Come Fly With Me

"Sacramento Municipal Airport on South Freeport Blvd.
Fritz Vibe Postcard Service, Sacramento, California"

Our 1955 Eichler Homes neighborhood is a little over one mile from what was then known as Sacramento Municipal Airport (now known as the Sacramento Executive Airport). The circa 1955/56 terminal pictured above (which still stands today) was designed by renowned Sacramento architect Leonard F. Starks (more on him in a forthcoming post). Can you imagine riding in style in a large finned, chauffeured black convertible to the airport? Air travel was more glamorous back then!

According to a Sacramento Magazine article from October, 2007 written by Reed Parsell:
"Plopped on a then-rural 680-acre patch of land a few miles south of downtown in 1930, it was taken over by the military in World War II. The city subsequently regained control and by the 1960s... was handling about 750,000 commercial passengers a year."

"Air Terminal Building, Sacramento Municipal Airport...
This modern building serves air commerce and scheduled
air transport for the Capital City and its surrounding area.
- Color photo by Mirl H. Simmons
Published by W.C. Spangler News Agency, Sacramento, Calif."

I found a great personal account of what it was like to visit the airport in 1963, per blogger Azure:
"We are going on an airplane trip and it's a big deal. Here we are at the old Sacramento Airport. We are all dressed up, my little sister and I have on dresses with our white socks and Mary janes. My brother in his jacket and tie, my mother in her smart suit. You dressed to go on an airplane then, especially to fly all the way across the country. The airport is looking pretty smart itself, everything looking shiny and well-kept, nice garden and that pervasive California light. Within 5 years, the new airport will be built way north of the city and this airport will be mostly for small aircraft. But in 1963, it was the way out of town...."

Below is a familiar view that we still see across from the airport -- hasn't changed much at all!

"Sky Riders Airport Motel 6100 Freeport Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95822.
On Scenic Highway 160, with the Executive Airport restaurant facilities,
and golf course across the way. Car rentals available. 32 deluxe units,
beautifully furnished in South Land Park area.... photo by Henry K. Yee."

On October 21, 1967, commercial flights out of Sacramento were handled by the newly built Sacramento Metropolitan Airport (now known as Sacramento International Airport). Our wonderful Executive Airport is still operative and is still the way to travel for the rich and influential.

Ah, the good old days when riding on an airplane was special -- and people didn't put bombs in their underwear!

Come Fly With Me

(click on Frank for video)
by songwriters Sammy Cahn And Jimmy Van Heusen

Come fly with me, let's fly, let's fly away
If you can use some exotic booze
There's a bar in far Bombay
Come fly with me, let's fly, let's fly away

Come fly with me, let's float down to Peru
In llama land there's a one-man band
And he'll toot his flute for you
Come fly with me, let's take off in the blue

Once I get you up there where the air is rarified
We'll just glide, starry-eyed
Once I get you up there I'll be holding you so near
You may hear angels cheer 'cause we're together

Weather-wise it's such a lovely day
You just say the words and we'll beat the birds
Down to Acapulco Bay
It's perfect for a flying honeymoon, they say
Come fly with me, let's fly, let's fly away

Once I get you up there where the air is rarified
We'll just glide, starry-eyed
Once I get you up there I'll be holding you so near
You may hear angels cheer 'cause we're together

Weather-wise it's such a lovely day
You just say the words and we'll beat the birds
Down to Acapulco Bay
It's perfect for a flying honeymoon, they say
Come fly with me, let's fly, let's fly
Pack up, let's fly away!!

"And don't tell your mamma!!"

Here's to better flying in the year ahead. Cheers!

Have a Cool Yule!

Our seven year old son was excited to tell us at the dinner table Monday night about the gingerbread house he was constructing at school: "It's a flat top -- an Eichler! And I'm the only one doing it that way."

The following day we were really looking forward to seeing it and then.... he ate it.

But luckily our friend, Toni, took a snap of it before it was devoured while we were out having our "date night." Other than the flat top not sure the rest fits the modern aesthetic. When you're talking about candy, more is more after all!

Not to be outdone, our five year old daughter got to work and drew a picture of a house with the label "Ikler" and arrows pointing to the house. Her drawings always crack us up. This one has what looks to be a bird-o-copter and other interesting features. I tagged the various explanations on the Flickr pic.

Wishing all of you a Cool Yule!

Oh perforated hourglass light fixtures, how I love thee! Chance to win!

Rejuvenation has re-issued one of my *favorite* Mid-Century light fixture designs based on the 1959 Stockholm series manufactured by EJS lighting. I have to say, they look fabulous. Great names too: "Galaxy," "Asterix," "Vektr," and "Spektr."

For their upcoming introduction in February, Rejuvenation is having a giveaway contest. Entries accepted through January 26, 2010, 12PM PST; only one entry per person; winner selects ONE fixture in finish of his/her choice.

A beautiful addition to any Mid-Century household. Hope your holiday season is out of this world! Oh, and before I forget: Eep Opp Ork Ah-Ah.

Original Sacramento Eichler Home Building Permits

I was at The Center for Sacramento History yesterday trying to see what goodies I could find regarding our neighborhood. I wasn't sure exactly what they might have that would be relevant but did discover they had a cache of (mostly) original Eichler Home building permits (see more information at the bottom of this post).

 Holiday card available from The Center for Sacramento History
Putting up holiday decorations at 13th & K Sacramento 1956

The Center also had some interesting items that would make great holiday presents -- historic Sacramento maps, calendars, cards, and more -- all available at their store and at their Zazzle site. For example, they have a card of the 1956 13th & K scene above. They also sell local history books published on various Sacramento neighborhoods and subjects.

I also found a cool 45 rpm record called "The Sound of Young Sacramento" that they handed out for free at a previous event, now available for free ($5 mailing charge) from their store. This is a compilation of four tunes from Sacramento garage bands, "recorded in 1966 at the Franklin Boulevard Studios of the legendary Bill Rase." A larger compilation that can be found here. Groovy!

Sample permit I picked up for all South Land Park Hills Eichler Home neighbors 

Getting back to the building permits.... e-mail me if you want a copy of yours. For privacy reasons, I'm reluctant to post per usual on Flickr. No charge, I do this as a hobby.

I tried to identify all Eichler Homes in the neighborhood and will gladly send you a copy if one was to be found at the Center. I know of six existing Eichler Homes for which I could not find a permit. My email address can be found in the blog description on the upper left corner above. I also found some voided permits which demonstrate Eichler Homes intended to build an additional 16 homes all the way down South Land Park Drive to 13th Street.

Happy holidays from our house to yours!

Spirits of Xmas Past

While I'm toiling away in my workshop on other MCM posts, I thought I'd share some of my mid-century family holiday pictures. I realize it is rare for me to get personal here but 'tis the season!

My grandfather, 12.25.43

My grandmother took this picture of my grandfather
outside his Officer's Candidate School on Christmas Day, 1943.
He was an attorney in the Army during WWII.

My grandparents in Mexico, 12.6.44

My grandfather asked to be stationed in Los Angeles;
I believe they took a little vacation to Mexico near the holidays in 1944.
I was primarily raised by my grandparents and love this picture!

My mom, 12.25.51

My mom, Christmas Day, 1951. Living the Boomer childhood. Yippee Ki Yay!

Me, 1964

My early childhood wasn't documented that well, so I'm happy to
have these few photos to show you; especially the ones of my brother.

This is me, close to my first birthday.
Check out Santa's Mod chair and tree!

My brother and me, 1966

 My little brother and me, 1966. Sadly, this was his last Christmas.

My brother, 1966

He was a happy guy! Not quite 2 years old in this 1966 photo.
He was only 2.5 when he died (8 months after this picture was taken).

Hand-beaded Christmas tree made by my grandmother

In 1973, while I was away at camp, my grandmother made this
and surprised me with it later that year. She made beaded flowers
as a hobby. This took her weeks to make. A labor of love!
 She never admitted this but I know she was beginning
to lose her eyesight back then.

Detail, beaded tree

My favorite detail on the beaded tree: the candy canes!

My household now celebrates a different holiday this season but I still treasure these memories and special times. Hope you have fond memories of your holidays past.

SMUD HQ nominated for National Register of Historic Places

Through the efforts of SOCA (Sacramento Old City Association) the SMUD Headquarters building has been nominated to the National Register of Historic Places.  Local architectural historian Carol Roland conducted research and wrote the nomination, which is pending approval by the National Park Service. Roland believes the building is "strongly influenced by the work of Mies van der Rohe and the International sub-style of Modernism."

The architectural firm of Dreyfuss & Blackford began in 1950, opened first by Albert Dreyfuss. According to a Sacramento Bee article written by Gary Delsohn dated June 18, 1995:
"Born in Shreveport, Louisiana, Dreyfuss served in the Navy before going to architecture school at Tulane University and then the University of Illinois. He spent some time knocking around the Caribbean with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

He eventually went to work for the State Architect's office and started what later became Dreyfuss & Blackford in April 1950 after a developer friend asked if he wanted to design some apartments. Blackford came on board a few years later and was made partner in 1957."

According to historian Roland, Leonard Blackford was:
"... a recent graduate of Berkeley’s architecture school, joined (Dreyfuss) in 1953, following a short stint in the Office of the State Architect.  Although Blackford did not become a partner until after the completion of the SMUD building, according to Dreyfuss, he was a very important member of the firm, exercising considerable influence over designs from the mid-1950s."

From its inception, according to the firm's website, their:
"... design approach has been rooted in Modernism. A clear and intuitive understanding of steel, concrete and masonry construction has resulted in striking and innovative projects -- buildings that have timeless, lasting character. In the early years, the firm designed many public schools, private office buildings and, in 1959, the SMUD headquarters building -- a landmark project that stirred international interest and earned multiple design awards."

Per historian Roland, one such feature that stirred international interest were the custom-designed extruded aluminum vertical louvers that could be tilted according to season:
"The louvers were a very innovative means of glare and temperature control entirely in keeping with the mission of the utility company and its desire to have an energy efficient facility. The louver design created considerable interest among the architectural community of the time. Architectural Forum magazine featured a stylized photo of the louvers on the front cover of its May 1961 issue."

Water City (1959) by local and world renowned artist Wayne Thiebaud
graces the exterior of the SMUD HQ building

Another striking feature of the building is Water City, a 1959 abstract tile mural by local artist Wayne Theibaud. Per Roland, this mural:
"... alludes to Sacramento's sitting near two major rivers. The mural suggests buildings aligned along a water way and the motion and reflectivity of moving water.... During the late 1950s Theibaud experimented with Abstract Expressionism and did other mural designs for the California State Fair. This is one of the few surviving representations of the early period of the artist's work before he adopted his mature and well-recognized realist painting style and the only work in a mosaic medium."

Dreyfuss & Blackford have built other notable buildings in our region, including:
- Lincoln Plaza
- Herman Miller in Rocklin (collaboration with Frank Gehry)
- the Vogel Chevrolet showroom (1959)
- the IBM building (520 Capitol Mall, 1961)
- the old Sacramento Union building (301 Capitol Mall, 1967 - demolished for dead project Towers on Capitol Mall)
- the apartment complex at 4100 Folsom Blvd.
- the Powell-Teichert Office Complex
- the first Arco Arena
- the original Nut Tree complex
- the original master plan for Sacramento Airport in 1963
- the United Terminal at San Francisco Airport plus other projects there
- their own firm's office building on Folsom Blvd. (1965)

However, one of Dreyfuss' favorites, per the 1995 Sacramento Bee article mentioned above, seems to be the SMUD HQ: "If we've made a contribution to the community... it's to produce buildings that have lasting qualities and will be here long after we've gone and still be good buildings. There's no reason a building shouldn't last 50 to 100 years."

UPDATE: The building is now on the National Register of Historic Places.