento History, California State Library, California State Archives, and the Sacramento Room at the Sacramento Central Library.

(Book, The Life and Times of General John A. Sutter by T.J. Schoonover, 1895 1987/077/207; Program, Dawn of Gold, 1939, 1998/722/0432)

Photos from Center for Sacramento History's post 10/03/2023

As part of our exhibit at this Saturday’s Sacramento Archives Crawl, we’ll be showing pen and ink drawings of Sacramento’s Depression-era Hoovervilles done by John B. Matthew. Born in Berkeley in 1896, Matthew settled in Sacramento sometime after his graduation from the Chicago Art Institute. He joined the staff of Sacramento City College in 1926 and retired as department chair in 1960. During the Great Depression, Matthew was the executive secretary of the WPA Art Center here in Sacramento, which employed artists to provide free art lessons to the public. He also visited Sacramento’s Hoovervilles and drew their residents from life. His sketches offer a rare depiction of the lives of those hit hardest by the Great Depression. The evident hardship experienced by people in these drawings offers a dose of reality and a stark contrast to the joy documented in the photos taken during the Golden Empire Centennial, which we are also featuring in our exhibit.

The Sacramento Archives Crawl is 10 am-4 pm this Saturday at the Center for Sacramento History, California State Library, California State Archives, and the Sacramento Room at the Sacramento Central Library. More info and event link in comments.

(1982/064/005, 008, 027)


Join us this Saturday for the 13th annual Sacramento Archives Crawl and see our new exhibit in the reading room! We’re taking you back to the 1930s! Supplementing the exhibit on Saturday ONLY will be an assortment of souvenirs from the 1939 Golden Empire Centennial and documents pertaining to the city’s Depression-era Hoovervilles.

Meant to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the arrival of John Sutter in 1839, the original theme of the Golden Empire Centennial didn’t include the Gold Rush at all, since organizers anticipated a celebration of that in 1949. Regardless, this history-themed event became a mishmash of western/cowboy/gold miner tropes, and the public didn’t seem to care. These tiny gold panning sets were sold as genuine Golden Empire Centennial souvenirs during the event. A 5-inch pan, an information sheet on gold panning, and three ounces of “gold bearing” sand from Coloma could be purchased for 49 cents – 55 cents and you could mail it anywhere!

The Sacramento Archives Crawl is 10 am-4 pm Saturday, October 7, at the Center for Sacramento History, California State Library, California State Archives, and the Sacramento Room at the Sacramento Central Library.

Souvenir, 1939 (2004/032/001)


Circus performances were a big attraction at Memorial Auditorium. In this image, Lou Jacobs, a clown with the Ben Ali Shrine-Polack Brothers Circus, holds a captivated Christy Huffman as he makes his way through the crowd at a June 1954 performance. Ticket prices for reserved seats were $2.50 and general admission seats were $1.20. The circus was making its 19th annual appearance. Sacramento Bee photographer Harlin Smith captured the scene.

(Sacramento Bee Collection, 1983/001)


The Walnut Grove Bridge, a Strauss type heel-trunnion bascule bridge, was constructed in 1951 over the Sacramento River to connect Locke and Walnut Grove to the west side of the river.

(Sacramento Bee Collection, 1983/001/SBPM01246)

Sacramento City Mortality Register, 1850-1852 : E. S. Youmans : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive 09/27/2023

The Sacramento City mortality register from 1850-1852 that we recently received has been digitized and is available online. Take a look!

The register records deaths from April 9, 1850, to April 29, 1852. It was created by Sacramento undertaker Earl Stimson Youmans, who was contracted by the City of Sacramento to work as City Undertaker and see to the burial of those who died while in city care (at the city hospital). The book lists names of deceased along with their age, cause of death, residence prior to coming to Sacramento, and attending physician. Organized chronologically. The book is particularly interesting because it documents the cholera epidemic of October-November 1850.

Sacramento City Mortality Register, 1850-1852 : E. S. Youmans : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive This mortality register for Sacramento City records deaths from April 9, 1850, to April 29, 1852. It was created by Sacramento undertaker Earl Stimson Youmans,...

Photos from Center for Sacramento History's post 09/27/2023

In this 1936 photograph, we see the northern edge of Sacramento’s West End at Front and I Streets. Now known to most as Old Sacramento, the district has changed quite a bit since this photo was taken. The long structure in the center of the photo is the Municipal Recreation Center for Men. Built at the site of the old City Hall and Waterworks, the Rec Center was constructed in 1934 as an expansion to an existing shelter for unemployed single men. It was initially operated by the city recreation department using city funds and charitable donations. Bunkbeds and mattresses were provided by the State Emergency Relief Administration. By 1940, the facility was providing twice daily meals to upwards of 1,000 men. During WWII, the shelter was used by Southern Pacific to house migrant workers, many from Mexico. It was torn down in the late 1940s.

In the second shot, we see shelter residents and guests gathered for a Christmas program in 1935. They sit in the space next door to the 1934-constructed shelter that was likely part of the original City Hall and waterworks facility built in the 1850s. Men slept on the floor of this building before the 1934 expansion.

(Municipal Recreation Center for Men, exterior, 1936 (2006/023/011; Christmas at the Rec Center, 1935 (1999/x-04/056)

Photos from Center for Sacramento History's post 09/26/2023

Fifty Rio Linda farmers, members of the Rio Linda Farm Center, spent an entire day in December 1921 repairing roads and culverts in their district in preparation for winter. All Farm Center members contributed to the “Good Roads Day” project by donating their time or equipment, and the men were able to get 14 miles of roads in good shape and 9 culverts repaired. Rio Linda’s Farm Center was one of several districts of the Sacramento County Farm Bureau.

(Sacramento County Cooperative Agricultural Extension Service collection, 1980/002/2193-2196)


First airing in May 1945, KXOA was the fourth radio station operating in Sacramento behind KFBK, KROY, and KCRA. Original owner and manager Lincoln Dellar had the station on air from 6 am to midnight on weekdays and 7 am to midnight on Sundays. Beginning in 1965, KXOA published the newspaper Hitliner, which promised “lots of pictures of your favorite artists, and special stories about them by the KXOA Men of Music.” Sacramento radio legend Johnny Hyde wrote articles on popular English artists for the publication in his column “Gear Lines.” Here we see the May 24, 1965 issue.

(MS0141, Joey D collection)

Photos from Center for Sacramento History's post 09/22/2023

On November 26, 1929, the Nonpareil department store at 610-618 K Street opened an exhibition of 1,400 artworks created by local students. The extensive display was also a juried contest, grouped by grade levels and assessed by a panel of five judges. The Grand Prize of $75 cash and an engraved silver cup was awarded to 14-year-old Griggs Gleie of William Land Junior High School for his pastel and charcoal drawing of the central building at Sutter’s Fort.

Accompanying the exposition was an evening gala, allowing the Nonpareil to showcase renovations to their store, and to accommodate the schedules of working parents. After more than 30 years on K Street, the Nonpareil closed in 1930.

(Drawing by Griggs Gleie, 1929, 2004/062/001; Trophy, 1929, 2004/062/002)


The H Street Bridge over the American River, believed to have been taken in the 1930s, sometime after the bridge’s opening in 1933. The photograph was unfortunately folded, cut apart, and drawn on before it came to us.

(Sacramento Bee Collection, 1983/001/SBPM01121)


Ninety-one years ago, Franklin D. Roosevelt visited Sacramento. Why? He was on the campaign trail. Between securing the democratic presidential nomination in June and the election in November, the enigmatic New York governor and his entourage embarked on a 9000-mile train tour of the country. California’s capital was only one of dozens of stops. On September 22, 1932, a Sacramento Bee photographer captured FDR addressing the crowd from the rear of his private railcar at the Southern Pacific Passenger Station downtown. A crowd of thousands cheered the nominee at the station and throughout his brief automobile tour of the city. A wheelchair user due to the effects of polio, FDR is shown gripping a column, presumably to steady himself in a standing position.

Standing alongside Roosevelt are (L to R) James Farley, national committeeman; James Roosevelt, son; Frank H. Buck, nominee for congress; George Vice, regional campaign director, and William G. McAdoo, nominee for US Senate. The following day, FDR delivered a now famous speech to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. Given at the peak of the Great Depression, the speech vaguely promoted a progressive approach to government regulation of big business and the responsibility corporations should have in acting for the common good.

(Sacramento Bee collection, 1983/001/09283)

Photos from Center for Sacramento History's post 09/19/2023

We recently received a special gift from the California Historical Society: a Sacramento death register from 1850 to 1852. What’s so special about this register? It documents Sacramento’s cholera epidemic of 1850. Folks die from all manner of ailments and accidents throughout the volume, but in October and November 1850, nearly everyone is dying from cholera, as you can see in the pages shared here.

The register, created be undertaker Earl Stimson Youmans, who was hired by the city to create mortality reports, lists names of the deceased along with their age, cause of death, attending physician, and, of particular interest to genealogists, where they moved to Sacramento from.


Sacramento rock group Steelwind was started in the early 1970s by Jack Traylor on vocals and acoustic guitar, Craig Chaquico on electric guitar, and a flutist. Eventually, Skip Morarity became the flutist, rhythm guitarist, and sometimes vocalist, with Dan Virdier on bass/vocals, John Bishop on drums, and Diana Harris on vocals. The band played gigs at local places such as Crabshaw Corner and the Shire Road Pub, and in 1973 released their first album, Child of Nature. Chaquico went on to become the lead guitarist for Jefferson Starship.

Shown here is a flyer for a benefit concert the band played at the Shire Road Pub in Fair Oaks for the California Ma*****na Initiative in the 1970s. In 1996, with the passing of the Compassionate Use Act, California became the first state to allow medical cannabis use. Adult recreational use was legalized in 2016 with Proposition 64.

(MS0067, Jeff Hughson collection)


A group of folks hang out in front of the P. G. Riehl General Merchandise store in Freeport in this circa 1900 photograph. The store was owned by Illinois native Philip G. Riehl, who also ran the post office, saloon, ferry, and telephone company at Freeport at various times. Riehl came to the area in the 1850s. He died in 1905 at age 68 and is buried in the Old City Cemetery.



This photo of the construction of the Jibboom Street Bridge was taken by Robert Handsaker and appeared in the Sacramento Bee on August 16, 1966. The article highlighted how a sandbar was constructed on the south bank of the American River in order to facilitate easier construction of the bridge. The sandbar required pumps running 24 hours a day to ensure it did not sink back into the river.

(Sacramento Bee Collection, 1983/001/SBPM01162)


Ah the majestic cliffs of… Sacramento? Perhaps the guy who designed this 1907 sheet music cover art had a very active imagination. Chances are, he never visited our fair city. Our copy of this sheet music came to us from Sacramento resident Marjorie Smart in 1986. Her father had gifted the sheet music to her mother when they were courting in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, around the time of its publication. Marjorie’s mom, Ollye Burns, played the piano and loved to sing.

The lyrics of “Sacramento” were written by well-known vaudevillian Andrew B. Sterling with music by Harry Von Tilzer. The men had a 30-year professional partnership and are members of the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Sterling dedicated this tune to his Sacramento friend Chris O. Brown. As the Sacramento Bee noted in a 1907 gossip column, Brown was a former Bee employee before “theatrical fever took a strong hold upon his system, and he abandoned the printing office for show business.” Brown managed theatrical productions for many years until his death in Hollywood in 1933.

“Sacramento – that’s the only place I know! Honest I would be content to live and die in Sacramento! Hi there, hoop-la! Hop up and away we go, all aboard for sunny Sacramento!” -Chorus

(Sheet music, "Sacramento," Andrew B. Sterling and Harry Von Tilzer, New York, NY, 1907. 1986/099/001.)

Photos from Center for Sacramento History's post 09/11/2023

Local blues musician Mick Martin’s album, Prisoner of the Sky, seen here, was recorded at the Sacramento-based Moon Studios. Martin has played blues harmonica professionally since the 1960s, and one of his groups, Mick Martin and the Blues Rockers, has won the Sacramento Area Music Award (the SAMMIES) three times for Best Blues Band. In 1994, Martin performed with his harmonica at Carnegie Hall for the “Blues in Jazz” concert with Jimmy Smith, Jimmy Witherspoon, Grover Washington Jr., Carrie Smith, and Mark Whitfield. In addition to his talent as a musician, Martin has decades of experience hosting radio shows, including “Mick Martin’s Blues Party.”

(MS0067, Jeff Hughson collection)


This westward facing view of the Pioneer Bridge under construction was taken by a Sacramento Bee photographer on April 11, 1966.

(Collection Sacramento Bee, 1983/001/SBPM01190)


This cased photographic image of the Pierce Family is an ambrotype. Ambrotypes replaced daguerreotypes in popularity by 1860. They were cheaper to produce and required a shorter exposure time. Made from an exposed glass negative, they were backed by black paint or paper, giving them a matte finish that could be viewed without having to tilt the plate to see the image.

Photographers often added hand-painted details to the plate surface like gold belt buckles or rosy cheeks.

Who were the Pierces? Born in Pennsylvania in 1818, Everitt Pierce traveled to California in the 1850s. Once in Sacramento, he made his living as a farmer, capitalist, and county elections officer. He seems to have been quite the litigious fellow. In 1890, he sued the City for $2500 in damages related to work on the Y Street levee which bordered his property. He lost the case in 1891 but continued to fight with the city about it, even going so far as removing a surveyor’s markers in 1892 and throwing him off the land.

Marie Andrau-Pierce was born in Germany in 1823. According to her 1909 obituary, she came here with her prior husband, a Frenchman named Jean Andrau, “in the days of gold” and was “widely known and esteemed” within the city. Marie and Jean had a daughter they named Jovette around 1850 in California.

Unfortunately, Jean died of enteritis in 1857. Marie married Everitt Pierce sometime between 1857 and 1870. Although we don’t know if Everitt ever officially adopted little Jovette, he referred to her as his “dearly loved stepdaughter” in his will.

After her stepfather’s death in 1897, Jovette continued to live with her mother at their house at 1423 P Street. In 1909, Jovette married widower James R. Taylor. Sadly, James died in 1911 of kidney disease. Jovette died in 1931 at age 81 and is buried next to her husband and parents in the Old City Cemetery.

Ambrotype of the Pierce Family, c. 1860 (Gift of Olivette Dennison, 1975/012/001)


With beginnings in Oak Park, the Deftones have grown into a Grammy award-winning alternative metal band with nine full-length albums under their belt so far. Formed in 1988 when they were skateboarding teens, and still active today, the lineup of the Deftones has changed from time to time over the decades. Here, on the cover of Pulse! in July 2000, we see frontman Chino Moreno, guitarist Stephen Carpenter, and drummer Abe Cunninham, who have been with the band since inception. Also throwing out their te****le tongue is long-time bassist, Chi Cheng and keyboardist/turntablist, Frank Delgado.

(Jeff Hughson collection, MS0067)


George E. Johnson’s Del Prado Restaurant, “The Home of Mahogany-Broiled Steaks,” was located at Fruitridge Road and Stockton Boulevard in the 1950s. The restaurant specialized in continental cuisine, banquets, and catering services. The popular eatery featured gardens, a patio, and sunken piano room billed as “Sacramento’s most colorful lounge.” Not known to us, however, is the number of dads who were guilted into dining there after seeing this advertisement on the restaurant’s catering wagon!



This July 1965 aerial view, looking north along the Sacramento River, shows the Pioneer Memorial Bridge under construction just south of Downtown Sacramento. The bridge was constructed to connect U.S. Route 50 on the Sacramento side of the river to California State Route 99 on the Yolo side of the river. Eagle-eyed observers will note the Tower Bridge at the top of the photo.

(Sacramento Bee Collection, 1983/001/SBPM01186)


In this image, Flossie Crump is shown attending a briefing shortly after her graduation from the police academy in 1974. Officers Flossie Crump and Felicia Allen were not only the first female patrol officers for the Sacramento Police Department, they were also the city’s first Black female patrol officers. Despite enduring blatant racism and sexist comments from some coworkers, the women served the city for 25 and 16 years respectively. Both were honored at a ceremony at the department’s Freeport headquarters in 2018.

(Photograph by Owen Brewer, Sacramento Bee Collection, 1983/001/SBPMP00989)

Photos from Center for Sacramento History's post 08/29/2023

Is there such a thing as too many tubas? Nope! Tubarama, an all-tuba concert, was held during the 10th annual Sacramento Dixieland Jubilee in Old Sacramento in 1983. The man looking at the camera in the second photo (also seen front and center in the first) is multi-instrumentalist Jim Maihack, who was heavily involved in Sacramento’s trad jazz scene. These photos come from one of his photo albums that was recently donated to the Center and processed into the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society Records. Miss the old Jubilee? The 8th annual Hot Jazz Jubilee takes place at the Sacramento DoubleTree this weekend, with a special tribute to Maihack, who died last year.

(Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society Records, MS0007)

Photos from Center for Sacramento History's post 08/28/2023

Hey all you honorary Rutabagas! The Rutabaga Boogie Band was a popular Sacramento group during the 1970s and 1980s. The band was made up of Bill Horton and Larry Gosch on guitar and vocals, Dave Phelps on guitar, Craig Mozley on bass, and Bob Hudson and Russ Martinex on drums. Given the Groucho Marx look on this poster and lack of a date, it is difficult to definitively determine who is missing from the group photo. What do you Rutabagas think? While mostly jamming covers, the Rutabaga Boogie Band had local hits that rotated on KZAP and KSFM. They rocked well-known places in Sacramento, including the Oasis Ballroom and Shire Road Pub.

(Jeff Hughson collection, MS0067)

Photos from Sacramento Archives Crawl's post 08/25/2023

The Sacramento Archives Crawl is coming up, on October 7! We’re working on our exhibit now. Here’s a sneak peek…


This photo from the July 30, 1966, edition of the Sacramento Bee shows an eastward view of the construction of a second span of the 16th Street Bridge crossing the American River. The three new lanes are reported to have cost $1.88 million to build, and would be just for northeastern bound traffic, switching the older span to southwestern bound traffic. The photo was taken by Bee photographer Lee Neibaur.

(Sacramento Bee Collection, 1983/001/SBPM01050)

Photos from Center for Sacramento History's post 08/23/2023

None of them are Martha Graham but these dancers from Sacramento High School were clearly inspired by the famous choreographer’s modern style. In 1937, Graham performed for President and Mrs. Roosevelt at the White House. She had gained fame as an innovative performer and choreographer known for movements meant to evoke emotion. Unfortunately, these dancers aren’t identified by name in our copy of Sac High’s 1939 yearbook.

(Sac High Modern Dance Group, 1939, Michael T. Benning Collection, 1983/232/08276; Sacramento High School Yearbook, 1939, 1994/025)


A Solons fan used this score book to track plays during a home game against the Seattle Rainiers on August 26, 1953, part of a seven-game series that week. The Solons lost the game 3-1. The score book also contains local advertisements and short articles on the team and its players.

(Ephemera Collection, MS0098)


The original KZAP radio station hit the airwaves in 1968, becoming a Sacramento staple with its freeform programming based off the DJ’s mood. The station played a mix of classic rock and blues, plus new music that might not have been getting mainstream airplay at the time. KZAP went off the air in 1992, but returned in 2015 with some of the original employees, including Dennis Newhall. The logo, a smiling orange cartoon cat, is still being used by the revitalized station. What music do you remember hearing for the first time on KZAP?

The poster shown here was created in 1974 by Shepherd Studios and came from the collection of another original KZAP employee, Jeff Hughson.

(Jeff Hughson collection, MS0067)


This photo of the 16th Street Bridge in North Sacramento, looking south, was taken in October 1948. Eagle-eyed viewers will note the Breuner's billboard advertisement.

(Sacramento Bee Collection, 1983/001/SBPM01048)


Here, a group of employees of the Van Voorhies-Phinney Company pose for a photograph on their sales floor around 1900. The company manufactured quality saddles, harnesses, and leather goods at their shop on J Street for over a hundred years. Their most well-known craftsperson, Cornielio “Tony” Ledesma might be one of the men in this photo. His custom saddles remain highly prized by collectors today.

(Interior of the Van Voorhies & Phinney Company at 322 J Street, ca. 1900, Gift of Raymond Ledesma, 2003/030/002)


Folks gather in the middle of a flooded Del Paso Boulevard after the American River breached its banks in late March 1928. The photo is looking southwest down Del Paso (Carlson’s Garage was at 1620 Del Paso) near Arden Way.

(Sacramento Bee collection, 1983/001/SBPM5528)


Shire Road Pub, a rock ‘n’ roll club owned by the Sterchi family, opened at 4241 Howard Street in Fair Oaks in 1973. It was a popular spot for up-and-coming bands to play, and the Beau Brummels recorded their Live! album there in 1974. The club burned down on May 27, 1977. The following year, a new Shire Road Pub opened at the corner of Auburn and Garfield, in a building previously occupied by the bar Froma’s. The band Barrelhouse, formerly known as Hotcakes, played the opened show at the new building. Shire Road Pub closed for good in 1994.

The June 1974 calendar art shown here was created by local artist Roger Shepherd.

(Jeff Hughson collection, MS0067)


“Because of the very fact that most of us live in the project area, we know that all of us will be affected as the redevelopment program progresses… We know from our wartime experience that there is considerable financial loss to being dislocated and relocated.”

On June 15, 1954, Henry Taketa addressed Sacramento City Council at a special public hearing on redevelopment plans. Taketa, an attorney and president of the Japanese-American Redevelopment Study Association, urged the council to treat West End residents fairly and equitably before a packed chamber of over 200 attendees.

(Sacramento Bee Collection, 1983/001)

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