William Land Golf Course celebrates 90th anniversary

Editor’s Note: This is the first article in a series about the history of the Land Park Golf Course.

William Land Golf Course, the nine-hole course at 1701 Sutterville Road in William Land Park, is presently celebrating its 90th anniversary.
During a city meeting held on Jan. 10, 1923, it was announced that a plan had been adopted for the construction of this golf course and that an architect for the project was to be hired.
The course, which actually opened 91 years ago and is the oldest existing public golf course in Sacramento, was laid out by a notable golf course architect named William J. “Willie” Locke, of San Francisco.
Locke was also the architect for a San Francisco area course at Lake Merced.
William C. Watkins, who resided at 726 9th St. and was a golf teacher for the city parks department, served as the superintendent of the construction of the Land Park course. And he would later become the superintendent of the same course.
In providing an update regarding the construction of the course, The Sacramento Bee ran an article about the place in its Dec. 20, 1923 edition.
The article notes that work was being performed on the sand traps that were “placed around the greens to catch bad shots.”
Additionally, it was mentioned in the article that the grass on the greens and fairways had reached a satisfactory level due to the then-recent rains.

The William Land Golf Course has been a part of the community since 1924. / Photo by Lance Armstrong
The William Land Golf Course has been a part of the community since 1924. / Photo by Lance Armstrong

According to the same article, the course, which was built without bunkers or traps across the fairways, was then expected to be ready for public use in May 1924.
The Bee, in an article in its May 6, 1924 edition, recognized that this plan had been maintained, as it was announced in that article that the course would make its public debut on Sunday, May 25, 1924.
On May 12, 1924, a meeting was held to discuss details regarding the then-soon-to-be-opened course.
In attendance at that meeting was the course’s committee: Harrison C. Bottorff, city manager; James Dean, city architect; Frederick N. Evans, city landscape gardener; George Sim, superintendent of recreations; James B. Alexander; Alex Kaiser; John H. Miller; Warren G. McMillin; Frank M. Newbert; Robert Swanston; L. Stuart Upson; and Frank H. Webster.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss plans that had been made for the construction of the course’s clubhouse.
Unfortunately, the lowest bid for the clubhouse project fell about $2,600 short of the amount that was available for the project.
In being faced with that dilemma, the committee, during that meeting, decided to raise additional funds for the construction of the clubhouse.
To accomplish that goal, a fundraising committee consisting of Swanston, Newbert, Miller and Alex Kaiser was organized.
In taking the first step to increase those funds, Swanston, who had already agreed to contribute $2,000 to the project, said that he would add another $250 to that amount.
For the purpose of avoiding a delay in the commencement of the building of the clubhouse, Swanston and Newbert underwrote the total amount to be raised for the project.
Work on the construction of the clubhouse, which had a total cost of about $7,800, began several days after the golf course committee met for their aforementioned meeting.
Although the clubhouse was still under construction at the time that William Land Golf Course had its grand opening, the goal to have the course ready for public use by May 25, 1924 was met.
On that day, brief opening ceremonies were held at the course, which was opened at 8 a.m. The speakers of the event were Bottorff and Upson.
Following the ceremonies, a foursome golf competition was held between the duo of Del Paso Country Club champion Jess G. Childs and K.B. McCarthy, Del Paso’s runner-up, and the team of Sacramento Golf Club champion C.P. Hamilton and Dan Banks, that club’s runner-up.
A golf competition between committees of the Sacramento Golf Club and the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce followed.
After the completion of the preliminary competitions, the course was opened to the public, as those who had been preregistered for that day began playing on the course at their given tee-off times.
Miller authored a William Land Golf Course themed article, which was published in the May 24, 1924 edition of The Bee.
In that article, Miller described the course, as follows: “It is an excellent course with grass greens and grass fairways. The greens are of the built-up type, well trapped, and are more or less sloping in character, with gentle undulation, which will make putting a matter of considerable skill. The grass upon them, for the most part, will hold the ball true to its line.”
In writing about the course’s first hole, Miller, in part, notes: “(It) is a straightaway for a distance of 505 yards, the longest fairway on the course. The fairway isn’t any too wide and a hook or slice will find the rough. This, however is of such character that the ball may be readily played and an experienced golfer will have no difficulty of getting out with one stroke.”
Accompanying Miller’s article is a sidebar, which provides the following per-hole yardage: 505 (No. 1), 382 (No. 2), 156 (No. 3), 338 (No. 4), 401 (No. 5), 297 (No. 6), 470 (No. 7), 195 (No. 8 ) and 426 (No. 9).
The original costs to play at the William Land Golf Course were 50 cents per day, $2 per month and $15 per year.

Lance@valcomnews.com

Hubacher Cadillac had long history as a north area business

Note: This is part two in a series about and related to Hubacher Cadillac.

A large piece of property lies vacant at the northwest corner of Howe Avenue and Fair Oaks Boulevard. But there was a time when the site was a very active place.
The property was for many years associated with the name Hubacher.
Elmer Hubacher took over the entire operations of the old J.J. Jacobs Cadillac dealership, about two blocks south of the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium, in January 1966.
Hubacher, who served as a naval aviator in World War II and the Korean War, had already been a partner with Jacobs for two years when he purchased Jacobs portion of the company.
Prior to working with Jacobs, Hubacher had become a veteran Cadillac employee, as he had been associated with Cadillac since 1947. He worked as a salesman before becoming a zone manager.

Hubacher Cadillac opened at 1 Cadillac Drive at the northwest corner of Howe Avenue and Fair Oaks Boulevard in 1972. / Photo courtesy of Jacobs family
Hubacher Cadillac opened at 1 Cadillac Drive at the northwest corner of Howe Avenue and Fair Oaks Boulevard in 1972. / Photo courtesy of Jacobs family

The Sacramento Bee, in an article in its Jan. 8, 1967 edition, recognizes the then-recent official establishment of Hubacher Cadillac, Inc. through the signing of an agreement between the Cadillac Motor Car Division and Elmer Hubacher.
During the previous month, Hubacher had begun to unofficially refer to his business as Hubacher Cadillac.
An early 1967 advertisement for the company refers to the “credo of Hubacher Cadillac,” as follows: “A progressive sales philosophy, personal and satisfying service policies, a sincere interest in serving you and a deep concern for your satisfaction in America’s finest motor car.”
Hubacher would eventually move his business to the aforementioned corner of Howe Avenue and Fair Oaks Boulevard.
On Dec. 15, 1970, The Sacramento Union reported that Hubacher Cadillac would be relocating to that site.
The article mentions that a 45,000-square-foot building would be constructed on the property, which had been acquired from the Commons Development Co.
It was also recognized in the article that Hubacher also purchased additional land on the south side of that property.
The same article notes: “Sacramento architect Harry Devine, (who was related to the Jacobs family through marriage), said the building will feature colored concrete, expansive use of glass and will house showrooms, offices, parts and service facilities with parking service spaces for 63 spaces.”
As mentioned in the previous article of this series, the reason for Hubacher’s relocation to this north area site was due to the company’s insufficient space at its previous referred to downtown site.
At that time in the company’s history, that site, which was the location of the company’s main sales center, was one of six Hubacher locations.
Another reason for the company’s plan to move to the Howe Avenue and Fair Oaks Boulevard site was based on a survey that showed that 70 percent of the company’s customers were residents of the Fair Oaks area.
Another statistic revealed that this north area intersection received more traffic than anywhere else in the county, besides freeways.
In addition to the main structure, other Hubacher buildings would be built at this north area site.
The 1970 article mentions that one building on the site would house an automotive museum that would feature agency-owned cars, including a 1904 Cadillac and a 1959 Eldorado Brougham custom.
A reference to Hubacher Cadillac in the March 12, 1972 edition of The Union notes that the completion of that dealership was scheduled for August 1972.
Among those who were then associated with the dealership at its 1501 L St. location were Elmer Hubacher, president; Stanley Hindsley, secretary-treasurer; Hilary T. Martin, general sales manager; Alfred E. Marwick, used car manager; and Jesse B. Vinson, service and parts manager.
Hubacher Cadillac, which eventually became known as Hubacher Cadillac & Land Rover, Inc., remained in business at 1 Cadillac Drive, at the aforementioned northwest corner of Howe Avenue and Fair Oaks Boulevard, until 2010.
Elmer Hubacher, who was a member of Del Paso Country Club, the Sutter Club and the Rotary Club of Sacramento, died during the previous year.
The old Hubacher north area property was sold for about $7.1 million to CVS pharmacy last December.
James Teare, of Terranomics, was the broker who represented CVS.
In a very brief interview for this article, Teare said that although a CVS store will be a part of a future shopping center at that site, he could not make a comment regarding what other stores might be located in that center.
“There are other stores going in. That is public knowledge,” Teare said.
Mike Luca, vice president of the CBRE, Inc. brokerage firm in Sacramento and one of the brokers who was involved in the sale, also spoke about the property for this article.
“We sold the property at the end of last year,” Luca said. “We had the property on the market for over three years. It sold to CVS. We did not represent the buyer. We only represented the seller.
“The city sold them a 1-acre piece of property that’s actually the true hard corner of Fair Oaks (Boulevard) and Howe (Avenue). And then the rest of (the property) was the Cadillac dealership. They bought that also. The buyer didn’t close until they knew they would be approved (for the site).
“There will likely be additional occupants on that corner, but I do not know who those are. There have been rumors of a (grocery) market, but I can’t confirm any of them.
“Obviously, they tore the whole (Cadillac) building down, and the Cadillac dealership is no longer there. It will be all new construction, new buildings. Before that, the dealership was closed for three or four years before the property actually sold. So, it’s going to turn a dead corner into something a lot more vibrant, and it will be a nice development.”

Lance@valcomnews.com

SMUD to renovate headquarters building, offer 59th Street site for redevelopment

Editor’s Note: This is part two of a two-part series about the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District will be undergoing some major changes in regard to its East Sacramento properties.
One of those major changes involves the interior renovation of its more than half-century-old headquarters building on a 13.7-acre site at 6201 S St.
During an interview with this paper last week, Gary King, SMUD chief workforce officer, discussed details about that project, which emerged as a plan several years ago.
“We do master planning for our campuses and looking at our facilities and what we need to be able to sustain and support operations,” King said. “We also look at, obviously, the condition of our facilities. And so, we knew that our headquarters building was coming due for some major maintenance. Just because of its age, we were seeing issues with finding parts to repair some of the key infrastructure – heating ventilation and air conditioning systems.”
King mentioned a variety of other factors regarding the necessity to renovate the structure, including the existence of hazardous materials in the building, an incomplete Life Safety interior sprinkler system and an auditorium that needed to be upgraded for a variety of reasons.

The under construction SMUD headquarters building at 6201 S St. is shown in this c. 1960 photograph./ Photo courtesy of SMUD
The under construction SMUD headquarters building at 6201 S St. is shown in this c. 1960 photograph./ Photo courtesy of SMUD

In discussing other details pertaining to the renovation, King said, “Another thing we need to do to that building is central upgrades, so it’s consistent with seismic standards. (Also), it doesn’t meet (requirements) for first responder access. It doesn’t have that. So, that’s the other thing we’ll be doing is making sure that first responders do have the type of access they do need for their equipment and whatnot that they are using today.”
In being that the 131,495-square-foot headquarters building – which has a 50,300 square-foot parking structure attached to it – was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2010, a concentrated effort is being made to maintain its definition as a historic structure with a modern International Style design.
And in another nod to history, Dreyfuss & Blackford Architects was selected as the architects to design the building’s interior for the present project. The firm was also the architect from the building, which was completed at a cost of $4.25 million in 1961.
King commented about the architects’ work and other details of the project, saying, “Dreyfuss & Blackford are finishing up their drawing for the building. We have started to engage with the city with regard to getting their approval for the designs for the plans, and we’re getting very positive feedback right now as far as the building permits and the entitlements for that.
“We’re starting to empty the building of its occupants. I moved two weekends ago out of the building. And we expect that by October we’ll have completed that process of having the building vacant of people. And there is some work that my facility staff will be doing to prepare the interior of the building. There are maybe things that they want to remove, and things like that prior to (when SMUD turns) it over to the construction contractor.
“The plan right now is within the next three weeks, we’ll be putting what is called a request for qualifications out, and that we’ll be inviting a general contracting firm to submit their qualifications. And it will have the description of the project and they will be submitting their qualifications for being able to do this work. And so we’ll take in those submissions, we’ll evaluate them and then we’ll narrow that field down to at least five (candidates).
“In December, we want to send out what we call an invitation to bid, which invites them to bid on the project. At that point, they’ll have the details, drawings and plans for the project and will be submitting a fixed price bid for doing the work. And we’ll make that selection, get them under contract and then (establish) the timetable for them to start their work in earnest in February of 2016.”
King added that the renovation of the interior of the headquarters building is expected to be completed during the fall of 2017.
In the meantime, the roughly 400 employees from the headquarters building will conduct their work in other SMUD buildings.
This vintage photograph shows the SMUD headquarters building in its incomplete state. The structure was added to the National Register of Historic Places on Jan. 4, 2010. / Photo courtesy of SMUD
This vintage photograph shows the SMUD headquarters building in its incomplete state. The structure was added to the National Register of Historic Places on Jan. 4, 2010. / Photo courtesy of SMUD

As for the cost of the headquarters building project, King said, “Construction itself, the actually work to demolish, renovate the building (was) estimated at about $55 to $60 million. (That) estimate (is) based from construction estimators. Once we go out to bid and get our responses to our bid, we will have hard costs and be able to turn that from an estimate to actual (costs). The whole cost itself, when taking into account temporarily relocating employees to all of the labor that’s involved in that, it is nearer to $100 million for the total cost of the project.”
After being asked to speak about the headquarters building’s future as a renovated structure, King said, “It will have very much similar departments and operations as it does now. It will just be a building that is situated to continue to operate for at least another 50 years, and hopefully (it will have) an environment that even our customers coming in find improved and beneficial to them doing business with SMUD.”
The largest of the company’s operational sites is its 51-acre site, which is home to the SMUD East Campus Operations Center.
Located at that site, which has the address of 4401 Bradshaw Road, is SMUD’s central corporation yard. The yard had previously been located at SMUD’s 12.8-acre site at 1708 59th St.
In regard to the status of that East Sacramento site, King said, “I will say that the 59th Street property is something that we won’t be keeping, because at this point, our assessment is over the long run we do not need that property for our operations. We’re going to be engaging the community in looking at the best reuse of that property here within the next several months.”
King added that SMUD plans to apply the same community input approach to its 59th Street site as was performed with East Sacramento’s Sutter Memorial Hospital site.
“The process of starting to engage the community will start this year,” King said. “We’re really applying that same (Sutter Memorial) approach for the 59th Street property. We did do a competitive bid process, and so StoneBridge Properties (which was selected for the old Sutter Memorial property project), they were the highest evaluated response. So, we will be working with StoneBridge Properties for our (59th Street) site.
“We should be getting to decisions and having conclusions with regard to the reuse of that property. We’re really looking at having created entitlements and selling that as a package to a developer that already has community support and city support for it.”
“Late 2017 (to) early 2018 is the timing for decisions on what will be the ultimate disposition on the 59th Street property.”

Lance@valcomnews.com

J.J. Jacobs planted roots for north area’s Hubacher Cadillac

Note: This is part one in a series about and related to Hubacher Cadillac.

This month marks five years since Hubacher Cadillac ceased operations at the northwest corner of Howe Avenue and Fair Oaks Boulevard. And with the sale of that property last December and the recent demolition of the old Hubacher building, it is timely to review the history of that automobile dealership, including its roots.
Those roots were planted by another automobile dealer, Joseph John “J.J.” Jacobs, who was born into a Pennsylvania Dutch family on a farm in Darby, Delaware County, Pa. on Christmas Day in 1885.

 J.J. Jacobs operated his Sacramento automobile business from 1916 to 1966. Photo courtesy of Jacobs family
J.J. Jacobs operated his Sacramento automobile business from 1916 to 1966. Photo courtesy of Jacobs family

J.J. became orphaned during his youth, as his father died before his 10th birthday, and his mother died about five years later. Both of his parents were born in 1854.
After his parents deaths, J.J. spent time living with his older brother in New Jersey and attending school. But J.J. would eventually drop out of school to begin making a living in what would be various lines of work prior to establishing a career in the automobile industry.
In explaining to The Sacramento Bee, in 1966, how he became involved in selling cars, J.J. said, “I got into the automobile business in New York City in 1910 after answering an ad for a Ford salesman (job) while I was selling typewriters in Montana. I got the job, but I didn’t like selling in New York, so I came west to sell Fords in Los Angeles in 1911.”
After two years of working in that position, J.J. left that employment and began working in the motion picture industry as an extra in comedy films with such notable actors as Charlie Chaplin, Chester Conklin and Mabel Normand.
After his work in about 10 films, J.J. found employment as a salesman of Studebakers in Los Angeles, and then Bakersfield, before heading to Sacramento to establish his own Studebaker agency.
During the summer of 1916, J.J., who was then residing in the Hotel Sacramento at 10th and K streets, partnered with Rodney C. Bridge, who also lived in that hotel, to establish the Bridge and Jacobs Motor Co. Studebaker dealership at 1806 M St. (now Capitol Avenue).
During the following year, J.J. was operating his own Studebaker agency, the J.J. Jacobs Motor Co., on leased property at 1500 K St.
At that time, he was residing at 3100 21st St., in the former home of Roger L. Scott, who was the secretary of the John Breuner Co., at 600-608 K St., and the president of Economy Department Store at 802 L St.
From about 1919 to about 1921, J.J. resided at 630 22nd St., and then from about 1921 to 1927, he lived at 2110 21st St.
It was also in 1927 when construction began on the original, portion of the Jacobs’ home in the Sacramento neighborhood that would eventually become known as the Fabulous Forties. The final stage of that original portion of the house was completed in March 1928.
In that two-story home at 1225 45th St., J.J. and his wife, Marjorie, who he married in October 1922, would raise their daughters, Marilyn, Marjorie “Marge”, Jacqueline “Jackie,” Mildred and Elinor.
Mildred and Elinor were daughters from J.J.’s previous marriage to Marjorie’s older sister, Dorothy “Dora” (Morissey) Jacobs. Dora, who married J.J. in about 1916, died on Dec. 22, 1920.
Mildred was born as Mildred Miner during Dora’s previous marriage to a Dr. Miner.
During the mid-1920s, the J.J. Jacobs Motor Co. operated a branch at 3152-60 Folsom Blvd.
In about 1929, the company, while still selling Studebakers, became a Pierce-Arrow dealer.
The 1933 city directory recognizes J.J.’s agency as then offering Rockne automobiles, which were built and marketed by the Studebaker Corporation in 1932 and 1933 as a tribute to the legendary University of Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne (1888-1931).
J.J. became strictly a Buick, Cadillac and LaSalle distributor in 1934.
Six years later, General Motors discontinued its manufacturing of LaSalles, which were a brand of GM’s Cadillac division.
Cadillac I Photo 02The original portion of this unique house at 1225 45th St. was built by the Campbell Construction Co. for the J.J. Jacobs family from June 1927 to March 1928. Photo by Lance Armstrong
Cadillac I Photo 02The original portion of this unique house at 1225 45th St. was built by the Campbell Construction Co. for the J.J. Jacobs family from June 1927 to March 1928. Photo by Lance Armstrong

The 1950 Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Co. telephone directory mentions the J.J. Jacobs Motor Co.’s dealership and towing, paint and metal shop at 1500 K St., the used car department at 1401 L St., and another towing, paint and metal shop at 18th and S streets.
The old J.J. Jacobs Motor Co. began its longtime existence as solely a Cadillac dealership in 1950, when J.J.’s son-in-law, Newton Cope, took over the Buick dealership.
Cope, who was married to the former Marilyn Jacobs from 1945 to 1966, sold the Buick dealership in 1959 and opened The Firehouse Restaurant in Old Sacramento about a year later.
Among those who worked for Cope at his Buick dealership at 1500 K St. was Kenneth V. Riggs, a former longtime sales manager for the J.J. Jacobs Motor Co.
With Cope’s operation of the Buick dealership, the address of J.J.’s business began to be regularly recognized as 1501 L St.
At that time and until 1966, the vice president of the J.J. Jacobs Cadillac Co. was J.J.’s son-in-law, Don E. Reid.
After being asked to describe her father, J.J., Jackie Devine said, “He was highly unusual in that he had really unusually strong family values. We always sat down and had dinner. He respected the family so much. He raised his children strictly, but (kindly). He read everything. He didn’t have an education, so he read so much, because he really respected education. But he was very close to his children and he always put a tie and jacket on to eat. We always sat down at 6:30 (p.m.), and he always worked six days a week. He always went to work in the morning and came home for dinner. He was very disciplined. He was a very good father.”
Marge Reid also described her father, who passed away on Dec. 17, 1971.
“(J.J.) was a self-made man, who was very bright,” Marge said. “He could have sold anybody anything. He worked very hard, I remember. He was a very devoted person, so his family and his business was it. He was very loyal and trustworthy. His handshake would go a long way with him. His honor was his word. He really cared about his clients.”
In January 1966, the San Francisco-born Elmer Hubacher (1919-2009) purchased J.J.’s interest in the dealership, and began operating the business in the same midtown Sacramento location as Hubacher Cadillac.
Hubacher had been a partner and general manager in the firm since 1964.
The agency officially became known as Hubacher Cadillac, Inc. in December 1966.
A 1967 advertisement for the company recognizes the business as then operating at 1501 L St. and 1501 K St. at that time.
Due to insufficient space, Hubacher Cadillac relocated to 1 Cadillac Drive at the aforementioned northwest corner of Howe Avenue and Fair Oaks Boulevard in 1972.
Among the people associated with Hubacher at that time were Elmer, who served as the company’s president; Stanley Hindsley, secretary-treasurer; Hilary T. Martin, new car manager; and Jack Wendell, used car manager.
Additional details about Hubacher Cadillac and its former north area site will be featured in the next edition of this paper.

Lance@valcomnews.com

DMV celebrates 100th anniversary

Among the most well-known organizations of this state is the California Department of Motor Vehicles, which is presently celebrating its centennial.
That department has certainly experienced much growth since its establishment in 1915.
At that time, automobiles were still in their early stages, and the average car could be purchased for about $500 and gasoline was sold for 8 cents per gallon.
During an interview with this publication last week, Jaime Garza, DMV public relations officer, commented about the early history of the DMV.

The Berkeley DMV field officeis shown in this c. 1938 photograph. / Photo courtesy of DMV
The Berkeley DMV field officeis shown in this c. 1938 photograph. / Photo courtesy of DMV

“The office was located at the Secretary of State office here in Sacramento,” Garza said. “There was a field office in 1914 that opened up before we officially became the DMV. We (had) been doing some business under different offices, but we had an office down in Los Angeles, I believe, in 1914. But the DMV itself was created by law in 1915, and that year was when we (began registering) vehicles.”
Garza explained that although the DMV was a small department during its inaugural year, it nonetheless accomplished much work.
“What’s interesting is when we were created in 1915, we only had two (full-time) employees, and during the first year, they registered 191,000 vehicles by hand,” Garza said. “So, move up 100 years and now we have about 10,000 employees (and) we register more than 33 million vehicles. And just imagine if we had to do that by hand.”
Field offices were created during the first year of DMV’s operations.
The first DMV field offices were located in San Francisco and Los Angeles, and additional field offices were added as the demand grew.
A woman poses for a DMV camera in this 1950s photograph. / Photo courtesy of DMV
A woman poses for a DMV camera in this 1950s photograph. / Photo courtesy of DMV

By 1917, the DMV headquarters were located in the Forum Building at 9th and K streets.
According to a promotional video that was created for the DMV’s centennial, the forerunner to the California Highway Patrol was established as part of the DMV in 1923.
On Aug. 14, 1929, the CHP was established as a branch of the DMV within the Department of Public Works.
An official CHP historical timeline mentions that the CHP was separated from the DMV and “elevated to a department of state government” in 1947.
In 1958, for the first time in its history, the DMV began issuing driver’s licenses with photographs, and 12 years later, driver’s license records became completely computerized.
Other aspects regarding driver’s licenses include the DMV’s introduction of driver’s license renewals by mail in 1979 and the first use of magnetic strips on driver’s licenses and ID cards in 1990.
Garza commented that as the population of the state continued to grow, thus did the DMV.
In mentioning a segment of that growth, Garza said, “The number of driver’s licenses and vehicles that we register is about the number of all (driver’s licenses issued in) the Western states combined, excluding California. That’s how large we are.”
And Garza added, “We only did one thing in 1915: we registered vehicles. Now we have a plate load of things that we do. We’ve leveraged and adopted technology to help us move forward, and that’s what we continuously do. We have 18 online services. You don’t have to go to a DMV office. From the convenience of your home or office, you can renew your registration, you can renew your driver’s license, you can change your address. That was not possible 10, 15 years ago.”
Another DMV PIO, Artemio Armenta, who was also present during the DMV’s meeting with this publication last week, added, “We have a website that came up a little over 10 years ago. DMV went online in 1996, and that’s about the time that many organizations and state agencies began to have a URL. It was probably in about the really early 2000s when we had some forms available online.”
Garza added that the DMV was in the forefront of social media, as it was one of the first organizations to create a Facebook page.
Additionally, the DMV has posted more than 1,000 YouTube videos.
“We’re always looking for new ways to connect with our public and improve our communication,” Garza said.
The first California motor vehicles field office opened in Los Angeles in 1914. / Photo courtesy of DMV
The first California motor vehicles field office opened in Los Angeles in 1914. / Photo courtesy of DMV

Today, DMV has 174 field offices – six of which are located in the greater Sacramento area – and operates its headquarters at 24th Street and Broadway. That location, which has the address of 2415 1st Ave., is home to the DMV’s executive staff and mail reception department, which receives registration and license renewal fees.
Additionally, the DMV presently has more than 10,000 employees, 32 million registered vehicles and 24.6 million licensed drivers.
In celebration of its centennial, the DMV created a special 1915-2015 logo and a 100th anniversary campaign.
In commenting about that campaign, Garza said, “Our goal was to organize a year-long campaign that would allow us to celebrate our past, also our future, by doing various types of activities, (which includes) display cases and a display in lobby to a week-long celebration week. There will (also be a) volunteer month in September, encouraging employees to give back to their community.”
A special DMV centennial related California license plate display is presently located in the lobby of the DMV headquarters.
Garza commented about those plates, as follows: “When (a California resident named Hal Bjune) heard that we were having a big centennial, he said, ‘Look, I have a license plate display that goes from (1914) to 2000. Would you like to use it, because I’d like to share it with your employees.’ And this gentleman, he drove (the display) from Southern Cal all the way up here himself to present it to our director, Jean Shiomoto. And now it’s on display, and I can tell you this: our visitors who come into this office to do business take a lot of interest in the license plate display.
“I personally look at the license plates as art. I mean, they really are. Each one is unique and different, and each one has a story to tell. There’s been a progression. We started out with porcelain plates back in the day, and then we went into the metal plates, and then they were issued every year and then they got changed (to permanent plates with annual registration stickers).”
Garza added that the California license plate display is on loan to the DMV indefinitely.
In a recent DMV press release, Shiomoto commented about the past and future of the DMV, saying, “The DMV has always changed with the times. We will build on our successful past and continue to search for more efficient and convenient ways to provide services to our customers in a manner in which they want them delivered.”

Lance@valcomnews.com

SMUD’s history began through local voters’ approval in 1923

Editor’s Note: This is part one of a two-part series about the Sacramento Municipal Utility District. Part two of the series will feature details regarding the renovation of East Sacramento’s SMUD headquarters building.

For well more than six decades, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District has been serving the electricity needs of residents of Sacramento and beyond.
Presently, SMUD serves all of Sacramento County and a small portion of Placer County.
The company recently made news when it was reported that its more than half-century-old headquarters building at 6201 S St. in East Sacramento would undergo a $100 million renovation.

Caption: SMUD relocated its headquarters and offices into this building at 2101 K St. in 1949. / Photo courtesy of SMUD
Caption: SMUD relocated its headquarters and offices into this building at 2101 K St. in 1949. / Photo courtesy of SMUD

That project, albeit one of the major projects of the district, marks just one of the many highlights in the company’s history, which dates back to July 2, 1923.
On that day, 87 percent of voters approved a $12 million bond issue for the creation of SMUD.
Additionally, a five-member board of directors was elected to serve a one-year term. Those original directors were Mayor Albert Elkus, Judge C.E. McLaughlin, George L. Herndon, Robert L. Jones and Ben Leonard.
In 1921, The Sacramento Union had published the following words: “It has been very definitely proved that municipalities can provide their own power and light at a cost considerably below the rate charged by private hydroelectric companies.”
During the same year, efforts to establish a community owned electric distribution system and water and power rights on Silver Creek in El Dorado County were investigated by SMUD representatives.
The district’s original service areas were the cities of Sacramento and North Sacramento and adjacent territory of approximately 48,000 acres or 75 square miles.
SMUD’s early history also included the expansion of its service area from 48,000 acres to 420,000 acres, with the inclusion of the communities of Elverta, Rio Linda, Elk Grove and Herald.
This 1958 photograph shows a group of men who were employed as SMUD meter readers at that time.
This 1958 photograph shows a group of men who were employed as SMUD meter readers at that time.

An article in the Dec. 29, 1986 edition of The Sacramento Bee summarizes SMUD’s major challenges of its early years, as follows: “SMUD had been created by voters in 1923. But it took most of the intervening 23 years to win independence from (the Pacific Gas and Electric Co.), which was loathe to relinquish the territory.
“In fact, for several years, even after the 1946 takeover (of PG&E), SMUD was a captive of PG&E. It bought most of its power from the big private utility until 1952, when it won an allotment from the federal Central Valley Project.”
Regarding the change from private to public distribution and sale of electricity, The Bee, in its December 31, 1946 edition, notes: “It would have been easy during the long fight for (SMUD’s) directors to have become disheartened and to have given up. But they kept tenaciously at their task and saw it through. And for that they deserve the thanks of the entire community.”
That night, at 6 p.m., the Sacramento area’s power distribution facilities formally passed from PG&E to SMUD, and Sacramento became the nation’s seventh largest city to obtain its electric service from a publicly owned power system.
At that time, SMUD was operating in rented rooms at 1325 K St. and in tin Quonset huts at the present 59th Street site.
A 50th anniversary (1947-1997) SMUD booklet describes the change in the usage of electricity in Sacramento homes from the end of World War II to the beginning of the 1960s, as follows: “In 1945, many homes in Sacramento and outlying areas were lit by kerosene or gas lamps and kept warm by wood stoves. But by 1960, the average Sacramento home not only had electric service – it had become a veritable electricity consumption center. Sacramentans had bought electric ranges, central heating, electric washers, dryers and dishwashers, and a remarkable range of small electrical appliances, from waffle irons and griddles to electric blankets and bathroom space heaters.”
In 1949, SMUD relocated its headquarters and offices into the then-recently remodeled, former Northern Motor Co. building at 2101 K St.
The 1949 city directory lists SMUD as then having its administrative and general offices at 2101 K St. and its operating headquarters at 59th and R streets.
During the late 1950s, SMUD began to build its own hydroelectric power plants on the upper American River, and by 1961, the company had lowered its electricity rates three times.
SMUD’s aforementioned headquarters building in East Sacramento opened in 1960.
In 1966, the company purchased 2,100 acres in Herald, in southeast Sacramento County, for the purpose of constructing its once controversial Rancho Seco nuclear power plant. The plant was built from 1969 to 1974.
Fifteen years later, Rancho Seco – Spanish for “dry ranch” – was permanently closed following a public vote to have the place decommissioned.
During those years, the Arab oil embargo led to an energy crisis in this country, and the federal government requested that Americans limit their energy consumption.
Furthermore, a major drought in Northern California in 1976 resulted in the drying out of SMUD’s largest reservoir. Subsequently, its hydroelectric power output was decreased by 50 percent.
 SMUD switchboard operators are shown in this 1947 photograph. / Photo courtesy of SMUD
SMUD switchboard operators are shown in this 1947 photograph. / Photo courtesy of SMUD

In response, SMUD’s directors approved a comprehensive energy conservation program, which involved the input of its customers.
Folsom was annexed by SMUD from PG&E via a vote of that city’s residents in 1984. The acquisition added 141 square miles to the utility district’s service area.
Among SMUD’s highlights in the 1990s were the construction of three cogeneration plants, the expansion of generation capacity at its upper American River power plants, and the opening of its Energy Management Center.
In regard to the center, the aforementioned 50th anniversary SMUD booklet notes that it “dovetailed to allow the district to make its own minute-by-minute decisions on buying power and managing energy sources, a method far more cost effective than relying exclusively on long-term power contracts.”
Furthermore, the booklet notes that SMUD employees were able to cut costs by $56 million, and avoid a tenth rate increase in eleven years.
The 2000s brought the Y2K bug concern that never actually became an issue and the state mandated deregulation of the electric utility industry, which resulted in shortages of power, rotating outages and an increase in wholesale energy costs.
Additionally, the Sept. 11 attacks led to an elevation in security at the SMUD facilities and offices.
Now in its 68th year of providing energy services to its customers, SMUD continues its efforts to improve its offerings.
An official SMUD document, which includes a section, entitled, “The New Century,” notes: “Even as we coped with deregulation and other difficult issues, we forged ahead with a (sic) major green-energy efforts such as our wind-power project in Solano County,  https://www.smud.org/en/residential/environment/smart-homes/”Smart Homeshttps://www.smud.org/en/residential/environment/greenergy/”Greenergyhttps://www.smud.org/en/residential/environment/solar-for-your-home/solarshares.htm”SolarShares, plug-in hybrid vehicles and a host of other initiatives.
“We’re well on our way to building a smart grid to help us operate more efficiently and give you better choices in the way you use energy.”
Last week, in speaking about the company’s past and future, SMUD CEO and General Manager Arlen Orchard said, “SMUD’s value to the community is deep and far reaching, and we’re doing everything in our power to make that relationship even stronger in the years and decades to come.”

Lance@valcomnews.com

Campbell Soup plant built on former ranch of Southside area resident

As the years pass by, the memories of certain people of prominence also fade. And such is the case of Joseph Holmes, whose sale of his ranch at 47th Avenue and Franklin Boulevard led to the establishment of the West Coast plant of the Campbell Soup Co.
Holmes, who resided a short distance from Southside Park, at 1008 W St., at the time of the sale of that property, is far from a household name today.
But during his lifetime, Holmes built a notoriety that extended beyond his connection to the establishment of the local Campbell plant in this city.
Holmes was also one of the original founders of the Farmers Mutual Insurance Co., master of the California State Grange from 1913 to 1916, and a member of Sacramento Lodge No. 40 of the Free and Accepted Masons.
With the insurance company, Holmes was one of its directors and served as its secretary from 1904 to 1938.
Born in England in 1858, Holmes immigrated to America 12 years later, at which time he began working at a woolen mill in Cornwall, N.Y.
When Holmes was 20 years old, he came to Sacramento and found employment at a ranch on property that would later become home to the St. Patrick’s Orphanage (later known as St. Patrick’s Home for Children) at the south end of Franklin Boulevard.
On Nov. 2, 1887, Holmes married Carrie Rosanna Rich in the Rich family’s home at the then renowned Lemon Hill Farm, which was located a short distance from the then-future Campbell Soup site. Together, the couple had three sons and two daughters.
Holmes died in his Southside area home on Aug. 3, 1946, about 11 months after selling his ranch to the soup firm. At that time, he had 21 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
Following his services on Aug. 6, 1946, Holmes was buried in the Land Park area’s Masonic Lawn Cemetery on Riverside Boulevard, just south of Broadway.
Although Campbell Soup would later acquire additional property for its Sacramento plant, it was the company’s purchase of Holmes’ property that made possible the establishment of the local Campbell plant, which opened in 1947.
Campbell’s interest in establishing a West Coast plant in Sacramento dates back to 1945, when the company was operating two plants, the original plant in Camden, N.J. and another plant in Chicago.
By June 1946, Campbell’s Sacramento soup plant was under construction, and about a month later, plans were being made to open a portion of the plant for the 1947 season.
In January 1947, Campbell Soup finally obtained its formal building permit for its plant. The plant was previously being constructed under a verbal permit, since the cost of the project had yet to be determined.
Included in an article about local canneries in The Sacramento Bee’s Sept. 1, 1948 edition are the following words about the Campbell’s plant: “This year an additional food cannery is operating (in Sacramento). The $8,000,000 Campbell Soup Company plant at Forty-Seventh Avenue and Franklin Boulevard, completed last year, will complete its first full year of processing, thereby increasing the number of cases of canned foods produced here.
“It is estimated that this year the Campbell Soup Company will employ in the neighborhood of 1,000 persons.”
For decades, the local Campbell Soup plant was an institution that provided employment for many Sacramento area residents.
The Bee, in its Sept. 3, 1989 edition, mentions that the Sacramento Campbell plant was then generating a payroll of $49 million.
In a front page article in The Bee’s May 30, 1992 edition, it was reported that Campbell Soup was contemplating the possibility of whether to expand at its Franklin Boulevard site or, as a last resort, relocate to another city.
The article also mentions that “no decision (would) likely be made for at least 18 months.”
At that time, Campbell made soups, Prego tomato sauce, V8 tomato juice and Franco-American Spaghetti-Os.
An earlier article in the Sept. 14, 1986 edition of The Bee notes: “Over the years, Campbell gobbled up other food companies and it now owns a multitude of labels, including Swanson, Prego, Mrs. Paul’s, Pepperidge Farm, V8, Snow King and others.”
The same article recognizes that Campbell Soup was then processing tomatoes, carrots, celery, potatoes and other ingredients for its soups and sauces.
Campbell announced on Jan. 18, 1994 that it would undergo a $57 million expansion at its then-136-acre Sacramento plant.
Regarding that proposed expansion, which would have a major increase in its price, The Bee, in its Sept. 25, 1996 edition, mentions the following: “Negotiations hit an impasse in 1994 over the company’s demand that local government simply come up with $34.5 million, representing about 10 percent of the cost of a proposed $345 million expansion of the soup plant.”
On Sept. 27, 2012, Campbell announced that it would be closing its Sacramento plant.
At the time of that announcement, the Sacramento plant was the company’s oldest plant.
An article in the Sept. 27, 2012 edition of the Sacramento Business Journal mentions that the company planned to close the plant in phases, with the overall intention of obtaining a complete closure by July 2013.
Plant worker Dave Martin was quoted in the Sept. 28, 2012 edition of The Bee as saying that signs of the local plant’s struggles had been evident for months, and that managers of the company had been complaining about declining soup sales and increased production costs.
Furthermore, the Sept. 27, 2012 Bee article notes: “Campbell’s has been losing market share as consumers drift away from canned soup.”
The closure of the local Campbell plant resulted in the loss of about 700 full-time jobs and the demise of one of the longtime successful institutions of the capital city.

Lance@valcomnews.com

Elks building in the Pocket dates back to the 1970s

The Sacramento Elks Lodge No. 6 building at 6446 Riverside Blvd. is shown following its completion in the late 1970s. / Photo courtesy of Elks Lodge No. 6
The Sacramento Elks Lodge No. 6 building at 6446 Riverside Blvd. is shown following its completion in the late 1970s. / Photo courtesy of Elks Lodge No. 6

The Sacramento Elks Lodge No. 6 building at 6446 Riverside Blvd. is one of the grand landmarks of the Pocket area.
Many longtime Sacramentans recall that the local Elks previously maintained their headquarters in an even grander landmark – the 226-foot-tall, brick and steel building at the northeast corner of 11th and J streets. That structure was dedicated as the new home of Sacramento Elks Lodge No. 6 on June 22, 1926.
The era of the Elks’ existence at 11th and J streets ended in the 1970s, and plans were made for a new home for the local organization.
Having sold the 11th and J streets building, Sacramento Elks Lodge No. 6 began that new chapter in its history at its present Riverside Boulevard building.
Although that structure does not have the grandiose aesthetics of the old 11th and J streets temple, the structure, which encompasses about an acre of property, is nonetheless a high quality building with various amenities.
The main feature of the building is its combined rooms, which include the Riverside Room, the Florin Room and the Lodge Room. These rooms can also be opened up for use as one large room.
Available for rentals, the combined rooms also include a 50-foot by 50-foot hardwood dance floor and a 46-foot by 16-foot stage.
Additionally, all members have access to a fitness center, which includes an indoor pool, Jacuzzi, steam room, racquetball and handball courts and a weight room.
Other amenities include a library and meeting room, a lounge with a full bar and small dance floor, a patio and barbecue area, a kitchen and a game room.
As for telling the story of the establishment of an Elks lodge in the Pocket, information was gathered for this article, the most important of which was a chronological summary of the building project written by Garry T. Vivaldi, then-Elks state trustee and exalted ruler of the lodge in 1956 and 1957.
The road to the Elks departure from its downtown skyscraper began on Jan. 17, 1967 when Otto Steinbrenner, Jr., city chief building inspector, via a letter, informed the Elks Lodge No. 6 Hall Association that its temple would need to be improved to meet the then-present building codes.
In recalling that time in the local Elks history, Vivaldi wrote, “For approximately three years, we procrastinated on what course to pursue in this matter. Would we attempt to raise money to make necessary improvements to meet the building code standards or should we continue in our efforts to purchase new land in a desirable location and build a new home?”
On Aug. 25, 1970, the pros and cons of selling the longtime home of the Elks were discussed during a regular meeting.
During the following year, the local Elks’ building committee met various times with the McKeon Construction Co. regarding a possible build-to-suit and lease back arrangement in the Stonelake area, near the site of a then-future portion of Interstate 5.
The lodge made major moves regarding its downtown temple in 1972, with the first of those moves coming on April 4, when membership approved a resolution to sell the building and its land.
Then on Nov. 1, 1972, a sale occurred, when A&A Key and Builders Supply and B and B Enterprises purchased the building and property for a net sum of $250,000.
But in being that the lodge would have become homeless without its old building, an arrangement was made to lease back three floors of the structure for five years.
That arrangement called for the lease to begin on Dec. 1, 1972 and terminate on Dec. 1, 1977.
Considerations were given for various potential sites for a location of a new lodge building, among which were 10 acres in the Natomas area along Interstate 5 and property in the Campus Commons area near California State University, Sacramento.
On June 11, 1974, local Elks members voted, 112-8, to purchase about a 15-acre site at the lodge’s present location.
An application was filed with the city Planning Commission on Aug. 14, 1974 for the purpose of acquiring a special permit to have a “private club” constructed in an agricultural zone at the northwest corner of Riverside Boulevard and Florin Road.
A kickoff rally for the new building fund was held in the lodge’s Mirror Room on Feb. 13, 1975.
Highlights of that event included steaks that were grilled on a barbecue on the fire escape and the presentation of a wheelbarrow with 300 silver dollars that was wheeled into the room by Francis W. Silva, past exalted ruler, as a donation to the new building fund.
In reflecting on that time in the efforts to have a new Elks lodge constructed, Vivaldi wrote: “The year 1975 was a critical one of the building committee. Much had to be done by way of designing the building, inside and out, location of building on property, type of building, interior considerations of location of offices, athletic department, bar, banquet hall, lodge room, library, pool room, conference areas, kitchen and numerous other items, and most important of all – the financing of the building program.”
Members of the lodge approved a contractual agreement for building design services on Oct. 23, 1975, followed by the grand lodge’s approval to proceed with the construction of a new building on Jan. 8, 1976.
On Dec. 14, 1976, membership approved the borrowing of $600,000 for the financing of the new building.
Ten days later, a formal application to the grand lodge designated plans to expend $1,055,000 for the new Elks structure and the execution of a $600,000 mortgage at a 9 ¼ percent interest to be repaid in 25 years.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the building was held on Jan. 15, 1977. At the gathering, Exalted Ruler Richard Sanderson turned over the first shovel full of dirt with the same embossed, jewel encrusted shovel that was used for the groundbreaking of the 11th and J streets temple.
The construction of the building initially progressed rapidly, but progress would be temporarily delayed in August 1977, as it was determined that the parapet walls surrounding the mechanical units on the roof were insufficient for their purposes and thus needed to be revised.
During the final meeting at the 11th and J streets temple on Nov. 8, 1977, a resolution was approved for the borrowing of an additional $135,000 for the building project.
Furniture and fixtures that would not be used at the new building were sold at an auction held at the downtown temple on Nov. 12, 1977.
Two weeks later, many Elks members dedicated a day to moving the remaining Elks property from their former home to their new home on Riverside Boulevard.
The first lodge meeting in the new building was held in the conference room on Dec. 13, 1977, as the lodge room had not yet been completed.
Following its eventual completion, the present home of Sacramento Elks Lodge No. 6 was dedicated on April 21, 1979. And the mortgage for the present building was burned in 1991 after the sale of the lodge’s additional property created funds to pay the balance of that mortgage.

Lance@valcomnews.com

Del Monte canneries had many successful years in capital city

In a city that was once known for its canneries, among the kings of Sacramento’s canneries were undoubtedly the canneries of the California Packing Corp./Del Monte Corp.
Also known as Calpak or the Del Monte cannery due to its marketing under the Del Monte label, the California Packing Corp. established its first plant at 611 G St. in about 1916.
The first superintendent of that plant, which was known as Plant No. 11, was David B. Pressler. He was then living at 2215 I St.

This former Del Monte cannery building at 17th and C streets presently houses the manufacturing operations, offices, a visitor center and retail store, and storage of Blue Diamond Growers. / Photo courtesy of Blue Diamond Growers
This former Del Monte cannery building at 17th and C streets presently houses the manufacturing operations, offices, a visitor center and retail store, and storage of Blue Diamond Growers. / Photo courtesy of Blue Diamond Growers

Another Calpak plant – Plant No. 12 – which was located on the block bounded by Front, 2nd, P and Q streets, is mentioned in a city directory for the first time in 1919.
Louis H. Stewart, a Calpak district superintendent who resided at 2621 25th St., is recognized in that directory as having then been associated with that plant.
In about 1922, J. William Schumate replaced Pressler as the superintendent of Plant No. 11 and George L. Fraser began serving as superintendent of Plant No. 12.
During the same year, Calpak, which produced such canned goods as pears, peaches, tomatoes, spinach, pumpkin, beets, carrots and squash, was already planning to relocate its Plant No. 11 operations to a site at 17th and C streets.
Prior to the construction of a large building at that site, Calpak was granted its request to have 17th Street closed between B and C streets, as well as the alley between B and C streets.
On April 4, 1925, the new Calpak Plant No. 11 was celebrated in The Bee.
The main article on that topic in that edition of the paper pertains to the operation of the cannery, which was opened for public inspection on that day.
At the time of its opening, the new plant was receiving crates of fresh spinach for canning. The deliveries were made in the receiving room, which was located on the east end of the plant.
Once those deliveries were made, the spinach was handled by checkers and weighers.
The cannery also included the scene of men moving product by hand trucks to the ends of grading tables.
In describing another scene at the cannery, the article mentions the many rows of women who could be seen working at the plant’s cutting tables.
Portions of that segment of the article read: “Some sit, some stand as they do their work, but in either position, the strain of remaining in one place continuously throughout a long day is made as comfortable as possible for them by the company.
“The tables at which the women work are arranged for the placing of two or more lug boxes, fresh spinach in one, graded spinach in another, and below a third, into which the tough, fibrous stems and root ends are dropped.”
In continuing its description of the plant, the 1925 article mentions that the spinach leaves were taken from the sorting room to a conveyor belt that delivered them to washing and bleaching machines on the second floor of the building.
After that process was completed, the leaves, which had become wilted due to passing through hot water, were then taken by conveyor belt to the first floor, where female workers set cans on scales and filled them with spinach by hand.
Next, the additional space in each can was filled with boiling water, and then the cans were transported to machinery, which clamped air-tight lids on them.
The final steps were to let the cans cool, label the cans and box them for shipment.
Another article in The Bee’s April 4, 1925 edition recognizes that the plant’s female cannery workers were required to wear standard, blue and white uniforms for the dual purpose of providing cleanliness and lessening the wear and tear of their own clothing.
Many of the female workers also wore rubber aprons as an additional protection against vegetable juices.
In about 1926, with the departure of Fraser, Henry G. Hohwiesner, who resided at 2817 G St., became the superintendent of Plant No. 12.
In at least 1928, the assistant superintendent of Plant No. 11 was P.H. Fish.
It was also during the late 1920s that Harold Dexter replaced Schumate as the superintendent of Plant No. 11.
By 1931, John H. Doran, who resided at 2400 F St., was employed as the assistant superintendent of the 17th and C streets plant.
Plant No. 12 was mentioned in an article in the April 7, 1934 edition of The Bee as “one of the largest (canneries) in the country.”
The article also notes that with the beginning of the canning season on the following day, the plant would immediately provide work for 1,000 people, and eventually expand to its season average of 1,800 to 2,000 workers.
According to an article in the June 19, 1935 edition of The Bee, the Sacramento Community Chest had arranged to continuously use surplus fruits and vegetables from Calpak, Bercut-Richards Packing Company and Libby, McNeill & Libby for its relief work.
Among the benefactors of that surplus food were people assisted by the Catholic Ladies’ Relief Society at 924 11th St., the Grace Day Home at 1909 7th St., the Sacramento Orphanage and Children’s Home at 2750 12th Ave., the Volunteers of America at 1105 5th St., the Salvation Army at 1120 5th St., the Stanford-Lathrop Memorial Home at 800 N St., St. Barnabas Community House at 2029 8th St., and St. Patrick’s Home for Children at the south end of Franklin Boulevard.
By 1936, John J. Cerruti had become the superintendent of Plant No. 11, and Richard C. Cerruti was the assistant superintendent of Plant No. 12.
Additionally, Leslie W. Cerruti was employed by Calpak at that time.
In 1937, a major expansion of Plant No. 11 led to a doubling of the size of this cannery.
In a report regarding plans for that expansion in the Feb. 11, 1937 edition of The Bee, it was mentioned that at that time, the cannery, which then included a packing plant and warehouse, was “already the largest fruit and vegetable cannery in the world.”
The expansion project included the construction of a single-story, brick warehouse that would cover two square blocks, just north of the original plant.
Mentioned in the 1937 Bee article is the then-plan to connect the original plant with the new structure through a subway.
A Calpak advertisement, which was published in the August 21, 1943 edition of The Bee, reads: “Women needed in Del Monte canneries to work last half of night shift, 12 midnight to 6 a.m. Help us finish this peach pack, which ends in about 10 days. Every worker counts. No experience necessary. For further information, apply: California Packing Corporation. Plant No. 11, 17th and C streets. Phone 2-2901. Plant No. 12, 2nd and P streets. Phone 2-3691.”
The March 1944 Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company telephone directory, under a section for Calpak, recognizes Plants No. 11 and 12, as well as Plant No. 13 at 1519 Spear Avenue, a lug box warehouse at 3rd and X streets and the Yolo Ranch on Elkhorn Road (now Elkhorn Boulevard).
Among those who worked at Plant No. 13 – a wholesale plant, which was no longer in operation by the early 1950s – were Frank J. Messina, assistant manager, and Russel T. Chappell, foreman.
By the mid-1950s, George W. Martin was the superintendent of Plant No. 11.
The 1961 city directory recognizes Plant No. 11 at 1721 C St., with George W. Martin as superintendent; Plant No. 12 at 1600 2nd St., with Frank C. Calcagno as superintendent; Plant No. 17, a sub-wholesale warehouse at 2401 3rd St.; and a marketing office at 2621 J St. The office was under the management of Donald Parks.
By the mid-1960s Calpak’s local operations were Plants Nos. 11 and 12, with Frank C. Calcagno, superintendent, and Plant No. 238 at 1601 North A St. The latter plant was a can manufacturing plant that was managed by William Tucker.
During the late 1960s, the old Calpak cannery and can manufacturing plant had ceased operation.
The old Calpak Plants Nos. 11 and 238 were then being run by the Del Monte Corporation, with the latter plant being under the direction of Francis I. Beall, and the 17th and C streets plant being led by Calcagno.
In its Sept. 18, 1982 edition, The Bee reported that the Del Monte Corporation would “close its can plant at 16th and A streets sometime before next spring,” and that the 17th and C streets plant had closed during the previous year.

Lance@valcomnews.com

Restaurant site has served community for 63 years

Willie’s Hamburgers and Chiliburgers at 2415 16th St. has been serving its popular fare of burgers, hot dogs and fries since 1991. / Photo by Lance Armstrong

Willie’s Hamburgers and Chiliburgers at 2415 16th St. has been serving its popular fare of burgers, hot dogs and fries since 1991. / Photo by Lance Armstrong


For nearly a quarter century, Willie’s Hamburgers and Chiliburgers has been serving its popular fare of burgers, hot dogs and fries at 2415 16th St. But the location of this business has a much lengthier history as a restaurant site.
Initially, the property had a five-room, one-story house with a brick chimney.
The house, which was built in 1921 and 1922, was lived in by Agnes Roach from 1922 to about 1923, William Smearden from about 1925 to about 1927, and a widow named Alice L. Smith from about 1927 to about 1949.
A restaurant was the next place to occupy the site.
According to a building permit, dated Aug. 1, 1949, arrangements had been made to construct a restaurant building at 2415 16th St. at a cost of $3,500. The proprietors of the eatery were listed as Gausman and Beachamp.
A permit for a sign for the restaurant is dated Oct. 4. 1949, and the permit recognizes the name of the restaurant as Frenchie’s.
Frenchie’s was a model restaurant that allowed potential buyers an opportunity to view this two-person operated metal sandwich stand.
An advertisement in the December 9, 1949 edition of The Sacramento Bee notes: “See model being operated. Terms can be arranged. Investigate now for quick action. Write or call at Frenchie’s, 2415 16th St., Sacramento. Bill Gausman or Otto Allen.”
Frenchie’s was known for its “meal on a stick.”
Various items such as hot dog slices, green peppers, cheese, pickles and tomatoes were placed on a wooden skewer and then dipped in egg, fried and served with a special sweet and sour barbecue sauce. The original cost of this “meal” was 35 cents, plus tax.
On Jan. 7, 1950, The Bee ran an advertisement for Frenchie’s with the following words: “10,000 customers have already tried Frenchie’s ‘a meal on a stick.’ We want every person in Sacramento to try Frenchie’s.”
Another advertisement, which was published in the May 15, 1952 edition of The Bee, reads: “This is a steal! Small drive-in seats 100 (25 inside and 75 outside). Low overhead, long lease, fully equipped electrically. Will net over $800. Must (sacrifice on) account of leaving city. Buyer can pay off business during summer months. Small down payments. Bal. terms. See owner now – this won’t last. 2415 16th St.”
The 1952 city directory lists Sterling G. Gausman, of 1813 N Street, as the proprietor of a restaurant at that site.
By September 1952, the location was home to Hay’s Hamburger Stand.
During the following year, Leone Batesle and June Miller were operating a different hamburger stand, called J & B Hamburgers.
In about 1954, that business was replaced by J & H Hamburgers, which was owned by John and Helen M. Kuhlman, who resided at 1748 39th St. in East Sacramento. The couple was also the proprietors of Park Ice Cream at 2719 Riverside Blvd.
The next restaurant at this site was The Hitching Post, which opened in about 1957.
About a year later, Henry L. Woodbey and Helen G. Weaver established another eatery, Hank & Helen’s restaurant, in the same location.
In 1959, Jimboy’s Tacos opened its first Sacramento restaurant. The business’s founders were J.R. “Jimboy” Knudson and his wife, Margo Knudson.
With a consistent flow of customers frequenting that location, the Knudsons were enjoying their early success in the capital city.
And despite losing their lease on the 16th Street building in about 1966, the prosperity of the business continued when J.R. Knudson purchased the former Richardson estate at 1420 29th St. for $35,000 and had the then-existing house removed and had a permanent restaurant structure built in its place.
A reference to that lease in the Jan. 23, 1997 edition of The Bee reads: “The restaurant did so well, Jimboy’s executives say, that the landlord refused to renew the lease and instead opened his own taco hut.”
The eatery that replaced Jimboy’s on 16th Street was actually named Taco Hut.
A building inspector’s card, dated Aug. 2, 1966, mentions that West Coast Building Wreckers had been contracted to have the then-present restaurant building demolished. The project was signed off on Sept. 14, 1966.
A building permit for a new restaurant structure on the site was issued on Aug. 8, 1966, and the general contractor of the project was James Construction.
Taco Hut’s first two owners were Charles H. O’Connell, from about 1967 to about 1970, and Margaret Woods, from about 1970 to about 1977.
Another Taco Hut owner was Pauline Starnes, who followed Woods in that role.
Taco Hut was replaced by Willie’s Hamburgers and Chiliburgers, which made its debut in 1991.
It was during that year when William “Willie” Jay began offering his versions of the famous burgers served at such legendary, post-World War II Southern California diners as Tommy’s and Pink’s.
Original prices at Willie’s included a single burger for $1.25, a 16-ounce, real ice cream shake for $1.35 and a double chili cheeseburger for $2.50.
One of the longtime popular burgers offered at Willie’s is the Slammer ($4.20), a chiliburger with a single patty, freshly made chili, tomato, onions, pickles and mustard.
The eatery, which also serves chilidogs, french fries, onion rings, tamales, and a variety of crepes for the breakfast crowd, has a second location at 5050 Arden Way, at Fair Oaks Boulevard.
Jay also owns Iron restaurant – a steak, burgers, seafood, salad, bar, etc. establishment – at 2422 13th St.
As the Willie’s on 16th Street continues to draw new and regular customers on a consistent basis, its location’s legacy as one of the area’s longtime operating restaurant sites appears to have a bright future.
Lance@valcomnews.com