Note: This is part 10 in a series about the history of the Sacramento River.
The topic of riverboats on the Sacramento River is undoubtedly a rich part of the river’s history.
These vessels played an important role in transporting freight and passengers.
In the January 1920 edition of the Southern Pacific Bulletin, it was noted that “long before the railroad came, the Sacramento River was the ‘roadway’ along which commerce first traveled.”
Among the earlier vessels to ply the Sacramento River was a schooner known as the “Sacramento.”
In an article in the May 27, 1858 edition of The Sacramento Union, this schooner was described as having been purchased by Capt. John A. Sutter in 1841.
A July 7, 1860 letter written to The Union by a newspaper correspondent known as St. George refers to this vessel, as follows: “The only regular packet running between the embarcadero of New Helvetia (now the beautiful city of Sacramento, capital of the state of California), and Yerba Buena (now the great city of San Francisco, the New York of the Pacific) was Captain Sutter’s launch, ‘Sacramento,’ a schooner of seventeen tons. She was built by the Russian American Company, I think, at Sitka, for the sea otter service at Bodega and Presidio Ross, and sold to Capt. Sutter in 1839. I last saw her laying (sic) at Washington (now part of West Sacramento), opposite our city, in 1858, roofed over and used as a house for salmon fishers.”
In being that the 1858 Union article and 1860 St. George letter differ as to when Sutter acquired the Sacramento, it should be recognized that this event occurred in 1841.
The 1858 Union article noted that the Sacramento remained in operation until as late as 1848-49, and “after performing a number of important offices during the (Mexican) War, was, in the spring of 1848, the first to take down to San Francisco the tidings of the gold discovery.”
It was also mentioned in the same article that the Sacramento continued to be the largest schooner on the Sacramento River “up to the period when the commerce with the mines began.”
According to St. George’s letter, Sutter also had another line, which ran from New Helvetia to his Hock Farm agricultural settlement along the Feather River. The riverboat of this line was referred to as the “‘White Pinnace’ – an open boat, rowed and poled by six nude (Indians).”
The aforementioned 1920 edition Southern Pacific Bulletin article referred to the first steamer to travel on the Sacramento River.
That vessel, which was known as the Sitka, made its way from San Francisco to today’s city of Sacramento in 1847.
Nearly four decades later, The Union received a letter, dated Feb. 6, 1885, from a Mrs. James Greyson of Sebastopol, Calif., who claimed to have been a passenger aboard the Sitka.
The letter included the following words: “In the San Francisco Call of January 24th, I see the request for the name of the first steamer that plied on the Sacramento River, and being a passenger on the occasion of the first trip, I feel myself competent to give the information desired. She was a beautiful steam yacht, bearing the name of Sitka. She was, I believe, presented by the Russian government to Captain (William Alexander) Leadsdolph (Leidesdorff, Jr.). She left San Francisco on the 15th of December 1847 and arrived at the embarcadero on the Sacramento (River) on the 24th of the same month.”
Different dates for this voyage were presented in another account of the Sitka in the St. George’s aforementioned 1860 letter.
The 1860 letter noted that the vessel left San Francisco on Nov. 28, 1847 and “arrived at New Helvetia December 4th – six days and seven hours out.”
Also included in St. George’s account were the following words: “I made the first and only trip on Captain William A. Leidesdorff’s little Russian steamer from San Francisco to New Helvetia (today’s Sacramento). She had no name, but has since been called the ‘Sitka.’
“I have the notes I took at the time to be published in (the San Francisco newspaper) The California Star. I was the Sacramento correspondent for the paper, but did not publish them, as my friend, Captain Leidesdorff, was very sensitive at that time on the subject of steamboats.
“The day after her arrival from the Sacramento (River), she was sunk by a south-easter in what is now Battery Street (in San Francisco). She was raised and hauled up with an ox team in Bush Street, above Montgomery (Street), the engine taken out, and she was made a schooner yacht, christened the ‘Rainbow,’ and ran as a packet on the Sacramento River after the discovery of gold.”
The 1890 book, “History of Sacramento County, California,” also describes the Sitka, which is referred to in some 19th century and early 20th century references as the “Little Sitka.”
It was mentioned in that book that the steamboat arrived at the Port of San Francisco aboard a Russian bark from Sitka on Oct. 14, 1847.
Leidesdorff, who had been in business with the Russians at their American settlement for seven years, purchased the steamer from the Russians for his hide and tallow commerce.
The Sitka was described in the 1890 book as being “long, low and what the sailors termed very ‘crank.’”
It was also noted in the book that the weight of a person on her guards would throw one of her wheels out of service.
Various historic accounts refer to the Sitka as having made two trips in California.
According to the 1890 county history book, on Nov. 15, 1847, the Sitka left Yerba Buena Island – in the San Francisco Bay – where she had been reassembled, and took a voyage to Santa Clara, “with indifferent success.”
The book also notes that during its second trip, the Sitka, after making its way up the Sacramento River in the latter part of 1847 and arriving safely, took a long time to return to San Francisco.
This portion of the book reads: “Nearly a month elapsed, however, before her return; and in the meantime, various were the jokes and jibes ‘launch’-ed at her and on the proprietor, who nevertheless persisted that he would yet ‘make the smoke fly on the bay,’ and hand the name of his first steamboat ‘down to dexterity,’ as he pronounced the word.”
But, as previously noted, the Sitka made two trips in California before being dismantled.
Note: This is part 10 in a series about the history of the Sacramento River.
Sacramento became a city built upon a city through extensive mid-19th century street raising project
Editor’s Note: This is part six in a series about the history of the Sacramento River.
Within a quarter century of its founding, flooding had become the bane of Sacramento. It was a city born out of convenience rather than vision.
From 1839 to 1849, the area was known as “Sutter’s Embarcadero.”
According to local historian Barbara Lagomarsino’s essay, entitled “Sacramento on the Rise,” “A man named McVickar proposed around this time (1848) to build a grogshop right on the river bank – but in the limbs of a sycamore tree, about twenty feet up” and that “access was to be by ladder or canoe, whichever circumstances preferred.”
Sacramento City, as Sacramento was known during its earliest years, was founded by John A. Sutter, Jr., who despite his father’s wishes, established the town at the confluence of the two rivers, instead of on higher ground.
The more visionary John Sutter, Sr. had already planned a city, complete with engineered docks and canals in the more appropriate location of the current William Land Park area.
But the selected location of Sacramento City offered a sandbar that precluded the need for docks and piers. It also left the new city vulnerable to seasonal inundations.
The building of levees, the filling of creeks and the rechanneling of watercourses only set the stage for one of the most ambitious flood control efforts ever attempted.
The indomitable city now had the indomitable task of literally raising its streets above the level of serious flooding.
This endeavor would take time, money and a cooperative effort of paramount proportions.
Since prehistoric times, humans recognized that erecting their housing upon stilts could provide protection from rising waters.
But the concept of raising a large section of the city, including businesses that required walk-up traffic, was a challenge of unparalleled proportions.
The project began simply enough as businesses raised their buildings to protect their valuable merchandise.
The problem then became that a city built upon banks of mud was without sidewalks. And customers, during the muddy winter months and the searing heat of summer, had to trudge up flights of stairs just to reach entrances.
A solution was required that could accommodate customers and protect inventory and citizens from floods.
Stilts solved the problem of protecting the businesses from floods, but one still required a boat to go shopping during the rainy seasons.
The stilts were an insipient beginning, but the ultimate salvation was found in raising the city streets as much as about 15 feet and abandoning the first floor entrances in the business district.
Essentially, Sacramento was to become a city built upon a city.
In addition to stilts, in the 1850s, some street levels were modestly and independently raised on a business to business basis.
But it took the flood of 1861-62 for the citizenry to come to the conclusion that a massive street raising, fortification of buildings and a reconstruction of the sewer system was necessary.
The optimum level to which the streets would have to be raised for protection from flooding equal to the great flood of 1861-62 was referred to as “high grade.” This level varied from a few feet on the edges of the flood prone area to as much as 15 feet in the central business district.
According to an article, entitled “The Uptown Underground,” in the February 1998 issue of Comstock’s magazine, a March 18, 1862 vote determined that the grade level of J Street would be raised two feet above the high-water mark. The motion passed with only two dissenting votes.
And in Lagomarsino’s aforementioned article, she wrote: “Finally, in February 1863, the supervisors passed an ordinance establishing the official street grades of Sacramento’s business district well above all previous high-water marks. This monumental endeavor required a public/private cooperative effort of unprecedented magnitude for the young city.”
In the July 18, 1969 edition of The Sacramento Union, historian Ted Baggelman, in an article regarding the development of the K Street Mall, referred to the 1860s cooperative effort, as follows: “The city pledged to fill in between the bulkheads to the necessary level, pave the street, and construct curbs. The merchants obligated themselves to pay the construction costs for the portion of the eight foot bulkhead in front of his establishment, and bear the costs of raising or altering his building and restoring the sidewalk at the new street level.”
The impact and effect of raising the city’s streets was much more complex than simply hauling in soil and tamping it. It became a complex integration of altering buildings and the water and sewer systems, paving streets, and building sidewalks.
On Jan. 1, 1867, The Union published an article regarding this redevelopment.
It was noted in the article that some streets “have been raised to the ‘high grade’ on the level with the embankments on the waterfront, which necessitates building of bulkheads and raising or reconstructing buildings; and in many cases old buildings have been torn down and new ones built to correspond with the improvements around them.”
The article also mentioned that “the Pacific Railroad Company have (sic) also entered upon the work of filling up Sutter Slough, north of I Street, and grading the ground from First Street to Sixth (Street), for the purpose of erecting thereon buildings for machine shops, car manufactories, etc.” These are the same buildings in the “railyards” area that the city and state are preserving and developing as part of the California State Railroad Museum.
Building owners were forced to decide whether their structures were worth saving or how they could be adapted.
Baggelman considered the owners’ consternation, as he wrote: “Pity the poor merchant who had to move his store up to the second floor, which then became the first floor; or worse yet, the property owner who decided to have his building raised (to the new level), which, at one inch a day took four months to reach the required eight feet.”
An apparatus known as a “jackscrew” was the preferred method of raising buildings, and it was not always an easy or successful endeavor.
In Lagomarsino’s article, she mentioned a raised tenement structure that was on jackscrews in the Chinese section of town, and notes that it collapsed during high winds in 1864.
She also referred to an annex of the Union Hotel, which was located on 2nd Street, between J and K streets, as follows: “(The annex was) perched on dozens of jackscrews, eight feet above the ground, waiting for a new foundation. Before that could be supplied, however, in the middle of the night, most of the building collapsed, leaving a jumble of furniture, bricks and fixtures piled around the jackscrews.”
Fortunately, most of the buildings were raised without incident; although, the process could be expensive when performed by professionals.
Students at Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary marched from campus and around the block across from campus in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s memory on his birthday, Jan. 15. The march was a “Freedom March” and held different meanings to each student. Carrying signs “freedom from bullying”, “freedom of education” and “freedom for all” the students were fully engaged.
It was a march that Principal Reginald Brown said was “open to interpretation. We have some of the nicest, caring, compassionate kids.”
This is the fifth year that Brown has been the principal at the school, but it’s the first time they’ve held a march in honor of MLK Jr.’s birthday. Each year, they’ve celebrated MLK Jr.’s memory differently. They’ve held essay contests, always held some kind of assembly, but this year, one of the teachers brought up the idea of a march. And on Friday, Jan. 11, permission slips went home and organization for the march came together quickly.
“It is a way to solidify our namesake,” Brown said, by holding his vision. “(MLK) is a top American in our history.”
On Sunday, Sept. 9, two Boy Scouts in Greenhaven Scout Troop 259, Joseph Seligo Barrett and Mark Allen Matney, Jr., were honored at an Eagle Court of Honor ceremony at Elks Lodge No. 6 for their work and commitment to achieve Boy Scouting’s highest rank, Eagle Scout.
Joining their celebration were many friends, family and fellow Troop 259 Scouts and leaders. Special guests included Mamie Yee, Chief of Staff to County Supervisor Jimmie Yee, Former City Councilman Robbie Waters and Darnell Lawrence, the President of Elks Lodge No. 6, and the original Charter Organization for the Troop since 1966.
In Scouting, each Scout blazes his own trail, expressed in the form of the Scouting skills he learns, the leadership positions he chooses to accept and the Merit Badges he earns along the way. Both Barrett and Matney earned their Eagle Rank in 2011. Both accepted the responsibility of leading the Troop as the Senior Patrol Leader and other Troop leadership positions.
According to the Boy Scouts of America website, out of the 2.7 million nationally registered Boys Scouts in 2011, only 51,473 Scouts (or about 2 percent) were awarded the Eagle Scout Rank. Their exceptional effort over several years in the Troop placed Barrett and Matney in rare company. They have now joined the Troop 259 “Eagles Nest” of 163 Scouts who have earned that rank since the Troop’s first Eagle Scout Rank was awarded in 1969.
A key requirement for the Eagle Scout Rank is completing an Eagle Scout Service Project to demonstrate leadership and to improve the community in which they live. Each young man chose a beneficial project, each with its own set of challenges. Barrett and a team of other Scouts added visible curbside street numbers to a wide swath of homes in the Greenhaven area as a way to clearly identify addresses for emergency responders. Matney and his group of volunteers took a rough, unimproved outdoor area at the Sacramento SPCA and converted it to a raised bed garden, improving the facility for pets awaiting adoption.
The highlight of the evening was the presentation of a special resolution from the County Board of Supervisors to each Eagle Scout by Mamie Yee, Chief of Staff to Supervisor Jimmie Yee. As each Scout noted in their personal remarks, their Scouting experience on the Trail to Eagle established a strong foundation for their futures. Barret is currently a senior at John F. Kennedy High School and is a long standing member of the Marching Band and Orchestra Ensemble. Matney graduated from John F. Kennedy High School in 2011 and is entering his sophomore year at UCLA. Congratulations to both of these fine young men.
For those who either grew up on or near Janey Way or for those familiar with Marty’s column, it should come as no surprise that many people have a very deep-rooted love for this local street.
This fact is even more understandable since the street was constructed more than 60 years ago.
But nonetheless, the great number of stories that derive from Janey Way can seem quite remarkable when considering that the street is a mere 909 feet long and never included more than its current total of 32 houses – three of which are actually duplexes.
Certainly, this article is not intended to replace Marty’s popular column. So, be sure to read his current “Janey Way Memories.”
Instead, this first and only edition of “More Janey Way Memories” is presented solely to tell the story of one more person who grew up on Janey Way and his lifelong love for this East Sacramento street and his current project to preserve a portion of its past.
This person is Tom Hart, who grew up on Janey Way.
Tom, 57, who follows Marty’s column, is familiar with many of the column’s related stories and people and can sometimes even read about himself, is working on a project that will bring him back to his old neighborhood.
Dust has been flying, machinery has been running off and on and hammers have been pounding at the old Hart house since last July.
This activity, said Tom, who is of Scottish, Irish and English ancestry, is part of a project that will fulfill his dream to move back into his childhood home, where he grew up with his mother Rose (Hawkins) Hart, his sister – the former Susan Hart, now Susan Chevassau – and for a shorter period of time, his father, Bernie, who passed away in 1961.
“When my mother (who passed away in the home on Dec. 19, 2001) was sick and I was staying with her, we would talk in the evenings and one of the things that I told her is I wanted to move back home,” Tom said. “That really warmed her heart and made her feel happy that her son was going to be moving back home and back into the neighborhood.”
The remodeling project includes the addition of about 400 square feet of livable space with the expansion of the living room and master bedroom, a new master bathroom, a new laundry room and the addition of more closet space and a covered porch area behind the house. Additionally, the old garage was demolished and replaced with a two and a half-car garage, the roof and windows were replaced and new insulation was installed throughout the home.
Tom, a 1971 graduate of Sacramento High School, said that although he had hoped to move into the house with his wife Diana by Christmastime, he is now setting a more realistic goal of once again becoming a Janey Way resident by April.
The upgrading of the old Hart house helps to preserve one of the street’s older homes.
Research for this article revealed the following history of Janey Way:
According to the 1949 city directory, the first houses to be built on Janey Way – those of the late 1940s – were the homes of Ross Relles, James Tomassetti, Dante Viani and Jose “Joe” Micheli.
During the time their homes were built, Relles operated his well-known Relles Florist at 2200 J St., Tomassetti was a painter for the Western Pacific Railroad, Viani worked for Koro Products Co. at 2116 19th St. and Micheli was a bartender at the Square Deal Café at 5723 Folsom Blvd., where the Espanol Restaurant is now located.
Carmen Tomassetti, who married James Tomassetti on Aug. 14, 1948 and raised five children in her Janey Way home, said that she moved into her then-new house on Dec. 10, 1948.
“My house was built in 1948,” said Carmen, who is a native of Monte Porzio, Italy. “The first houses (on Janey Way) were built in 1948, then little by little different companies built different houses.”
The 1952 city directory shows the growth of the street by this time, as follows: Olin N. Boggs, Joseph C. Brady, Dominic J. Costamagna, Raymond Cullivan, Adelbert C. Jacobs, Richard Kinzel, Jr., Eugene E. McKnight, Jose Micheli, Gene C. O’Keefe, Virgil W. Petrocchi, Mateo Puccetti, Ralph Puccetti, Ross Relles, Joseph C. Romel, Loren E. Sizemore, Eugene R. Thomsen, James Tomassetti, Dante H. Viani, Louie E. Viani and three vacant homes. As an historical note, Janey Way no longer extended south of M Street to include its 1300s addresses by the late 1950s. This property is presently part of the site of St. Mary’s School.
Enzo Costa said that he moved into the neighborhood in 1972 and now lives in the last house that was built on Janey Way. He had the house constructed in 1976.
Tom, who with his wife, has three children, Angela, Rebecca and T.J., said that a prime example that his neighborhood is fairly old is the fact that Costa is considered one of Janey Way’s “new kids on the block.”
Costa may have had the last house built in the neighborhood, but as a resident of the street, he has much seniority over a family, for instance, who moved to a house on Janey Way about two years ago.
Fortunately, due to modern technology, most readers who are interested in seeing the old Hart house do not have to go further than their own computers to do so.
In order that Tom’s sister could observe various remodeling stages of the home, Tom has placed footage of these remodeling stages on the Web site www.youtube.com. The short videos, which currently present 13 remodeling stages, can be found using the search words: “Hart Janey Way remodel.”
Tom plans to load seven more videos onto the site to show a full-range summary of the project. He also plans to eventually take the main highlights of all his videos and combine them to create a 15-minute video that he will also post on the Web site.
Tom said that the simple fact that he desires to move back to his childhood house shows how special the home and its neighborhood and residents are in his heart.
“I just have so many fond memories of the place,” Tom said. “I’m coming full circle. My kids have grown and now I have a chance to come back home to be where still many of the neighbors live. Where, when I was smaller, these neighbors would take care of me, now I’m coming back home, so I can take care of them.”
One of the Carmichael Recreation and Park District’s most unique parks, Patriots Park, will add one more name to its Wall of Honor during a special ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 6 at 10 a.m.
Although the park is only three years old, many who are familiar with this 3.68-acre neighborhood park know that it is far from an ordinary recreation and leisure spot.
At the center of the park sits a 20-foot-long by 3-foot-tall by 3-foot-wide concrete and stone wall with much more significance than its durable materials.
Recognized as the Wall of Honor, the wall is so significant, in fact, that when the park was dedicated on Nov. 15, 2008, an entirely separate dedication was held on the same day to present the Wall of Honor and its first inductees to the public.
The park, which is located just east of the Carmichael-Fair Oaks border at 6827 Palm Avenue, off Dewey Drive, features the latest in park designs with walking paths, a playground, a picnic area, a basketball court and a butterfly garden.
But it is the Wall of Honor, which is the park’s most treasured feature.
The wall features 11 plaques with the names of local heroes, who gave their lives serving their country or community.
The Nov. 6 ceremony will honor former Navy pilot, Lt. j.g. David A. Warne, who was lost at sea at the age of 27 on Jan. 12, 1991 during a nighttime training mission over the Mediterranean Sea.
Tracy Kerth, recreation services manager of the Carmichael Recreation and Park District, explained the background of the creation of the Wall of Honor.
“We were trying to name the park and the community came forward and they said, ‘Well, how about we name it after this young man (the late Army Sgt. Ronald L. Coffelt), who grew up in the area and his family still lives here.’ But then we started thinking about all of our heroes. So, then we thought about naming (the park) Patriots Park and having a Wall of Honor and that would include not only military people, but it would include firefighters and police and CHP and Sheriffs and civilians who died in the line of duty.”
With the creation of the wall, such local heroes who resided, worked in or served the community within the park district boundaries could be honored as part of this lasting monument.
This honor is available to those who showed acts of courage beginning as early as 1945, when the district was established.
Nominations for candidates for the Wall of Honor are accepted until July 31 every year.
Official nomination forms are available through the district’s Web site www.carmichaelpark.com or by calling (916) 485-5322 to arrange for a form to be mailed via the United States Postal Service.
The first inductees
The first inductees to have their names placed on plaques and displayed on the Wall of Honor were:: As previously mentioned, Coffelt was the inspiration for the Wall of Honor.
Army Sgt. Ronald L. Coffelt
Raised within walking distance from the park, Coffelt, a graduate of Del Campo High School, died on July 19, 2007 from wounds that he suffered as a result of a bomb that exploded near him in Baghdad.
Army Spc. Raymond Nigel Spencer, Jr.: Spencer, who was raised in Carmichael and excelled in hockey during his youth, was killed less than a month prior to Coffelt’s death when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device and small arms fire.
Sheriff Deputies Kevin Patrick Blount and Joseph Kievernagel: Blount and Kievernagel, who worked as partners in the North Division serving Carmichael, lost their lives during a burglary call on July 15, 2005, when the engine of the helicopter they were flying failed and the helicopter crashed.
CHP Officer Ronald Eugene Davis: Following his graduation from the California Highway Patrol academy, Davis moved his family from Carmichael to Barstow.
Davis died at the age of 25 when he was driving about 100 miles per hour while en route to a traffic accident.
When a pair of motorists failed to heed his siren, Davis, in order to avoid a collision, died when he drove off the highway into the desert.
Army 1st Lt. Robert Scott Byrnes: A graduate of La Sierra High School, Byrnes, a former lifeguard and swimming instructor at Carmichael Park, lost his life in Vietnam.
Firefighter Dean Wesley Rhoades: An El Camino High School graduate, Rhoades died shortly after fighting a house fire in Carmichael on Jan. 6, 1981.
The second inductees
Last year, plaques for the following inductees were also added to the wall:
Army Spc. James Edward Schlottman: An El Camino High School graduate, Schlottman was killed by a booby trap while on patrol in Vietnam on Aug. 22, 1967.
Sgt. Brian E. Dunlap: A graduate of Del Campo High School, Dunlap was killed at the age of 38 on Sept. 24, 2005, when a roadside bomb exploded during his patrol in northern Baghdad.
Sgt. Larry Morford: The courage of Morford is recognized in the book, “The Least Beastly,” by Bernard “Burn” Loeffke.
Within a memorial tribute to Morford in this book, it is explained that despite being a young man who did not believe in war as a method of resolving disputes, Morford felt that he could not stay at home knowing that other young men were fighting for his country.
On Feb. 12, 1970, Morford, a graduate of La Sierra High School, was killed at the age of 21 in Vietnam while serving in his patrol just a few days prior to when he was scheduled to return home.
Cpt. Olin E. Gilbert, Jr.: While flying an F-106 in a training mission at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida on June 11, 1968, Gilbert was met with the plane’s sudden mechanical difficulties.
Instead of parachuting to safety, Gilbert, a Vietnam veteran, piloted the plane out to sea and away from coastline homes in Port St. Joe, Fla.
This act of heroism cost Gilbert his life, but in turn saved the lives of many other people.
A special honor for a local heroUnlike the previous two Wall of Honor ceremonies, the upcoming Nov. 6 ceremony will honor only one inductee.
This year’s inductee, David A. Warne, formerly resided in Fair Oaks and graduated from Sacramento State University in 1985 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.
David, who enjoyed skiing and fishing and briefly worked at Aerojet prior to entering active duty in the Navy in 1987, completed his pilot training two years later and was assigned as an F/A-18 pilot.
Although David has a marker in the Arlington National Cemetery, since his body was never recovered after he was lost at sea, it was not possible for his remains to be buried in a local cemetery.
Because of this fact, David’s family and some of his closest friends, who will be attending the event, are additionally appreciative that David will have his name officially placed on the Wall of Honor.
David’s mother, Betty Warne, recently expressed her appreciation that her son will have a local memorial to honor him.
“We don’t have the grave marker here in the area for him, so that’s really nice to have (David’s name on the Wall of Honor) here in this area,” Betty said.
David’s father, Evans Warne, a retired Air Force colonel, pilot and Vietnam veteran, also expressed his appreciation that his son’s name will be placed on the wall.
“(Having David honored on the wall) means an awful lot to me,” Evans said. “It means that somebody is recognizing his service and that whoever goes to that park will realize what a sacrifice he made and recognize what he did.”
Lee Ann Yarber, administrative analyst of the park district, said that the ceremony, which will also be attended by park district advisory board members and Sacramento County District 3 Supervisor Susan Peters, is a great opportunity for the community to show appreciation for David, as well as other heroes of the Wall of Honor.
“We absolutely invite all the community to come out – anybody who ever lost a loved one or anybody who wants to pay honor to the family of the fallen hero,” Yarber said. “It’s just a nice ceremony, so come on out and honor our local heroes.”
For more than a half a century, Congregation B’nai Israel has had a temple in Land Park that has been a very important place for the local Jewish community. The site, however, is only part of the rich history of the congregation’s presence in Sacramento.
The roots of Congregation B’nai Israel, in fact, date back to the great Gold Rush of California.
During this time in history, Jewish immigrants arrived in Sacramento mainly from Germany and Poland. Others arrived from Russia, England and France.
Of these early Jewish immigrants, Moses Hyman, who resided at 56 Front St., is recognized as the first Jewish leader in Sacramento.
Congregation B’nai Israel was established in 1852 as an outgrowth from the Hebrew Benevolent Society, which was founded by Jewish pioneers during the later months of 1850.
Services of the congregation were held in private homes in the capital city until June 1852, when a building was purchased from the First Methodist Episcopal Church.
The prefabricated building, which was located at 7th and L streets, was shipped around Cape Horn from Baltimore to San Francisco in 1849.
The building, which was then brought to Sacramento and consecrated in September 1852, became the first synagogue west of the Mississippi.
Unfortunately for the congregation, the original synagogue was burned down during a great fire, which also destroyed many other buildings in the area.
Following the fire, under Rabbi Z. Newstadter, a congregation met at a temporary temple on 5th Street.
By 1864, a new temple on 6th Street, between J and K streets, was consecrated and used for services and other gatherings for the following 40 years.
In about 1880, the congregation shifted from Orthodox Judaism to Reform Judaism.
A new, two-story synagogue with an upstairs sanctuary, a social hall, stage and kitchen, was constructed and opened on 15th Street, between N and O streets, in about 1904.
The history of the Jewish synagogue in the capital city includes many notable Sacramentans.
Among the more notable people who were members of the congregation were David Lubin and Harris Weinstock.
Many present day Sacramentans are familiar with the names Weinstock and Lubin due to the longtime existence of the department store, Weinstock-Lubin and Co., which was located at 11th and K streets. Other locations of the store, which was later known as Weinstock’s, were located in the greater Sacramento area.
The name David Lubin has also been memorialized through the David Lubin Elementary School at 3535 M St. in East Sacramento. The school, which had the previous address 3700 K St., opened in about the mid-1920s.
In addition to his connection to the Weinstock-Lubin store, Lubin is also recognized as the founder of the International Institute of Agriculture.
Weinstock, who was Lubin’s half-brother, was the co-founder of the Sutter Club, the Unitarian and Economic clubs of San Francisco and the Commonwealth Club of California.
Additionally, the temple’s records show that Weinstock, who occupied the temple’s pulpit when no rabbi was present, was responsible for bringing Rabbi Joseph L. Levy to Sacramento.
Levy was recognized as the “bright light of Judaism” and was invited to speak at a variety of temple and civic functions.
Other notable people who were members of the congregation were Isador Cohen, August Heilbron, Albert Elkus and Lewis Gerstle.
Following World War II, the Jewish community of Sacramento expanded immensely.
It was also during this time that the 15th Street synagogue was showing its age.
A joke about the building at the time was that the structure was held together with baling wire.
During the late 1940s, property was purchased for a $250,000 synagogue at the site of the old Riverside Baths, a public swimming pool on Riverside Boulevard and 11th Avenue.
Heading the drive to collect funds for the new temple was the congregation’s president, Dalton Feldstein.
So important was Feldstein’s assistance with the project to have the synagogue constructed that the structure became known as “the house that Dalton built.”
The cornerstone for the Riverside synagogue was laid on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 1953 at 11 a.m.
Attending the event were representatives of Gov. Goodwin J. Knight and Congressman John E. Moss, Jr., who placed items in the cornerstone.
Following the cornerstone laying ceremony, public tours of the new building were led by leaders of the congregation.
On Friday, April 2, 1954, the then-recently completed synagogue was dedicated, as more than 1,000 Sacramento Jews, as well as Christians and others, gathered for the event.
The Sacramento Bee reported that the dedication ceremony presented “a spirit of brotherhood among all faiths and all men.”
During the dedication ceremony, Rabbi Irving I. Hausman read a prayer and introduced Feldstein, who he described as the “propelling force” behind the new synagogue.
In his dedicatory address, Feldstein said, “This is the first time in my life that I have had the honor and pleasure of dedicating a house of worship. The problems and the trials that went into bringing (the synagogue) into being are as nothing tonight.”
In the early 1960s, a religious school building, which was later named in memory of Bennett “Buddy” Kandel, was added to the temple grounds.
The synagogue’s records show that from about the mid-1940s until 1985, membership in the congregation grew from about 200 individuals to about 700 families.
It was also in 1985 that a groundbreaking was held for a chapel, a library and an office building.
Another feature of the temple site is the Opper Courtyard, an outdoor sanctuary named after Sy and Estelle Opper and dedicated in April 1998 to Sophia Dubowsky for her devotion to her family and the Jewish community.
On June 18, 1998, a firebomb destroyed the temple’s library, but through much support, funds were raised for the reconstruction of the building.
The trauma and destruction caused by the incident aroused the sympathies of many Jewish and non-Jewish people in the community.
Following the bombing, Rabbi Mona Alfi commented about this tragedy.
“Ironically, I think that much more will come out of the bombing than any harm that was inflicted upon us,” Alfi said. “I think we’re going to come across as a stronger congregation (and) a more involved congregation.”
The congregation’s ability to persevere and overcome this dark incident in the synagogue’s history is a fine example of the outlook of its members.
In a 1999 documentary about the history of the synagogue, it was mentioned that the true spirit of Congregation B’nai Israel is not in its buildings, but instead in the soul of its members.
Working to serve the spiritual needs of its members and guests, weekly services are led by Rabbi Alfi on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings.
Today, Congregation B’nai Israel, which is recognized as the city’s oldest Jewish congregation, continues to honor its traditions of heritage while “creating a Jewish experience that is relevant to today’s society.”
For additional information regarding Congregation B’nai Israel, call (916) 446-4861 or visit www.bnais.com.
The Riverside-Pocket area is certainly rich with history and among the earlier stories of this area is the history of the Frank Enos Service Station.
In its early years, the service station was essential to many people in the area who had transitioned from horse and buggies and surreys to Model Ts and other early automobiles.
Like many people in the area at the time, Frank Enos was of Portuguese heritage, as his father, also Frank Enos, was born in Pico, Azores Islands, Portugal.
From slough to service station
Frank Enos, Jr. (who for the remainder of this story will simply be referred to as Frank) was born in 1872 on his father’s 27-acre ranch, adjacent to Babel Slough in Freeport in the area that is now known as Clarksburg.
Following the death of his father, Frank, along with his brother Joe, inherited his family’s ranch.
In about 1890, Joe purchased his brother’s portion of the ranch and the two brothers opened Enos Bros. Grocery on the northwest corner of 10th and O streets.
With this move, a bar was added to the business, which was renamed Frank Enos Grocery Store and Bar.
Occasionally during this era, other bars were also connected to grocery stores, including the Portuguese businesses, the Da Rosa grocery store on Riverside Road and the Souza grocery store on Freeport Road in the town of Freeport.
While operating his grocery store and bar in 1897, Frank married Philomena “Minnie” Brown, the daughter of prominent Freeport resident John Joaquim “King” Brown, who also had two sons – John, who was a guard at the Bank of Italy (later Bank of America) at 6th and K streets, and Manuel, who was the captain of the dredger, Argyle.
The newlyweds moved into their newly purchased home at 2419 L St., where they resided until they moved to Riverside in 1913.
It was in this year that Frank purchased the property where the service station was built and opened about eight years later.
The property also included the family’s new home – a small, white, two-story, c. 1910, wood-frame house.
The service station, which was referred to by many local residents as “Frank Enos’ gas station,” originally included three pumps, which provided regular and ethyl gasoline. The station was later downsized to include only two pumps.
In addition to offering gasoline, the station included large scales, which were used to weigh horse-drawn wagons and small trucks with loads of hay and produce that were shipped out on boxcars on Front Street, near today’s Sacramento History Museum in Old Sacramento.
People, property and petrol
Pocket native Dolores (Silva) Greenslate recalled a very early story relating to the Frank Enos Service Station.
“In about 1923, my father (Victor Silva), who at the time worked in dredging around Sutter Bypass raising the levels of the existing Sacramento River levees, upon leaving for work in the Riverside area, discovered his Model T Ford truck was low on gas,” Greenslate said. “Frank Enos’ gas station was not yet opened for morning business, so he pushed his little truck up Riverside Road to Y Street in order to buy gas from Ed Fortado’s gas station, which was the next closest station. It is hard to believe that he had the strength to push the truck over the Sutterville Road hill and still had strength enough to push it about another mile to Y Street. I knew he was very strong, but I didn’t know he was that strong.”
Greenslate said that Frank was a very kind man who would have gladly been awoken to assist her father to accommodate him on his way to work.
She added that her father, however, would not have wanted to inconvenience Frank at that predawn hour.
“My father was a very polite and classy man,” Greenslate said.
Eventually, two of Frank’s three sons, Alfred and Louis “Louie” Enos, regularly assisted him with various service station duties, including pumping gas, changing oil and changing tubes in tires.
Louie later worked as a junior high school teacher, including his time at California Junior High School at 2991 Land Park Drive at Vallejo Way, where he was a substitute English teacher during the 1930s.
Ironically, Greenslate, who attended California Junior High School from 1935 to 1937, was one of Louie’s students.
Although the Frank Enos Service Station was closed in 1940 and Frank and Minnie passed away in the early 1960s, the Enos presence in the area continued after this time, as Alfred, who was a lifelong bachelor, had a house built on his property at 5720 Riverside Blvd. Alfred resided in this small, stucco, single-story house, which still stands today, until at least 1982.
Greenslate said that the site of the old service station, which is located near Interstate 5, represents one of the historic landmarks of a much changed Riverside-Pocket area.
“I experienced the last of the horse-drawn wagons and surreys going up and down Riverside Road and then we had Frank Enos’ gas station, which was the beginning of automobiles commonly traveling along Riverside Road. (The station) is part of my many memorable childhood recollections, as we always stopped by (the station) before we went any place and my parents would talk to Frank while getting their gas. It was just one of the notable places that I remember being in the area, which also included my grandmother’s house and other farmhouses and farmlands. Those were very special times, but the area has changed drastically since these days and is obviously a much different place today.”
E-mail Lance Armstrong at email@example.com.