What happened in Sacramento?
June 13, 2006 4:40 PM   Subscribe

My co-workers and I are interested in forming a group that explores the cultural history of Sacramento, but we're not sure where to start.

The idea is to visit the places in Sacramento referenced in books and movies, and also actual places where recent historical events took place.

Here is from a friend's recent e-mail:

I like this list of exploration suggestions that Gail has proposed:

- Spot near Capitol where Squeaky Fromme tried to shoot Gerald Ford
- Apartment near Paragary's where Patty Hearst was held hostage briefly
- Dorothy Puente's apartment building
- Del Paso Country Club that Joan Didion dissed (this needs confirmation)
- Fields out near Marysville where Juan Corona buried his victims (apparently grave sites became a residential subdivision)
- I would also be interested in checking out things that involve the area's railroad history (my trip to the Railroad Museum with my parents piqued my interest there), the gold rush history, and finding where the Reagans lived in East Sac.

(Another co-worker) is compiling a list of books to read about Sac, though so far this list seems pretty short and limited to what could be pretty crappy mystery novels.

Is our focus too broad? Is there that much that went on in Sacramento? What else is there to explore? Other books/movies that took place/filmed in Sacramento? Thanks for your help. I'm excited about starting!
posted by i8ny3x to Society & Culture (17 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: I'd also like to hear from those who have started a similar groups, and what to consider when forming those. Thanks again.
posted by i8ny3x at 4:47 PM on June 13, 2006

that sounds really cool. you should post the list as it grows, because i'm sure lots of people would be interested. these are the only things that really spring to mind
-the crocker bank that the sla w/ patty hearst robbed is now a korean church in carmichael (marconi and fair oaks, across the street from the public library.)
-the old cemetary on broadway has lots of old prominent californians burried there.
-the train museum is pretty good. i mean to go up there again. there's another state train museum near sonora that's also pretty good. you can easily check it and the old goldtown columbia out in the same day. there's also the western railway musuem in suisun that is home to most of the sacramento-northern archives.
-the bastard governor's mansion in carmichael. reagan built it, brown refused to live in it, and it remained empty for decades. i guess the state just sold it.

i'll ask my parents for more ideas.
posted by kendrak at 5:00 PM on June 13, 2006

In 1972 a jet trying to take off from the Executive Airport crashed into an ice cream parlor, killing 22 people. There's a memorial plaque at the site now.
posted by Guy Smiley at 5:16 PM on June 13, 2006

You could go to Davis and try to figure out where the legendary radioactive beagles are buried on campus. You could also visit the frog tunnel out at Pole Line Road.
posted by footnote at 6:13 PM on June 13, 2006

Perhaps the growth of the area? ANd what life was like before that ugly ass Money Store building popped up across from the Delta Queen?

Gah, I hate that building.

Anyway, I think your project is a good one. Please don't forget to include stuff about Java City! :-D
posted by drstein at 6:38 PM on June 13, 2006

You might want to contact Rob Cockerham. He's into Sacramento culture.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 6:48 PM on June 13, 2006

Response by poster: Cool. Thanks for all of your input. If you have more, keep 'em coming.

I forgot about the Cockeyed guy. I'll send him an e-mail.
posted by i8ny3x at 7:13 PM on June 13, 2006

Theres some members of the donner party buried in elk gorve cemetary, my wife freaked out when I told her what they did.

Dont forget about that hostage situation at circuit city near mack road. they killed some people I think. And the toys r us by there is haunted too. I saw it on the news once.

A history of rancho seco would be cool, you dont see many nuclear reactors on the west coast these days.

Polly Klaas happened in sacramento didnt it? Was that the same guy that they found in the basement of the church? I could be mixing up my kidnappers though.

What about that giant house out on grantline road near sunrise that is supposedly eddie murphy's or eddie murphy's girlfriend depending on who is telling the urban legend.
posted by skrike at 7:27 PM on June 13, 2006

Lot of serial killers up that way, you could make a whole tour about that.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:42 PM on June 13, 2006

Polly Klaas wasn't in sacramento. try petaluma. huge difference.

there's not a lot of things to see in sacramento. I think kendra covered most of the interesting aspects of this town. we're real small.

i'd second the train museum (been trying to drag a gf there) -- but it's not super informative.

The only thing I can see that no-one has mentioned is Sutter's Fort, which has an "Indian Museum" that every good Sacramento child has attended on a field trip at one time or another. The reason no-one has mentioned it is that it's not particularly interesting. I work one block from there and still, the last time I've been by was at least eighteen years ago when I was ten or so. If you want to get crazy I suppose you could also try to find your way into the basements of downtown stores, which are built on old 1800s buildings. Those spaces used to be well used in the mid 90s by the Sacramento rave scene as places to throw parties.

rob (cockeyed.com) is a great guy*, but I'm not sure how interested or how much he knows about past sacramento culture. you might give him a try just for the heck of it. If you're going to do that, you might also try heckasac and the flyguide guys, who right now have an interesting post with old postcards of sac.

I'd be really interested to know why you're into Sacramento stuff however, particularly if you're not a native. Let us know.

*yeah, we're that small of a town
posted by fishfucker at 2:17 AM on June 14, 2006

Dont forget about that hostage situation at circuit city near mack road.

Actually, this was at a Good Guys Store, according to wikipedia. Oddly enough, I remember it as you do -- at a circuit city.

But goddamnit, that moment was burned into our brains. I know that was the talk of the town for weeks when I was in sixth grade or so -- we all second guessed the guy who shot the door glass -- I remember my friend miming the action.
posted by fishfucker at 2:24 AM on June 14, 2006

Response by poster: fishfucker: I guess the reasoning is that since we all work here, why not enjoy what the place has to offer? I went to college at UCD, yet I'm still oblivious to any of that city's history. I think it's a chance for us to enrich ourselves since we all live and work here. Yeah, it's cliche, but I think it'll be fun to go explorin'!
posted by i8ny3x at 9:15 AM on June 14, 2006

oh, well, there's *awesome* stuff here that doesn't necessarily have a lot of "historical" value. I am a huge fan of Oak Park/northwest Sacramento meandering (in a car, definitely -- it's too spread out). There's a good thrift shop circuit out there (Thrift Town to Sacs to "Thrift Store" to Goodwill As Is to Super Goodwill). There's great old signage and unused parks. the Capitol theater, now mostly home to the occasional rock a billy show and backyard wrestling crews, looks old enough to have some sort of history.

West Sac proper is really great --- there's beat up old Capitol Bowl, which is the cheapest place to bowl hands down, there's the original Eppies, which we all forgot to mention -- the Sacramento institution that spawned Eppie's Great Race. Junky motels EVERYWHERE just waiting for the right photojournalist. A great mexican restaurant that I found once and then lost, and a bunch of stuff I haven't even seen yet. Not to mention that the west sac side of the I Street bridge is a cool place to skulk around with a beer. Plus! River cats! Even if you hate baseball it's a good time, and though the beer prices ain't cheap, the tickets certainly are. i hear tell they have a dollar hot dog day.

Speaking of baseball, if you go to the Target on broadway and ... sixth? you'll be standing on the site of the original uh, either Solons or Senators, I want to say, stadium -- there's a plaque. Right down the street is the original Tower records, named after the theater. Tower Cafe, while getting mixed reviews from some people (ie, the "too played out" crowd), has some kiiicccckkkass cornbread blueberry pancakes, if you can get a seat during brunch.

if you're headed to the puente house, you can stop at Jim Denny's. That place looks like it's been there forever.

uhm. I suppose you could always make the trip up to Coloma for the Marshall Gold Discovery State Park if you're into the gold thing. Malakoff Diggins is the same sort of thing. Both are classic Sacramento field trips that all good natives have been on.

I'll revisit this thread as I think of other stuff.
posted by fishfucker at 11:08 AM on June 14, 2006

Serial killers, oh yes. The Sacramento Vampire, anyone?

The thing is, we -are- that small a town, but that's part of what makes it so interesting, really. Sadly, the Shakey's pizza that was on J Street for so so so long (I grew up driving past that sign!) is finally gone for good. Good stuff there.

You could go to Davis and try to figure out where the legendary radioactive beagles are buried on campus. You could also visit the frog tunnel out at Pole Line Road.
posted by footnote at 6:13 PM PST on June 13 [+fave] [!]

I know where that is, actually, and saw pictures of the old kennels and such. I worked for a brief period for an ecological engineering company that was analyzing the impact of the radioactive doggie experiments on the ecology. -Fascinating- stuff.

Memoirs of a Geisha was filmed partly in Sacramento, as was (heh, heh) Howard The Duck. Other than that, you can get the full list through a search at IMDB, but I don't recognize any others, and most seem either independent or with Sacramento used only for a flyover or somesuch bit location part.

Anyhoo, I'll likewise try to go ask people I know for stuff - this sounds like a neat project!
posted by po at 2:15 PM on June 14, 2006

The downtown library has a room dedicated to Sacramento. You might talk to a librarian there. Here is a link:


I strongly suspect something like this already exists. The folks at the library should know.

There's also the California Museum:


Other bits of Sactown history.

There is a network of old basements under many buildings in downtown. After a huge flood in the early 1850s, 1852 IIRC, everybody just built on top of the former buildings and filled in all the streets to raise everything. Some people go exploring in the old catacombs.

There was a B-52 that crashed out by Mather Field in the early 1980s.

There was also a huge train yard disaster in Roseville when a train filled with old ammunition derailed and caught on fire. Early to mid 1970s I think, maybe 1960s.

Congratulations on a worthy endeavor.
posted by tbird at 3:11 PM on June 14, 2006

Late comment here, but it was in fact a Good Guys, and it was on Florin Road, in the mall parking lot (near Mack). I remember watching the whole thing on TV as I sat a few miles away in the safety of my house, weird.

But that store has long since been flattened, in fact a morose Sears store is the last thing that remains of the mall at all at this point.
posted by allkindsoftime at 8:41 AM on March 15, 2007

Ok so on second take it probably did have a Mack road address, but its definitely in the Florin Mall lot. Google maps isn't updated enough to show the cleared out lots, so you still have a nice picture of the store, here.
posted by allkindsoftime at 8:44 AM on March 15, 2007

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