James C. Dodd was Sacramento's first African-American licensed architect and worked on several key Sacramento landmarks in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. In 1982 he was admitted to the AIA (American Institute of Architects) College of Fellows for outstanding contribution to the profession and public service.
Mr. Dodd's personal custom residence is currently for sale. I am not an agent or affiliated with one, but I was honored to take photographs of this home to celebrate Mr. Dodd's memory and document his work. The home has true mid-century details and materials throughout. It needs some patience, vision, and mid-century modern love to make it shine. It is located in the Golf Course Village neighborhood, right below Bing Maloney Golf Course. Here are two historical ads I found while looking at microfilm (1, 2) from 1955 that reflect other modern homes in the neighborhood.
Mr. Dodd graduated from UC Berkeley in 1952. He became a member of AIA in 1957. In addition to working at the firms of Baravetto +Thomas and McCabe, Cox + Liske, he opened his own firm in 1960.
Mr. Dodd's projects (per his self report to the AIA, his obituary, and my research) in Sacramento region included:
- Brutalist-style Crocker Art Museum Herold Wing expansion (1969) (Associate architect with McCabe, Cox & Liske);
- Aerojet Prototype Housing, 1969;
- Sacramento Community/Convention Center;
- Shiloh Baptist Church, 1961;
- Sacramento Capitol City S.D.A. Church;
- science building at UC Davis;
- the redesign of Sacramento High School;
- Rescue Elementary School in El Dorado Hills;
- Jackson Elementary School in El Dorado Hills, 1969;
- Holly Heights in Willits;
- Walnut Village in Ukiah;
- Cypress Ridge (a solar energy project) in Fort Bragg;
- Sunshine Manor in Lakeport;
- Highlands Village in Clearlake Highlands.
Of note, the Center for Sacramento History recognizes the importance of Mr. Dodd's contribution as Sacramento's first African American architect and has an archive record of several drawings as well as a few photographs taken of him at the height of his career.
Mr. Dodd worked tirelessly in the community, including but not limited to: doing public service for Big Brothers; being president of the Central Valley chapter of the American Institute of Architects; giving speeches with Toastmasters and serving as chairman of the Board of Governors of the CA Community Colleges.
I am posting this as a public service to those who are interested and love MCM design and architecture as much as I do. I was happy to document this home for historical purposes and to honor the memory of Sacramento's first African-American architect.