Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Old Sacramento Skyscrapers

Old Sacramento must have been like a smaller Southern city, with an economy based on regional trade and ag production. Like smaller Southern citys (Lexington and Macon come to mind) it had some older skyscrapers, just two in this case. About as many as nearby Stockton.

But they were great urban set-pieces, dominating J Street, the main drag east out of downtown (K Street was the main shopping street, but this led out beyond the old city, through the Forties, eventually to Folsom (the "Waynesville" of Sacramento) and into the Sierra Nevada foothills.

The one closer was the Elks Building, maybe with the lodge hall on the top floor?...architecturally some sort of take on English classical of the Colonial Williamsburg/Christopher Wren/Mount Vernon variety.

It doesn't look as good from the ground up as it does from afar, where it looks great, due to the good design development of the top stories. But the other building, an insurance company building, was pretty impressive all around. Especially with that big hip roof on top. Since it was across the street from Plaza Park you could get a good view of the whole building.
In the background one gets a glimpse of the low-mid rise modernist development along Capital Avneue, which continues the pattern seen in the prewar pix below (looking east). Note that the mountains don't seem to be visible here, which is usually the case. Though closer to the Sierra Nevada the Coast Ranges (and the unique Sutter Buttes) are more visible.
A fairly decent collection of buildings above 7 storys, but not much more. One can also see, in the background, the Cathederal and the Senator Hotel. In the forground I think the Travellers Hotel is still there, as is the Hotel Ramona just beyond, with the arched windows and hip roof. We are close to Union Station, so hotels are expected. Though I recall some of these were single room occupancy places. Sacto had a sort of transient older singles population.

This Sacratomato virtual visit will continue with a look at Tower Bridge & "Old Sacramento", then at some vintage residential architecture and local parks.

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