Sacramento's Blomberg Homes in CA Modern Magazine

The Eichler Network featured a story on Blomberg homes in their Winter 2012 issue of CA Modern magazine written by Dave Weinstein. A heartfelt thanks to them for covering this important piece of Sacramento mid-20th century modern history!

Check out the article on their website: "Built to Blast: Friendly fallout of the Cold War, Blomberg’s ‘bomb-resistant’ concrete homes represent a colorful chapter of mid-century modern Sacramento"

Over the years I have gathered vintage ads and information about Blomberg Builders - a mid 20th century Sacramento builder and building materials supplier. Gustaf C. Blomberg was a builder and developer in Sacramento -- after pioneering the development of concrete masonry construction. He worked for the Basalt Rock Co. in Napa in the mid-1930s and helped develop Basalite, a lightweight concrete block. These blocks (still available today) were used a great deal in construction during the 1950s through the 1970s. Marketed advantages of using Basalite blocks included durability, sound control, low cost, low maintenance, relative light weight, ease of installation, and uniform size and density.

Some of my research for SacMod was shared with CA Modern Magazine for the above article. If you want to see more Blomberg Homes ephemera and photos from SacMod's research library, see my Flickr set. A photo slide show of this set is shown above.

The Blomberg family still owns and operates Blomberg Window Systems. Jerry Blomberg ventured on his own and developed another company: Sunoptics.

Cheers to the Blomberg family -- their industrious and innovative spirit has helped shape our neighborhood and city!

Jeré Strizek's Town and Country Village in Sacramento

I'm writing this post in light of recent discussions about the current fate of Town and Country Village, developed in 1946 and reportedly one of the first shopping centers of its kind in California. Per its website, "Town & Country Village combines pleasant outdoor shopping, covered walkways, smaller crowds and 'easy-in, easy-out' access with great food, unique gifts and the best salons in town..."

Many of you may have read this week the Sacramento Bee that the owners of the Village are planning a major overhaul. Ironically, though the Village's website boasts it being an alternative to malls, existing tenants are concerned that the Village "is slated for a major renovation that... will include razing much of the 65-year-old complex... and the new plan is to bring in more chain stores."

Read more here:

Per Dixie Reid of the Bee in her article dated May 21, 1989:
Just after World War II, developer Jeré Strizek was building nice houses out in the 'country,' but nobody was buying them. He learned that it was because the nearest stores were miles away, in 'town.'

So, the accommodating developer built Sacramento's first suburban shopping center. He bought 11 acres (at $280 an acre) that had been an Arabian horse farm and opened Town and Country Village in 1946 with 65 shops.

The ranch-style center at Fulton and Marconi is now spread over 22 acres. The 'authentic' look of the place was enhanced by discarded railroad timbers used in construction -- mostly to keep costs down. A couple of wagon wheels, brought in from Oregon, were planted under the main sign. And cast- iron lampposts that were used on the streets of Sacramento at the turn of the century began lighting the center in the mid-'70s.

Town and Country Village's finest moment was probably in 1959 when, for some reason, the governor of Hawaii 'annexed' the shopping center as part of his state's 'Aloha' celebration.

Town and Country Village, which first opened in September 1946, was designed by architectural designer John W. Davis and originally housed a beauty shop, ice cream bar, appliance stores, a five-and-ten cent store, rustic garden center, doctors' offices, hardware store, bottle shop, various grocers, pharmacy, clothing stores, jewelry store, furniture store, post office, bank, photography studio, various restaurants and bars, shoe repair shop, and a movie theater. Original Village store owners included the Maleville Brothers -- who may sound somewhat familiar as they later opened the renowned Coral Reef restaurant and tiki bar down the street.

The theater, the New Village Theatre, was designed by Gastono "Gale" Santocono and had Heywood-Wakefield seats.

Of note, Town and Country Village (and its surrounding homes designed by John W. Davis) were so highly regarded that they were featured at length in the October 1951 issue Architectural Forum. Per the article:
Jeré Strizek of Sacramento used to pay builders $100 a house to put up homes around his new shopping center. Now he builds most of them himself for his own account -- 381 houses plus 63 apartments this year. But he still thinks the home builder should count on his shopping center for his real profit.... From Jeré Strizeks's point of view the results are fine: his shopping center is outstandingly profitable and he will soon start another.

After Strizek's success with Town & Country Village in Sacramento, he went on to build similar developments in other cities. Other projects included a Town & Country Village in Los Angeles (as evidenced in the above coin) and  Camelback Town & Country Village Shopping Center (1956) in Phoenix, Arizona, which "has survived with its original character intact" according to the City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office and Ryden Architects in their fantastic book "Midentury Marvels: Commercial Architecture of Phoenix 1945-1975." If anyone has additional evidence of other developments by Jeré Strizek, please feel free to add this information in the comments section below.

Other major trade publications such as American Builder, Architectural Record, Progressive Architecture, Architectural Forum, Interiors, and Engineering News-Record -- to name a few -- also reported on Strizek's successful developments. In addition to the the housing subdivisions in Arden-Arcade near Town and Country Village, Jeré Strizek developed other projects and subdivisions, including Bohemian Village (designed by architect Herbert Goodpastor), North Haven, the Highlands, and North Highlands. For more on Strizek's developments and projects here in Sacramento and beyond, see my Flickr set, which includes other images from vintage postcards and findings from my microfilm research.

Join us for INFINITE SPACE: The Architecture of John Lautner

On Sunday, January 22, 2012, join Movies on a Big Screen, AIA Central Valley, SacMod, and Sactown Magazine for a screening of INFINITE SPACE: The Architecture of John Lautner at the Guild Theater at 7:30pm to 9:00pm. Please arrive in time to allow yourself a moment to learn more about our organizations and get comfortable before the film begins -- and feel free to stay to talk with us more afterward.

Renowned architectural filmmaker Murray Grigor explores John Lautner's dramatic spaces with choreographed camera moves, as Lautner himself provides the commentary, speaking with insight and within recordings culled from archival sources. Other voices join him: comments from Frank Gehry and his peers who were influenced by Lautner, the emotional memories of original clients, owners and builders, the remarks of Frank Escher, the architect who restored the Chemosphere house, and Julius Shulman who famously photographed all the great modernists.

Original drawings and historical photographs from the John Lautner Archives at the Getty Museum are layered with the artistic photography of seminal buildings, bringing to life Lautner's quest to create timeless space.

You've probably admired his designs from some of your favorite films!

John Lautner on Film from curbed los angeles on Vimeo.

Remember to RSVP for this event and get your tickets online via Brown Paper Tickets. Looking forward to seeing you there!

This film is a precursor to SacMod's celebration of the Roush residence in Sacramento - designed by Terry Waters, a Taliesin fellow and architect who worked with John Lautner. Stay tuned for more about this upcoming event!

SacMod is a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to promoting, preserving and protecting modern art, architecture and design in the Sacramento region. We're the folks behind the Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour.

AIA Central Valley's mission is to improve the quality of the built environment through leadership, mentorship and design excellence; fostering sustainability beyond architecture.

Movies on a Big Screen is an ongoing film festival/microcinema that started in September of 2006 in Sacramento, CA.

Sactown Magazine is a bold bi-monthly magazine that gives you a refreshingly different perspective on our great city.

Atomic Ranch 2012 Calendar Features Two Sacramento MCM Homes!

Just in case you didn't get the calendar you wanted during the holidays, here's one I know you'll like.
Our friends from Atomic Ranch Magazine (AR) are offering this calendar, which features two homes from Sacramento - both of which were on Sacramento Modern's (SacMod's) 2010 Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour.

Keep your eyes open for upcoming 2012 AR issues, which will be highlighting three homes from SacMod's 2010 tour in separate issues!

Already have a calendar? How about a 2012 SacMod annual associate membership? Associate member benefits include a discount to paid SacMod events and having first crack at reserving a seat/purchasing tickets.

SacMod was formed to educate and promote understanding and appreciation of mid-20th century modern art, architecture and design in the greater Sacramento, California region. SacMod has been accomplishing its goals through events, research, and development of educational materials and information resources. Run exclusively by volunteers, SacMod has coordinated large scale events such as the 2010 Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour, film screenings, and has provided education, technical assistance, and research findings to students, local and regional organizations, architects, designers, architectural historians, as well as local and national media.

With your help, SacMod can continue to promote awareness and preservation of Sacramento's mid-20th century modern heritage through future events, research, and education. Please use the "Add to cart" button in the upper left margin of this link.