Spirits of Halloweens Past

I love Halloween. It's my favorite holiday! I have fond memories of my grandmother taking me trick-or-treating and then staying home with her after I turned 10 to hand out special bags of candy and toys to kids.

She had a fun-loving and goofy side -- she surprised me with a knitted and crocheted pumpkin one year! My kids love this guy.

Three years ago it was also my grandmother's last night so we light a special candle called a Yahrzeit in her memory.

Hope your Halloween is filled with fun surprises and loving memories!

Sacramento Room's New Digital Collection

When I heard about the Digital Collection project at the downtown Sacramento Pubic Library from the great folks in the Sacramento Room, I was really excited. And boy, did they deliver!

The new collection "features digital images of photographs, menus, postcards and other items from the Sacramento Public Library’s Special Collections."

This project was indeed a labor of love; per their site: "over 3,000 photographs, postcards and menus form the original Sacramento Digital Collections which – from beginning to end – took over a year to compile, scan, and describe. The project mission is to provide an image-based window into the social, political and economic history of the Greater Sacramento area, from the 1840s to the present-day."

The images are a real portal to the past -- enjoy!

Bookcase experiment - the before

You'd think we would have had our fill of home improvement stuff after preparing our home for the Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour. But we have lots of Big Ideas and it's time to get back to work.

When we designed and installed the bookcase, it was always our intention to paint the various shelves and their backings different colors. We simply never got around to it. That's a good thing as I'm not sure we would have picked the same palette.

Now that we are ready, we also want a system that will be flexible to changes over time -- something that would allow us to return the bookcase to neutral or switch out colors later on. We decided on painting wood panels and slipping them into place. Our friend and contractor John DiDomenico is helping us out with this.

I'll let you know how it turns out!

Old School!

Hey! Look what I dragged out from my old design school portfolio: some ~1999 pix of that I took of old Sacramento buildings and signage that I adore. I took these during a photography class; all manual settings on my old 35mm camera. Poke around on my Flickr links below to learn more about these places.

Cardinal Bowling Lanes sign, Del Paso Heights, Sacramento. Circa 1962.

Lil Joe's Over A Million Steaks Sold, Del Paso Heights, Sacramento. Circa 1946.

Gunther's Ice Cream, Curtis Park, Sacramento. Circa 1949.
Building designed by Koblik and Fisher.
Arden Motel sign, Del Paso Heights, Sacramento.
Circa 1961/62 per Sacramento Suburban Directory.

Tower Theatre, Land Park, Sacramento. Circa 1938.
Building designed by William B. David

Iceland Ice Skating Rink, Del Paso Heights, Sacramento. Circa 1940.
Building designed by Charles F. Dean

Crest Theatre, Downtown Sacramento. Circa 1912. Remodel circa 1949.
Formerly the Empress Theater. Original building designed by Lee De Camp.

I developed the black and white film in my sink at home and then took off for UC Davis in the wee hours of the morning to print them. I scanned the prints, scratches and all, on an old HP 8.5x14 inch flatbed scanner that must have weighed at least 25 pounds.

Sometimes old school is best.

Pix from the San Jose Modern Tour!

We had a great time getting back together with kindred MCM historian, Heather M. David, and checking out the cool buildings, signs, vintage goodies and cars. The self-guided driving tour of mid-century roadside highlights in San Jose was the first of its kind in the area and thoroughly researched by Heather.

If you didn't make it to the tour, take a look at my pix -- and if you haven't already, buy Heather's fabulous book, Mid-Century By the Bay! As Heather notes, "As development pressures continue into the 21st century, San Jose's mid-century buildings, signs, and roadside attractions are rapidly disappearing."

Happy Eames Powers of Ten Day (10.10.10)!

I've always loved the classic 1977 film, The Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames. The film is about the relative scale of things in the universe. I bought the book over ten years ago and can't wait to show our young kids the film and the book today. It is roughly nine minutes or so; if you haven't seen it, please take the time to do so! Check out their site, which relaunched today -- and check out the film below.

If you're in the Los Angeles area, visit the exhibit at the Eames Office on Pico Boulevard in Santa Monica. If you're in the Bay Area, check out the special events at the Exploratorium. I found this well-written post by Jamer Hunt -- about applying the powers of ten to real life design challenges -- particularly relevant.

The Eames Office celebrates the legacy of Charles and Ray Eames each year with a different theme. Eames family members Lucia Eames and Llisa Demetrios were recently in Sacramento for a wonderful presentation on the Eames Legacy at AIACV. Sacramento, as you may know, was the birthplace and home of Ray Eames during her childhood. I've posted more regarding Ray Eames' Sacramento history before here.

Retro in the Metro: Where to go for a vintage experience in Sacramento

Shout out to our friend Dave Weinstein at the Eichler Network for his article in CA-Modern Magazine on "BLASTS FROM THE PAST - 15 retrolicious ways to break through the time warp and relive the mid-century today." Some cool kids, including my friend, Heather David and yours truly are quoted within.

Dave couldn't fit everything into his article about where to find mid-century-ish experiences in Sacramento, so I'm going to fill you in here. I'm starting with a small list and we'll build on it as time and information roll in. If you're feeling nostalgic for a walk down memory lane or a visit to the land that time forgot, check these vintage eateries and places out!

First, I'm going to start with more detail about two of the places mentioned in Dave's article: Pancake Circus and Country Club Lanes.

How we love thee, oh Pancake Circus -- and we've mentioned it before here and here. I was excited when I discovered during one of my microfilm research sessions that the much adored building was designed by Sacramento architect Sooky Lee. Mr. Lee is responsible for other beloved buildings around town, including Vic's Market (formerly Jumbo Market) and HOT ITALIAN (formerly Young's Fireside Shop). We featured the former Jumbo Market as a "Point of Interest" during the 2010 Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour.

I was going to do a detailed history about Pancake Circus but the awesome folks at Capital Public Radio have already done a comprehensive time line. Thanks guys!

So.... Go! Eat pancakes in a diner that would make a great set for a Quentin Tarantino movie.

Country Club Lanes - it's a Flintstones meets the Jetsons kind of bowling alley, including a place called "Candlerock Lounge." Yaba-Daba DOO!

Designed by Long Beach architects Powers, Daly and DeRosa, this stunning bowling alley boasts three hyperbolic paraboloid roofs. Powers, Daly and DeRosa produced many stunning Googie buildings, including the Futurama Bowl in San Jose which will be one of the many awesome attractions featured this Saturday, October 9, 2010 in "San Jose Modern: A Driving Tour of Mid-Century Highlights." Put together by the lovely and talented Heather David and sponsored by Nor-Cal Doco-Momo. You *are* going to this, aren't you? I previously posted about it here.

Hungry for more?

Jim-Denny's Hamburger and Chili - circa 1934. Recently featured in a recent episode of Man vs. Food.

Old Ironsides - circa 1934. Met my husband here! Yeah, I'm classy like that.

College Cyclery - circa 1935. Cool peeps with cool bikes.

Gunther's Ice Cream Shop - circa 1940. My favorite animated neon sign in town! Designed by William Koblik and Alfred M. Fisher.

Trails Restaurant - circa 1940. Not much changes around these here parts.

Iceland - circa 1940. Like a phoenix, Iceland is rising from the ashes of its tragic fire earlier this year. Should be ready for business again soon. Designed by Charles F. Dean.

Lil Joe's Over One Million Steaks Sold - circa 1946, according to current owner.

Vic's Ice Cream - circa 1947. A Land Park neighborhood institution.

Hollywood Hardware -  circa 1948; current location since 1959. Best selection of hardware in our neighborhood.

The Broiler - circa 1950. Steak and potatoes! Not the original location but the original restaurant.

East Sacramento Hardware - circa 1951. Another great old-fashioned hardware store.

Marie's Do-Nuts - circa late 50s (still researching). Awaken your inner Homer Simpson at 1:00 AM.

Jamie's Broadway Grille - circa 1959. Order the turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy. You won't be sorry.

Fairytale Town - circa 1959. Run the Crooked Mile! But watch your step.

Sam's Hofbrau - circa 1959. Meat under hot lights!

Sacramento Zoo entrance - circa 1961. More hyperbolic paraboloid splendor. Designed by Kenneth C. Rickey and Fred E. Brooks.

Lucky Cafe - current location since ~ 1962. Another Sacto favorite.

Corti Bros. Market - circa 1962 remodel by former occupant Grand View Market. Best wine selection in town.

Taylor's Market - circa 1962. Formerly a Safeway; operated by the same family and friends of the original owners.

Land Park Ski & Sports - circa 1964. Former home of Woody's Smorgasburger transformed into a ski shop chalet. Designed by Neil Munroe Johnson.

Senator Savings & Loan (now Chase Bank) - circa 1964. This awesome round bank steals the show on Freeport Boulevard. Designed by Silvio L. Barovetto and Albert B. Thomas.

Suzie Burger - circa early 70s revamped Phillips 66 station. PBR on tap!

California Auto Museum - began in the 80's and going strong with an awesome display of mid-century vehicles and other automobiles from other eras.

Rick's Dessert Diner - circa 1986 retro styled dessert mecca in Midtown. I ate my very first lunch when I moved here for a professional job in 1989: a giant piece of cake and a tall glass of milk. Yum!

Midtown Stomp -  swing and Lindy Hop the night away!

This is just a small list that I would like to expand -- let me know if I've forgotten one of your favorite Sacramento retro hangouts! I'll be featuring some of these in future posts.

Oh yes I did!

We don't even own regular pink flamingos but I couldn't resist these awesome mid-century Halloween accessories!

From Flamingo Pink, Inc. - the Skel-a-mingo! Comes in pairs; flocks available too.