Tag Archives: Sacramento History
East Sacramento Preservation wishes all our members and friends a Happy New Year. After more than two years working to help the neighborhood oppose McKinley Village, 2015 was a time to return to our roots. Below is a brief summary of what we’ve been up to this year and some plans for next year.
Our popular Speaker Series hosted three outstanding presenters with unique talents and deep historical understanding of Sacramento.
Paula Peper–Historian and author of several books about our beautiful park neighborhoods and trees
Bill Burg–State Historian, author and Sacramento trolley history expert
Wes Green–design genius and owner of Twigs Floral Design
When ESP’s Judy McClaver started to volunteer at McKinley Pond three years ago she never imagined that she would become an award winning neighborhood icon. Her efforts have forced the city to address the issues at the pond. ESP supports her and the cadre of pond volunteers’ incredible dedication and hard work. She serves on the city pond committee and worked daily to clean and preserve the pond. (City Parks denied her use of the boat, so her garbage patrol and island work are curtailed.) However, park maintenance has stepped up and is now keeping trash cans empty on regular basis and the City reportedly has hired a pond maintenance company starting Jan 2016. We’ve set aside a portion of funds to donate to the rehab effort, once the city is able to create a workable plan. (At the end of this article is Judy’s “pondlife” list. Amazing what we have in the city!)
This year’s National Night Out was a packed bonanza. SWAT, canine, car patrol, bike patrol, fire, politicals—they all came, as did the neighborhood. It was a party.
Essays, provocative and informative, tackled East Sac issues with humor and insight. Our most popular essays were Airbnb, Pond Update, Exact Spot, Insist on Trees, No Permit, Illegal Building Draws East Sac Neighbors’ Ire.
ESP has joined multiple neighborhood associations in the effort to preserve Sacramento’s tree canopy. We are cosigners on numerous comments and letters to the city and support the healthy preservation of our canopy. We also promoted the retention of snag habitats, whenever it is safe to do so.
When the city sends us information, we share it. From parking, palm pruning, to events and meetings, we send it your way. When neighbors ask for help with city issues, we step up.
ESP supported the Ethics and Transparency movement led by the League of Women Voters and Eye on Sacramento. We stand firm with Eye on Sacramento and know there is much more to be done. However, we offer kudos to both groups for their work.
ESP featured Nextdoor in an article on the web site. The fun of this was that we drove to San Francisco and visited the start up. What a great group of innovators.
For more than seven years East Sacramento Preservation has been the pour and clean up team at Pops in the Park at East Portal. In 2016 we’re helping out at East Portal and Bertha Henschel Parks. If you’d like to pour with the team, send us an email!
Supporting SCUSD and school events is a pleasure. We post and spread the word about fundraisers, events and surveys.
Locals send us information about community events, farmers’ market, volunteer days, health and safety, river danger issues and individual efforts. We post all that come our way.
Traffic is an on-going concern in East Sacramento and our flag program on 33th and H is in its third year. Although flag theft makes the effort a little tricky, we know this is a great safety benefit to the community. ESP also distributes the Drive Like Your Kids Live Here Signs.
East Sacramento Preservation, Inc. is proud to support the designation of the Maple Avenue/38th Street Historical District that has been presented to the City of Sacramento’s Preservation Director. We should hear soon how the city will act on the application. These two blocks of 38th Street between J Street and Folsom Boulevard are a showcase of early 20th Century residential structures and the history of their occupants is long and important to the development of Sacramento. Many of the original occupants were captains of industry that have left a legacy of contributions to the city.
We are hopeful that this first historical district in East Sacramento will lead to other deserving portions and individual structures in the neighborhood being similarly designated. This is essential so that these resources are not lost to the speculative fever that is currently resulting in the wanton destruction of the residential fabric and character that helps make this community special.
News for 2016
An ESP High School Scholarship is under discussion. Our student board member, Emiliano Gómez, will be leading the study.
In the coming year we will work to improve the web site set up and delivery system. We love all feedback, positive and negative, and have read all your comments.
Our popular speaker series will continue with new and exciting speakers.
Please consider year-end donations to ESP. We’re an East Sacramento charity that works in your neighborhood. We spend money in no other place. All donations or membership will go to our established programs and is 100% tax deductible. All ESP community workers, writers, project organizers, forum and speaker series participants are non-paid volunteers.
Judy’s Pondlife List
Black-crowned night herons
Greater White fronted geese
Robins and other common Sacramento birds
Miscellaneous migrating birds
All the domestic ducks and geese were relocated by Judy to help preserve the pond and protect wildlife’s health.
Turtles—99% are red-eared sliders
And, of course, the ubiquitous, squirrel (most are Fox Squirrels with a few Grays)
A man with scraggly blond hair going white, a neat beard, peered through wrought-iron bars surrounding the courtyard of the London apartment we rented. I stayed there because the building stood where the original Globe theater stood. A plaque marked the spot in the courtyard. The man’s shoulders hunched and a strangled sound came from his throat. I didn’t want to approach him. But since he might be sick or something, I went up to the gate. “Saekakasper,” he choked. He pointed at the circular plaque. He said, as nearly as I could make out, “I cam trouchle oona tim gliegow.”
“I don’t speak…” But what language was this? “I’m sorry. I only speak English,” I said. I looked closer. The man was crying.
“Een ful, een ful,” he said,” tears streaming freely. He pointed to the plaque again. “Shekkassper,” he choked.
Now I got it. Shakespeare. This poor man, from Lithuania or Outer Neptune or somewhere, was a Shakespeare freak. Like me. “Do you want to come in?” I said in that stupid, hyper-enunciated way: Dew yew want? Tew? Come? In?”
He nodded and bobbed and I opened the gate. As he stepped through he put his palm over his chest. “Frien, frien,” he said, smiling through his tears. I figured it meant, friend. He went to the plaque, knelt, took a tracing tablet and charcoal pencil from his backpack. He sat back on his heels for a few moments, in a kind of reverie, then bent over and began tracing the lettering. The gate locks from behind so I left him alone.
Later I wandered into the excavation site of the old Rose theater, got to chatting with the actor who worked part-time managing the site. I told her about the man who cried and traced the lettering that marked the Globe. She said, “How lovely it must have been for him to reach the exact spot.”
I understood what that meant. Only blocks away was the beautifully recreated Globe Theater, modeled after the original in every way (except for the modern, welcome addition of bathrooms). It’s a gorgeous experience to go there, to let yourself fall back in time to the 1500s, to envision Shakespeare and Burbage and Will Kemp milling about, reading lines, changing them maybe, laughing, talking, casually making the history of a language and culture. It happened in a place quite like this rebuilt globe. But down the street, under the tile in our VRBO courtyard, was the Exact Spot. To be in the Exact Spot means something.
I know someone who in her twenties reached Red Square in Moscow. Awed, she slowly rotated 360 degrees, looked down at the cobblestones, could almost hear Napoleon’s horses clatter over them, saw The Place of Skulls (a podium used by Czars), turned further to iconic St Basils Cathedral (where rumor said Ivan the Terrible had the architect’s eyes gouged out so the masterpiece could not be repeated), saw the Spasskaya Tower gate where sleek black limos waited in a purring line, the Necropolis (gravesites for Soviet heroes) and Lenin’s Tomb. She said she experienced a deep stillness, almost a personal memory of people and events. She had studied Russian had the kind of imagination that comprehended the immediacy of the past.
Last fall I stood in the Exact Spot in the Bronson Alcott living room in Concord, Massacheut, the room where Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Louisa May Alcott and others gathered before the funeral of Elizabeth Alcott. All these great Americans here, in one small room. It turned out they lived near each other too; Emerson’s house was down the road, Waldon Pond very close, Thoreau’s cabin still standing. This entire area, including the bridge from where “the shot heard round the world” was fired, has been beautifully, carefully preserved, the surroundings uncorrupted. Said a woman at the book store: “We protect everything here. Nobody “develops” this land. This is our history.”
In Concord, like parts of London, preservationists fight destruction, City Hall, apathy, and the incessant clamor for newer and bigger. Who are these people who won’t let developers bulldoze a humble cabin by a pond, or an old church, or a neighborhood? I think they’re visionaries. They’re futurists. They have a consciousness that grasps the seamlessness of time and understands what must be handed on, unmarred. They think ahead. They know that to value and preserve the past, to protect the present, gifts the future. They know that it’s not enough to be a good citizen—you have to be a good ancestor too. To preserve historic places, to enshrine the Exact Spots, and to maintain their authenticity, is a progressive, generous bequeathment. It’s the handing down of real wealth.
I wish some preservationist visionaries had fought to re-build the Globe on its Exact Spot. I wish Sacramentans had saved the Alhambra. I hope the visionaries amongst us now will protect our old tree-lined neighborhoods. Every great city I have seen is great because of its neighborhoods, and because of the way it values, protects and presents its history.
When I left the Southwick part of London I stopped in to say good-bye to the caretaker at the Rose theater site. She told me the man who cried had come by, and was happy to see the artifacts being dredged up and preserved. He talked about Elizabethan times. “He called it the golden era,” she said, “and he thought they should dig up everything, and make everything a shrine.”
“You understood him? You speak that language?”
“It was English.” She laughed. “He was from Edinburgh.”
So. The tongue I thought came from another planet was merely a Scottish brogue. I felt a tad provincial to not be able to recognize a dialect in my own language. Nevertheless, I did recognize that the enraptured man and preservationists have much in common–vision. Both know and appreciate cultural history. Both are thrilled when they find themselves in the Exact Spot. The world is filled with marvels they want to defend, and they want to pass on the wealth. They want to be good ancestors.