Sacramento area’s first television station debuted in 1953

Editor’s Note: This is part four in a series about local people connected to the early days of television.

As mentioned in the last article of this series, nearly 16 months after the Federal Communications Commission lifted its freeze on granting new television licenses, the Sacramento area received its first television station: KCCC Channel 40.
Ground was broken for that UHF station’s studios and 510-foot-tall, steel transmitter tower on the Garden Highway on August 28, 1953 at 2:30 p.m.
Among those present at the ground breaking ceremony were Mayor Leslie E. Wood (1897-1974), William Lawrence Greer (1902-1975), president of the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce, and other members of the city council, as well as members of the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors.
Frank Maloney was the general contractor for the construction of the station’s headquarters. His business’s headquarters were located at 1915 S St.
The television building project was completed in three stages, with the first of those stages being the erection of a basic operations unit, with its reception, control and projection rooms. The second stage of that project was the construction of the studio, and lastly, the third stage consisted of the erection of an office building.
KCCC made national news, as the word spread throughout the country that construction on the station’s structures were completed in only 34 days.
As for the placement of the transmission tower, that endeavor was also completed in a relatively short period of time, as the tower arrived on Sept. 22, 1953 and was installed within three days.
The completed television studios building was a single story structure, measuring about 50 feet by about 124 feet.
It was noted in the Aug. 27, 1953 edition of The Sacramento Bee that it was hoped that KCCC would make its debut on Oct. 1, 1953.
The station was introduced to the community in the Sept. 30, 1953 edition of The Bee through a full page advertisement, which featured the words, “Sacramento’s first television station, KCCC Channel 40 now on the air!”
Actually, the station was located about three miles outside of city limits, but was nonetheless most beneficial to the people of Sacramento. In that regard, it was undoubtedly a Sacramento station.
The advertisement in The Bee was presented by the new TV company’s builders, suppliers and installers, which were entirely Sacramento area businesses.
Those businesses were listed as follows: Brighton Sand and Gravel Co., Jackson Road, quarter-mile east of Perkins; Luppen & Hawley, Inc., 3126 J St.; Dolan Building Material Co., 3030 P St.; The Ellis Co., 1923 Stockton Blvd.; Thomas F. Scollan Co., 2518 B and C streets alley; John R. Reeves, 16th Street at the American River Bridge; Vacher & Brandon, 2316 Alhambra Blvd.; Lentz Construction Co., 2416 Sutterville Road; California Manufacturing Co., Inc., 1716 Alhambra Blvd.; Breuner’s, 604 K St.; Wilkins Draying Co., 601 1st Ave.; Ernest D. Francis, 1012 J St.; Vance Smith, 411 16th St.; The Palm Iron & Bridge Works, 1501 S St.; and W.P. Fuller & Co., 1725 10th St.
The aforementioned advertisement also included the following words: “The owners of TV station KCCC deserve the thanks of the great Sacramento area for bringing television to our community. Here is television at its finest…the very newest development in the field of telecasting equipment.”
The station was originally led by Harry W. McCart, president of the Capital City Television Corp., which operated the station. He was already known in Sacramento for his work as president of the wholesale liquor distributing firm, James P. Keating Co., at 1607-1609 E St.
Frank E. Hurd became the Capital City Television Corp.’s vice president and the Idaho-born Ashley L. Robison (1913-1990) was named its secretary-treasurer.
Hurd and Robison’s contributions to the station also included their acquisition of the permit for the station under the name Cal-Tel Co.
It was also in the station’s early days that Clarence P. Talbot was appointed KCCC’s director of public relations.
Furthermore, George E. Ledell, Jr., former accountant executive with Los Angeles’ KHJ-TV Channel 9, was appointed as KCCC’s special station representative for the Los Angeles and San Francisco markets.
Although KCCC was licensed to operate with 10 kilowatts of power, the station initially operated with only 1 kilowatt of power.
The station originally had affiliations with the television networks, ABC, CBS, NBC and DuMont.
KCCC made its debut with the airing of the opening game of the 1953 World Series on Sept. 30, 1953.
In that game, the New York Yankees beat the Brooklyn Dodgers (known today as the Los Angeles Dodgers), 9-5, at Yankee Stadium before a crowd of 69,734 spectators. The Yankees would eventually win the seven-game series in six games.
Episodes of the now classic sitcom, “I Love Lucy,” featuring Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, William Frawley and Vivian Vance, were also shown on KCCC. The station began its schedule of presenting the show on Oct. 9, 1953.
On Aug. 31, 1956, Lincoln Dellar, owner of radio station KXOA 107.9 FM, announced that he would be purchasing KCCC from McCart and Robison, pending FCC approval. The sale price, which included assumptions of liabilities, was $400,000.
At that time, Dellar owned the radio stations KHMO 1070 AM in Hannibal, Mo. and KXL 101.1 FM in Portland, Ore. He was also co-owner of KJR 950 AM in Seattle.
It was not until the following October that the sale of KCCC, which was then solely an ABC affiliate, was completed.
With that sale, Dellar appointed Al J. Richards, general manager, and Ralph Guild, sales manager.
Dellar also named Thomas J. MacBride, local attorney and state assemblyman, to KCCC’s board of directors.
Others associated with the station at that time were William Furnell, program director, and Harry Bartollomei, chief engineer.
The station remained licensed to the Capital City Television Corp., but it was controlled by Sacramento Broadcasters, Inc., the licensee for KXOA.
As previously mentioned in this series, in 1957, KOVR Channel 13 became an ABC affiliate, as it acquired that status from KCCC.
KCCC made its final sign-off on May 31, 1957 at 11:40 p.m.
But nine months later, plans for reviving the Channel 40 were announced.
Around that time, the FCC was asked if it would move Channel 12 in Chico to Sacramento, and establish a Channel 11 in Chico.
Nonetheless, Channel 12 would remain in Chico, where it has operated as KHSL-TV since 1953. Its call letters derived from the initials of Harry Smithson and Sidney Lewis, who established radio station KHSL-AM in 1935.
The Bee reported on Oct. 6, 1959 that plans had been made for Channel 40 to return to the air on the first day of the following month.
Additionally, the article noted that test patterns were being shown and temporary studios had been leased in the Women’s Building on the grounds of the State Fair, which was then located at Stockton Boulevard and Broadway.
The transmitter for the soon-to-be-launched station was located at the old city dump off 28th Street.
Known as KVUE, the reemerged Channel 40 was a short-lived endeavor, as it first went on the air on the aforementioned date of Nov. 1, 1959 and continued its broadcasts until March 21, 1960.
According to the Jan. 2, 1961 issue of Broadcasting, a weekly magazine dedicated to television and radio business, KVUE went off the air due to financial difficulties.
The focus of the article was to inform its readers that the station had asked its creditors not to press for payments, because its owners desired to “recapitalize and go back on the air rather than declare the station bankrupt.”
The article referred to a letter to creditors from Melvyn E. Lucas and Henry P. Deane, who held stock proxies for KVUE.
It was mentioned in the letter that KVUE’s financial difficulties were attributed to its position of competing against two other UHF stations.
The letter also claimed that the FCC was still contemplating the possibility of moving Channel 12 from Chico to Sacramento.
Although KVUE made a latter attempt to renew its license, the station never broadcast again.
The demise of KVUE caused only a temporary loss of Channel 40 in Sacramento, as the FCC would grant a license for that channel to a group known as the Camellia City Telecasters later that decade. The group was led by Jack Matranga (1925-2012), a 1943 Sacramento High School graduate, who was one of the founders of radio station KGMS 1380 AM.
The Telecasters established KTXL Channel 40, which first broadcast on Oct. 26, 1968. The station, with its affiliation with the Fox network, is commonly known today as Fox 40.

Many notable people were interred at St. Mary’s Cemetery

Joe Marty was a star slugger and outfielder for the Sacramento Solons. He was also the first Sacramento native to hit a home run in a World Series game. Photo courtesy of Alan O’Connor

Joe Marty was a star slugger and outfielder for the Sacramento Solons. He was also the first Sacramento native to hit a home run in a World Series game. Photo courtesy of Alan O’Connor

Editor’s Note: This is part three in a series regarding Sacramento area cemeteries.

St. Mary’s Cemetery, the historic cemetery featured in the last edition of this publication, is the resting place of many notable people.
Among those interred on the grounds of this cemetery, which is located at 6700 21st Ave., at the 65th Street Expressway, are the Sacramento Solons baseball greats Tony Freitas and Joe Marty.
Tony Freitas
The 5-foot, 8-inch-tall, left-handed pitcher Antonio “Tony” Freitas, Jr. (1908-1994) was undoubtedly one of the most renowned Sacramento Solons players.
His clutch performances in the Solons’ drive to winning their only pennant in 1942 were sufficient enough to earn him legendary status in the capital city.
Freitas made his professional baseball debut in 1928 with the Class D Phoenix Senators in the Arizona State League.
During the 1929 season, Freitas became a member of the Sacramento Senators, the predecessor of the Solons.
While playing for two major league teams during the 1930s, Freitas compiled a won-loss record of 25-33.
He is recognized as the all-time winningest left-handed pitcher in minor league history.
Freitas, who won at least 20 games in nine different seasons, was inducted into the Pacific Coast League Hall of Fame and the Sacramento Athletic Hall of Fame, was named a member of the Pacific Coast League All-Century Team and was selected by the Society of American Baseball Research as the all-time best minor league pitcher.
Freitas returned to Sacramento and worked as a non-playing manager for the Solons in 1954 and 1955. He compiled a 282-win and 344-loss managerial record in 627 games.
Joe Marty
A Sacramento native and a product of Christian Brothers High School’s sports program during the late 1920s and early 1930s, Marty was born Joseph Anton Marty on Sept. 1, 1913. He received a three-sport scholarship in baseball, football and basketball from St. Mary’s College of California, where he studied and played sports in 1932 and 1933.
In 1934, the San Francisco Seals, a Double-A minor league baseball team of the Pacific Coast League, acquired the rights to the then-20-year-old Marty.
Marty’s third season with the Seals was so successful that he attracted the attention of major league teams through such statistics as a league best .359 batting average, 215 hits and 17 home runs.
His five seasons in the majors included World Series appearances, one of which occurred in an Oct. 8, 1938 game, in which he became the first Sacramento native to hit a home run in a World Series game.
Marty also enjoyed success as a Solons player for seven seasons, including the 1950 season when he held the role of player-manager.
As a businessman, Marty, who passed away on Oct. 4, 1984, operated his bar, Joe Marty’s, at 15th Street and Broadway in Land Park.
Max Baer
Another notable former athlete to be interred at St. Mary’s was Max Baer (1909-1959).
Born Maximillian Adelbert Baer, the Ancil Hoffman-managed Baer, who fought in 84 professional fights, was not only a capital city boxing legend, but he was also inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame in 1968, the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1984 and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1995.
Baer, who first trained in a gym on his father’s ranch, fought his first professional match at the Oak Park Arena in Stockton on May 16, 1929, when he knocked out Chief Caribou in the second round.
Although Baer, who was known for his charismatic personality and hard-hitting punches, had many great moments in his boxing career, his greatest achievement came on June 14, 1934, when he knocked out Primo Carnera at Madison Square Garden in New York to become the heavyweight champion of the world.
One of the fights that Baer is most known for is his June 13, 1935, 15-round defeat against James J. Braddock. The match is celebrated in the 2005 film, “Cinderella Man.”
More than a decade following his 1941 retirement from professional boxing, Baer described his Jack Dempsey-like approach to the sport during a Sacramento boxing party held at Christian Brothers High School.
Baer was quoted in The Sacramento Bee as telling attendees of the event that his favorite target was an opponent’s chin.
“Boxers are always looking for an advantage and try to slip over a quick punch in the early rounds,” Baer said. “When a boxer is cold during the first or second rounds, a punch to the jaw will do a lot of damage.”
Earl D. Desmond

Among the notable people interred at St. Mary’s Cemetery was former California Senator Earl D. Desmond of Sacramento. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Among the notable people interred at St. Mary’s Cemetery was former California Senator Earl D. Desmond of Sacramento. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Also interred at St. Mary’s was former California Senator Earl D. Desmond of Sacramento.
A Sacramento native, Desmond, who was born on Aug. 26, 1895, attended Christian Brothers and Sacramento high schools.
While attending Santa Clara University, Desmond left the school to join the Navy during World War I.
Following the war, he worked as an agent for the Florin Fruit Exchange in the old town of Florin, and later operated a 2,000-acre ranch eight miles south of the town of Franklin.
Desmond, who married Sacramento native Edna Nicolaus in 1920, attended and graduated from the McGeorge College of Law (later renamed McGeorge School of Law). He was admitted to the bar in 1931.
Eventually, Desmond became the senior member of the law firm, Desmond, Miller and Artz.
He was elected to the California Assembly in 1934 to represent the 9th district.
A decade later, he was elected to the Senate. He was reelected in 1948, 1952 and 1956.
He also served as chairman of an interim committee on water projects. The committee’s activities included taking a role in the controversial north-south water issue.
Desmond, who many people have referred to as the “Father of Sac State,” authored the successful bill to bring a four-year college to the capital city.
Gov. Earl Warren signed this bill – Senate Bill 1221 – on July 1, 1947.
He was also involved in the efforts to relocate the State Fair from a site on Stockton Boulevard to its current Cal Expo site.
Additionally, Desmond served as the secretary of the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors, an elementary school and high school trustee, a member of the Native Sons of the Golden West, Elks Lodge No. 6, the Knights of Columbus and the Loyal Order of Moose.
Desmond, who had six children, was also past state president of the Fraternal Order of Eagles, past president of Sacramento Aerie No. 9 of the Eagles and past commander of American Legion Post No. 61.
Desmond passed away in his home at 5232 Marione Drive in Carmichael on May 25, 1958, a day after he had assisted in a fundraising drive for a proposed Catholic seminary in Galt.
In commenting about Desmond following the senator’s death, Gov. Goodwin J. Knight said, “California has lost one of its outstanding legislators in the passing of Earl D. Desmond. He gave unstintingly of his energies for the benefit of his state and community, and many of our most important statutes and programs today were the product of his sponsorship. He will be sorely missed by his colleagues and constituents alike.”

Charles C. Jensen Botanical Garden is a community treasure

The 3.5-acre Charles C. Jensen Botanical Garden at 8520 Fair Oaks Blvd. is open daily from 8 a.m. to dusk. Photo by Lance Armstrong

The 3.5-acre Charles C. Jensen Botanical Garden at 8520 Fair Oaks Blvd. is open daily from 8 a.m. to dusk. Photo by Lance Armstrong

With the seclusion of Carmichael’s Charles C. Jensen Botanical Garden, it can be helpful from time to time to remind – and in some cases to introduce – readers of this publication about this community treasure.
Located at 8520 Fair Oaks Blvd., this 3.5-acre public garden certainly goes unnoticed by many people who pass through this section of Carmichael.
Known for its wide variety of plants and trees, manicured lawns, walkways, benches, and bridges over a small creek bed, the garden has roots – pun intended – dating back to the late 1950s.
It was during that era that Charles C. Jensen purchased the property, which then had a much different appearance, as it mainly consisted of blackberry bushes and pasture land.
Other features of the property at that time were a creek, redwoods and heritage oaks.
Charles, who had previously worked in the produce business, was at that time enjoying his retirement with his wife, Marguerite.
With his dream in mind to create a garden that would be superior to the notable garden, which he had kept in Oakland, Charles began this mission by having truck and trailer loads of trees, shrubs and plants delivered to his new property from his garden in Oakland.
On the Carmichael property, he cleared away blackberry bushes, and gradually made other additions, including the planting of more than 200 species of camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons and eight varieties of dogwood.
It was also on the same site that Charles dug a pond, which attracted a variety of birds, including mallards, blue herons, pheasants and California quail.
Additionally, wildlife such as raccoons, possums and gray squirrels found Charles’ property to be a desirable place to reside.
The residential living situation for Charles and Marguerite was somewhat primitive when they moved to the property, as they temporarily resided in a tent.
A shed was later added to the property, as a house was being constructed at the site.
The idea of inviting the public to visit the garden is certainly not a new idea.
During the garden’s early days, a “visitors welcome” sign was placed at the entrance to the property.
With his openness to share his garden with others, Charles welcomed garden club members who arrived in buses from as far away as Fresno and Oregon.
Furthermore, the garden became an educational destination that far exceeded simply observing plants and trees, as Charles would often give lectures and lead tours of his garden.
By the early 1970s, about 5,000 people were visiting Charles’ garden on an annual basis.
And although some people made attempts to pay him for his hospitality in allowing the public to visit his property, Charles never accepted a penny for this community contribution.
Charles not only displayed plants and flowers, but he also sold them to visitors. And at times, he even gifted plants and flowers, including the long-stemmed, cut camellias, which he sent to first lady Pat Nixon.
Inside their home, the Jensens proudly displayed a framed “thank you” letter that was signed by Pat Nixon.
Charles passed away at the age of 80 on July 30, 1974, and the Carmichael Recreation and Park District board considered purchasing the garden site, which was in jeopardy of being subdivided.
Instead, the board bought itself time on June 12, 1975, when it voted, 3-1, to lease the garden for $500 per month, with an option for either party to cancel the arrangement.
Dean Melvin, the district’s administrator at that time, told the Carmichael Courier that he hoped that sufficient local support could be acquired through service clubs and other community clubs, so that the garden could be purchased rather than leased.
The nonprofit Charles C. Jensen Botanical Garden, Inc. was formed by a group of concerned local citizens who were interested in saving the garden.
Officers of the corporation’s committee were Ahmed Mohamed, president; Florence March, vice president and treasurer; and Tony Asaro, secretary.
The board of directors of the committee, which met every Monday night, included Martha Campbell, Robert Hamilton, Warner March, Gloria Smith and Jeannie Young.
Hundreds of local residents made donations, many of which ranged from $1 to $25.
With a deadline of one year to purchase the property – originally for $95,000, but reappraised at $72,500 – the group raised only $6,000 in 11 months.
In response to the situation, Bill Bryan, financial administrator for the garden saving organization’s committee, sought monetary assistance through county Supervisor Fred Wade, the Aerojet Liquid Rocket Co. and banks.
According to the July 14, 1976 edition of The Green Sheet, Wade contributed $30,000, Aerojet assisted with a $15,000 interest-free loan and the banks made up the difference just prior to the park saving corporation’s deadline to complete the purchase of the property.
As the key moment of a July 7, 1976 ceremony held at the garden to celebrate the saving of the garden from private development, Charles’ son, Dr. Ralph Jensen, accepted a check for the property. Without that purchase, the land would have been auctioned off to the highest bidder during the following day.
Following the donation, Bryan, who during that era referred to the garden as a “little Capitol Park,” told The Sacramento Union that the committee would hold the land title until the park district could purchase the property.
In the meantime, the district renewed its lease on the property and the park saving organization continued to raise funds for the land.
On March 17, 1977, the district’s board of directors voted, 4-1, to purchase the site from the corporation. Margaret Meyer was the lone director to vote against the purchase.
In a 1977 letter written by Wade to the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors, he mentioned that he had made a personal loan of $15,000 to the corporation, and would thus not be participating in the county board’s vote to consider the district’s request to purchase the garden property.
Although it was thought by many people to be a routine matter, the board of supervisors’ vote on the district’s resolution of intention to purchase the land was delayed from March 21 to April 4, 1977.
The delay in the voting occurred as a result of a minority report presented by Meyer in opposition of the project.
During the delay, the report, which was made without prior knowledge of the other supervisors, was reviewed by the county board.
The board later voted in favor of the park district’s motion to purchase the garden property, and the district soon afterward completed its transaction to buy the land.
Through the district’s continued ownership of the garden property, coupled with the many hours provided by volunteers of the Friends of the Jensen Botanical Garden, Charles C. Jensen’s dream continues to be kept alive.
The garden is open free-of-charge to the public daily from 8 a.m. to dusk.

Artist speaks about “The Great Wall of Carmichael,” other works

One of Hugh Gorman’s most notable works is his 100-foot-long mural at Carmichael Park. Photo by Lance Armstrong

One of Hugh Gorman’s most notable works is his 100-foot-long mural at Carmichael Park. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Many Carmichael residents are undoubtedly familiar with “The Great Wall of Carmichael,” with its colorful, 100-foot-long mural, which sits near a portion of the Fair Oaks Boulevard side of Carmichael Park.
But a far greater number of these people are unaware of many details about the wall and its artwork.

Hugh Gorman stands inside of his art studio in Fair Oaks. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Hugh Gorman stands inside of his art studio in Fair Oaks. Photo by Lance Armstrong

In an interview with this publication last week, 71-year-old Fair Oaks resident Hugh Gorman, the artist who painted this notable mural, explained details about this wall and other highlights of his life.
In reflecting upon being hired to create the Carmichael Park mural, which was officially dedicated in 2003, Hugh said, “There was an ad in the paper, (which read): ‘Wanted: Mural design for SMAC – Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission.’ I applied for it, and it was to be a retaining wall in front of Denny’s (restaurant), which is where Fair Oaks (Boulevard) T’s into Manzanita (Avenue) and Fair Oaks (Boulevard). So, I really wanted that job. I’d already done this mural here (at the Fair Oaks Veterans Memorial Amphitheater in Village Park in Fair Oaks) and I’d done some other murals. I like trying to explain a community on a wall. So, I tried really hard to get (the job), and I did. And I guess there were 13 people who applied.”

Hugh Gorman relaxes with his dog behind his art studio. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Hugh Gorman relaxes with his dog behind his art studio. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Although he was excited to begin his mural project in front of Denny’s, Hugh recalled how his work at that site was suddenly halted.
Hugh said that he received a call from the locally renowned developer George Tsakopoulos (1927-2009), who told him that he did not want a mural in front of his property, which is presently owned by Carmichael Village, LLC.
Following this phone call, Tsakopoulos, Hugh noted, took further action with the matter, and the project was eventually abandoned at that site.
In the process of attempting to relocate the project, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors, according to the recollections of Hugh, agreed to keep the project moving forward at a new site.
Hugh noted that, with its delays, the project took five years to complete. But he added that he was required to finish the wall in one season.
And overall, he remembers the project as being 90 to 95 percent well received by the community.
After the mural was completed at the park in 2002, a dedication for the wall was held that year. A much better attended, second dedication was held in non-rainy weather during the following spring.
After being asked to describe the details of his mural, Hugh said, “I tried to do the period of human existence, which is probably 10,000 years, more or less. And I tried to do that from the American River, because I think Carmichael has forgotten it even has the American River as one of its boundaries.”

Hugh Gorman’s painting of Ishi is one of his personal favorite paintings that he has created. Gorman refers to the painting as “My Mona Lisa.” Photo by Lance Armstrong

Hugh Gorman’s painting of Ishi is one of his personal favorite paintings that he has created. Gorman refers to the painting as “My Mona Lisa.” Photo by Lance Armstrong

The largest detail of the entire mural at Carmichael Park is the word, “Carmichael,” which stretches across the upper, mid-section of this grand artwork.
This bas-relief mural, which was created with an acrylic polymer on formed concrete, is divided into five panels, with the first panel showing the flow of the river as it makes its way toward the San Francisco Bay.
In continuing his explanation of the mural, Hugh said, “It’s all about how do you paint something 100 feet long and 7 feet high and not have it look like a big old line. (Avoiding making the mural appear as a straight line) was the best part about what I did, I think, or one of the best things.”
And in speaking further about the mural, Hugh said, “This is that (pedestrian and bicycle) bridge at (River Bend) Park. And we’re going through time, and if you look at the people in the rafts, you’ll see this is earlier and this is later. And that’s me. I’m in there in an inner tube with a beer bottle tied to a string. And you’ll see that everybody (in the rafts) is white at first and then pretty soon, they start sprinkling different colors as the population changes.”
And while pointing to different areas of the mural, Hugh said, “Here’s the Indians right here, and even right here. And here’s the Gold Rush right here. Well, here’s a Jeep from 1945 that marks the end of World War II. And right here are people fishing for salmon, and the way they used to fish for salmon was they just used a pitch fork. And then here you’ll see a family sitting around and the kids playing in the water. They’ve got their little picnic out. And then you go over to the Indian times, and there they are. There are families sitting around and the kids are playing in the water. So, nothing has changed, except for the color of their skin.”
Images of animals, including fish and turtles, are also present in the mural.

Hugh Gorman enjoys one of his favorite pastimes, swinging on a rope swing in his backyard. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Hugh Gorman enjoys one of his favorite pastimes, swinging on a rope swing in his backyard. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Although the area’s well-known Deterding family had permission to use dredgers, they never did dredge the river.
In commenting about the image of a dredger in that area of his mural, Hugh said, “I put it in anyway, because it’s such a part of our history, but from the other side of the river.”
Another feature of the mural, which Hugh spoke about was an image of a historic river vessel.
“I was reading about all these different things and I read about this boat, called the Dixie, which ran the river from Folsom and back (during the 19th century),” Hugh said. “It would go up to the Negro Bar and bring rocks and wood back.”
A feature of the wall that often goes unnoticed is a heart-shaped rock that sits on top of the wall.
Hugh said that he found the rock in his backyard while he was building his art studio.
“Phil Evans, whose a sculptor, drilled holes (in the rock) for me and put (metal) rods in there and then I just set it in the concrete (to secure it),” Hugh said.
Because the Sacramento County Historical Society thought so highly about Hugh’s mural at Carmichael Park, the organization created a new award category, called “Heritage through Art,” and awarded him the first award in that category.

One of Hugh Gorman’s many paintings is of a tree with exposed roots on the bluffs above the Fair Oaks Bridge. Photo by Lance Armstrong

One of Hugh Gorman’s many paintings is of a tree with exposed roots on the bluffs above the Fair Oaks Bridge. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Anyone who has had the opportunity to visit Hugh’s studio can view his variety of paintings.
One of these paintings is of Ishi, who was the last surviving member of the Yahi Native American tribe. Hugh refers to this painting as “My Mona Lisa.”
During his interview for this article, Hugh also mentioned Donor Plaza, the area near the Fair Oaks Bridge that he designed in commemoration of those who contributed to the project to purchase bluffs over the American River.
“That land was being threatened to be taken over, so I had been fighting that for a long time, this way and that way,” Hugh said. “Eventually, it turned into, ‘Let’s just buy those lots and then the deal is done. And that’s what happened. I designed a thing that included three benches, and we used bricks for steps. We had 350 bricks. So, that’s an environmental art piece that’s well worth looking at, and it’s real neat.”
He also noted that he enjoys carving artistic creations, playing a keyboard, swinging on his backyard rope swing, swimming in cold water in various places in California and collecting vintage automobiles.
Hugh, who was born in St. Helena, Calif. and was one of the five children of Clyde and Grace Gorman, said that he developed a very early interest in art.
“As a little kid, they gave me clay and building blocks and I’d make little faces out of the clay,” said Hugh, who moved to Folsom in 1945 and to the area around today’s American River College in 1946. “I sort of knew how to draw real early on. Everybody always said, ‘Oh, you’re so luck, because you know what you’re going to do. You’re going to be an artist.’ And that was implanted early on, and people hired me to do portraits at 6, 7 years old. Some people are born with different things and I was born as (an artist). My dad was a writer, so he was a creative guy.”
Hugh, who attended elementary school in Carmichael, later took art classes at the old La Sierra High School before making his way to the University of California, Berkeley.
In deciding upon a career choice, Hugh initially began studying architecture in college, then he opted to become a sculptor, and lastly, he studied landscape architecture.
Despite receiving his degree at UC Berkeley in landscape architecture in 1967, Hugh said that he still always saw himself as a painter.
He began his post-college working years as a landscape architect in Santa Barbara.
Today, Hugh resides in a century-old house in Fair Oaks with his wife, Teri.
In explaining his passion for art, Hugh said, “Basically, you’ve got a story to tell. You’ve got something that you think is going to make the world a better place or at least make some understanding or describe what’s beautiful here that maybe you don’t know about. Whatever your point is, you’re telling a story. I’m self driven pretty much. My imagination works real quick.”
And in demonstrating his sense of humor at the end of the interview, Hugh, after being asked how he would like to be remembered in the future, responded, “Well, what’s the difference?”

Learn to fly at Executive Airport!

EVA Airlines, Taiwan’s second largest airline, has identified Executive Airport as the potential location for a U.S. based flight training school. The long-term plan for this exciting development is the construction of a new flight training facility.

The project could result in a $13-$15 million investment in Executive Airport, including classrooms, a cafeteria, dormitory housing for students, a maintenance hangar, shade hangars and a private apron. This development is consistent with the Draft Airport Master Plan.

Prior to development and operation of the new facility, EVA must obtain certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate a flight training facility.

To support the curriculum development effort and establish an immediate Sacramento presence EVA is proposing to lease building 10318 at Executive Airport. The lease, which was on the agenda to be considered by the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors, passed on March 12, 2013.

“This type of private investment at Executive Airport is a long-term shot in the arm for our local economy,” said District 1 Supervisor Jimmie Yee. “Sacramento County is committed to exploring these types of projects to ensure a bright future for Executive.”

If the FAA approves the EVA curriculum, training for the first 12-15 students would begin in early 2014. The EVA training program will use modern 2- to 4-seat aircraft similar to other types of airplanes that operate at Executive Airport.

“This is the first step in what will be a long-term partnership,” said Interim Director of
Airports Rob Leonard. “Over the next few months, our staff will work with EVA and other stakeholders on a ground lease and other details for development of the project.”

EVA Air offers a global flight network, with connections to more than 60 cities in Asia,
China, Europe, North America and Oceania. EVA’s parent company, The Evergreen Group, owns a diverse set of companies that include land and air transportation companies and an international chain of hotels.

Sacramento County Airport System, a department of Sacramento County, is responsible for planning, developing, operating and maintaining four of the County’s airports: Sacramento International Airport, Executive Airport, Mather Airport and Franklin Field. The Airport System provides more than $4 billion in annual economic impact to the Sacramento region. For more information, visit

Indigents to be remembered at East Lawn Memorial Park Oct. 20

In recognition of the indigents who died in Sacramento County during the past 160-plus years, an event sponsored by the Sacramento County Cemetery Advisory Commission, in conjunction with East Lawn Memorial Park, will be held at 4300 Folsom Blvd. this Saturday, Oct. 20 at 10 a.m.
According to the Webster’s New World Dictionary of American English, the word, “indigent,” is defined as “in poverty; poor, needy; destitute; (or) lacking; destitute (of).”
This dedication is the first of three annual events during October, which was designated as Cemetery Appreciation Month through the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors on the request of the county cemetery commission.
All three events will focus on remembering these aforementioned indigents, who at times have been referred to as “county burials.”
In speaking about this Saturday’s event, Dr. Bob LaPerriere, co-chair of the commission, said, “We should not stereotype an indigent. A common perception is that they are a homeless or street person. However, they could be someone affected by the Great Depression or the recent recession and were not able to afford the cost of a burial, or some may be ‘lost souls’ who left home and were separated from their families and had no one to attend to their final disposition. This situation was probably common during the Gold Rush.”
LaPerriere, who will give a speech at the Oct. 20 event, related an example of a wealthy person who was buried as an indigent.
“One of the ‘indigents’ buried in the Sacramento Historic City Cemetery discovered one of the richest silver mines in Nevada, but was buried as an indigent when his family was not available to pay for his interment,” LaPerriere said.
These October events are a continuation of the commission’s efforts, which began in 2003 with the creation and dedication of five memorials to honor more than 15,000 indigents who have no individual grave markers.
The Oct. 20 event will focus on an area at East Lawn Memorial Park that was provided to the county at minimal cost for interment of indigents from 1932 during the Depression to 1955. The total number of interments in that section is 703.
Alan Fisher, president of East Lawn Memorial Parks and Mortuaries, said, “We’re of the opinion that every individual deserves a respectable, permanent memorial, a resting place that is protected, that is cared for, and we think that regardless of circumstances in one’s life, we want to honor those who have gone before us and we’ve kind of established East Lawn as a place where that can occur.”
And in sharing his feelings about the indigents burial area at East Lawn, Craig Peterson, manager of East Lawn Memorial Park, said, “East Lawn wants to provide a respectable setting, so we’ve placed sod in that (indigents) area, we’ve cleaned the area and now we’re just happy to have the public come and see where these folks who are not forgotten, where their resting place is being cared for and respected, as well.”
Among the people who have a direct connection to an indigent burial in the capital city is Sacramento resident Nola Williams.
In an exclusive interview for this article, Nola shared a personal story regarding one of her deceased family members.
“About 16 years ago, I started work on a family tree,” Nola said. “I knew nothing about my grandfather (who was known as Ray Williams, although that was not his given birth name), my father’s father, when I started this project, as I was born in the later part of 1964 and my grandfather (who was born in 1888) died in the early part of 1964 and no one discussed my grandfather.
“When I learned that my grandfather was buried as an indigent and that he had no headstone, I started a quest to find out where, specifically, he was buried. I was determined to purchase a headstone for my grandfather to honor him as someone who was loved and who was important, and this was the only way that I knew to honor him.”
Nola said that her work to discover the exact location of her grandfather was not a simple task.
Although she knew that her grandfather had been buried in the old Bellview Cemetery on Elder Creek Road, she said that she had a difficult time discovering his plot number, as the cemetery was in poor condition and she could not initially find records for the cemetery.
“I took a week off work at the time in order to visit various county offices in my search to find my grandfather’s plot number in the cemetery, as well as a corresponding plot map,” Nola said. “At the time, no one could help me with this information. I was told that the cemetery had been bought and sold a few times and that the current owners had filed bankruptcy and apparently took all of the cemetery records.
“Earlier this year, when visiting (the Sacramento Historic City Cemetery) to locate the burial location of my great-grandfather, my aunt and I visited the information office for information regarding my great-grandfather. During this visit, I inquired about any possible Bellview Cemetery records, since this is where my grandfather is buried.
“To my utter amazement, one of the ladies in the cemetery office was able to produce a listing, which gave my grandfather’s plot number.”
Unfortunately, Nola still did not have a map of the burial locations of the Bellview Cemetery. Consequently, she was still unable to locate the precise burial site of her grandfather.
Nola said that her mission to find her grandfather’s burial plot was eventually aided by LaPerriere, who provided her with a map of the cemetery’s plots.
“Using (the map and) existing headstones in this area, and with the assistance of Bob (LaPerriere), my father and my brother, we pieced together the ‘grids,’ if you will, of the layout of the indigent area of the cemetery, and we were able to determine where my grandfather is buried,” Nola said. “The next critical piece was the headstone. Once that was ordered and arrived, it was time to, in my opinion, put my grandfather to rest properly. Permission was obtained from the owners of the cemetery to have a headstone placed, a local tombstone company laid the headstone I had made, and Matt Smith, a pastor with (The Table at Central) United Methodist Church (in Sacramento), provided a blessing of my grandfather’s grave with myself and several family members in attendance (on Aug. 8, 2012). While I can’t change (the) fact that my grandfather was buried (with remains of a person below him and remains of another person on top of him) or that he was buried without proper recognition, I finally feel that my grandfather is at peace and laid to rest properly.”
Nola expressed much gratitude for the volunteer at the Sacramento Historic City Cemetery, LaPerriere and Matt Smith of the United Methodist Church for their assistance in her efforts.
When asked about any other plans that the commission might have in regard to deceased indigents, LaPerriere said, “We are hoping to eventually have listings on the commission’s Web site of locations where indigents have been buried and also a listing of their names when available.”
LaPerriere added that it is very gratifying for himself and the commission to honor the indigents or “lost souls” of Sacramento County.
“I’ve been involved with several families, helping them to locate the final resting place of a relative who was buried as an indigent,” LaPerriere said. “I was always impressed by the impact and meaning the discovery of the location of their relative meant to them. Many (local indigents) were fathers or mothers, brothers or sisters and may still have relatives looking for them. These lost souls often were alone at death – a time when we all hope for the support of our loved ones. Please join us on Oct. 20 in paying respect to Sacramentans who have been forgotten for decades.”

Winning design for first ‘I Voted’ sticker contest recognized by Board of Supervisors

Sacramento County voters will get a newly designed “I Voted” sticker after they cast their ballot on June 5. The winning sticker, created by an area high school student in the County’s first “I Voted” sticker contest, is also featured on the cover of the June 2012 sample ballot booklet.

THEY’RE WINNERS – and they believe in voting. Student winners of the county’s first “I Voted” sticker contest were recognized by the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors on May 8. Left to right, Jill LaVine, Darian Rosengard, Kevin Thao, Alicia Chan and County Supervisor Don Nottoli. / Photo courtesy, Sacramento County Voter Registration and Elections

THEY’RE WINNERS – and they believe in voting. Student winners of the county’s first “I Voted” sticker contest were recognized by the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors on May 8. Left to right, Jill LaVine, Darian Rosengard, Kevin Thao, Alicia Chan and County Supervisor Don Nottoli. / Photo courtesy, Sacramento County Voter Registration and Elections

I Voted Proof rev copy
I Voted Proof rev copy
First place winner Alicia Chan, C.K. McClatchy High School and runner ups Kevin Thao, Grant Union High School and Darian Rosengard, Rio Americano High School were recognized by the Board of Supervisors on May 8.

The Department of Voter Registration and Elections invited students from five area high schools to design a new “I Voted” sticker for the June Statewide Primary Election. Participating high schools were Rio Americano, Galt, Grant, McClatchy and San Juan. The response was overwhelming, with 76 entries submitted.

“The goal of the contest was to engage high school students’ talent, while at the same time encouraging their participation in a civic activity by creating a new ‘I Voted’ sticker for the voters of Sacramento County,” said Registrar of Voters Jill LaVine.

The artwork was judged by former Sacramento Mayor Anne Rudin; Kim Alexander, president and founder of the California Voter Foundation; and Debbie O’Donoghue, deputy secretary of state, voter education and outreach.

Final resting place of city’s founder located in Sacramento’s oldest cemetery

Since the early years of Sacramento, one of the city’s premier landmarks has been the city cemetery at the modern day address of 1000 Broadway. And considering that it was the Swiss-born John Augustus Sutter, Jr. who founded the city and donated the initial 10 acres of this Land Park area cemetery to the city for burial purposes on about Dec. 1, 1849, it seems fitting that his final resting place sits just inside the main gates of this cemetery, which is the city’s oldest existing cemetery.
The final resting place of the city’s founder, John Augustus Sutter, Jr., is one of the Sacramento Historic City Cemetery’s most notable gravesites. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Lance Armstrong

The final resting place of the city’s founder, John Augustus Sutter, Jr., is one of the Sacramento Historic City Cemetery’s most notable gravesites. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Lance Armstrong

Nine years following the landing of his father, John Augustus Sutter, Sr., on the south bank of the American River – an historic moment that led to the construction of Sutter’s Fort – John Sutter, Jr. reunited with his father at the fort.

Less than two months after his arrival, John Sutter, Jr. announced that he would build a new town, called Sacramento City – the original name of Sacramento – along the Sacramento River.

Although John Sutter, Jr., who was the eldest of five children, passed away at the age of 70 in 1897, efforts to have his remains buried in Sacramento was no simple procedure.

Furthermore, another 66 years passed before his remains were buried in the capital city.

This fact is so, since the younger John Sutter died and was originally buried in Acapulco, Mexico, where he resided after leaving Sacramento in July 1850.

In Acapulco, Mexico, John Sutter, Jr. became a respected civic leader and a representative of the American government. He served as American consul to Acapulco from 1870 to 1887.

Although John Sutter, Jr. had been buried in Acapulco, a major drive to have his remains reinterred in Sacramento began in 1963 as a result of the news that the St. Francis Cemetery, where he was buried, was being moved to a different location due to a redevelopment project in that area.

This drive included the creation of the John A. Sutter, Jr. Memorial Committee of Sacramento – a group consisting of Sacramento historians and civic leaders – and the support of the

John Augustus Sutter, Jr. is shown in this image from an historic painting. / Image courtesy, California State Library

John Augustus Sutter, Jr. is shown in this image from an historic painting. / Image courtesy, California State Library

Sacramento County Historical Society.

Additionally benefitting the relocation of the remains was the support of the project by heirs of John Sutter, Jr., who was the father of 12 children, all of whom were born in Mexico.

By the time that the relocation project began, only one of these children – Anna (Sutter) Young – was living.

Also in support of the project was Ricardo Sutter Morlett, a great-grandson of Sacramento City’s founder. Ironically, Morlett happened to be serving as the mayor of Acapulco at the time.

Another great-grandson of John Sutter, Jr., Art Sutter, Jr., was locally pledging his support, since he had then-recently moved to the Sacramento area to join a mortgage firm.

Antonio Islas, Mexican consul in Sacramento, also expressed his support of the relocation project.

During the process of obtaining full approval and arrangements for the relocation of the remains, efforts were also made to select a new burial site.

In addition to the city cemetery, Sutter’s Fort, the embarcadero area of Old Sacramento and the city plaza – today’s Cesar Chavez Plaza – were among the proposed sites.

After months of deliberations, complete approval for the re-interment was obtained and arrangements were made for the reburial in the city cemetery.

Sacramento newspapers announced on February 26, 1964 that the city’s founder would be reburied in the city cemetery on March 11, 1964 at 11 a.m.

It was also reported that the relocation of these remains would be temporary, as they would later be exhumed and reburied once more; this time in the West End section of the city following the redevelopment of Old Sacramento. These plans, however, were eventually abandoned.

The remains of John Sutter, Jr. were transported from Acapulco aboard the USS Leonard F. Mason, and after the Navy ship’s arrival in Long Beach, these remains were then flown via a U.S. Navy plane, which arrived at Municipal Airport – today’s Executive Airport – on Monday, March 9, 1964 at 12:30 p.m.

Two days later at 10:30 a.m., a procession left the Clark, Booth and Yardley funeral home at 917 H St. and made its way to the cemetery.

Graveside services were conducted at 11 a.m. at the city cemetery by the Rev. Noel F. Moholy of the St. Francis Catholic Church.

Among those in attendance at the ceremony were: Islas, J. Studer, Swiss consul general in San Francisco, Fred A. Barbaria of the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors, City Councilman Albert Talkin and descendants of John Sutter, Jr., his daughter Anna Young, his grandchildren, Art Sutter, Jr., Reginald Sutter, Jr., Alba (Sutter) Robinson, Dolores (Sutter) Kason, Gloria (Sutter) Parson and Nicholas Sutter, and his great-grandchildren, Ricardo and Marco Morlett.

Pallbearers at the services were memorial committee members, Frank Christy, Raymond Momboisse, Lee Richardson and Miles Snyder.

A memorial luncheon was held at the Mansion Inn – now Clarion Hotel Mansion Inn – at 16th and H streets following the services.

In September 1967, as a response to Anna (Sutter) Young’s expressed disappointment with her father’s 24-inch by 24-inch, flat, marble marker at the cemetery, the Sacramento City Historical Landmarks Commission suggested that a more appropriate marker be placed at the cemetery.

The suggestion led to the installation of a much larger, black granite marker at the site. This memorial marker, which also incorporates the original Mexican cemetery marker, was dedicated on Saturday, Oct. 12, 1968 at 11 a.m.

Anna (Sutter) Young and James A. Brown, Jr., chairman of the landmarks commission, unveiled the marker during the brief dedication ceremony, which was followed by a no-host luncheon at the Mansion Inn.

The ceremony was a cherished moment, as well as a timely moment for Anna (Sutter) Young, since she passed away at the age of 81 in a San Francisco hospital only 15 months later.

Services for Anna (Sutter) Young, who was buried alongside her father, were held at the city cemetery on January 27, 1970.

Dr. Bob LaPerriere, who was involved in establishing the committee to preserve the city cemetery and is among the many locals who appreciate efforts that were made to reinter the remains of John Sutter, Jr. in Sacramento, explained what it means to him to view the gravesite of the city’s founder at the city cemetery.

“A jolt of historic stimulation comes whenever I enter the gates to the Sacramento Historic City Cemetery at 10th and Broadway,” LaPerriere said. “Walking past the gravesite of John Sutter Jr., who founded the city of Sacramento as we know it today, and also donated the first acreage to establish the city cemetery, is a great reminder of the 150-plus years of the wonderful, historic heritage that Sacramento offers.”

The final resting place of John Sutter, Jr., as well as the gravesites of many other early, prominent residents of the city, can be visited at the city cemetery daily, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the exception of Wednesdays, Thursdays and city holidays.

ARNHA takes control of Effie Yeaw Nature Center

The American River Natural History Association is off and running in its “Perils of Pauline” rescue mission with the beloved Effie Yeaw Nature Center.

The Effie Yeaw Nature Center, located at 2850 San Lorenzo Way in Carmichael, is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. (Photo courtesy)
The Effie Yeaw Nature Center, located at 2850 San Lorenzo Way in Carmichael, is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. (Photo courtesy)
Last spring, the financially struggling Sacramento County Board of Supervisors served notice that it was cutting off funding of the Effie Yeaw Nature Center, located at 2850 San Lorenzo Way in Carmichael. It appeared that the 34-year-old nature center might shut down, but Sacramento County officials invited four local non-profit organizations, including ARNHA, to submit proposals to take it over. With just three weeks notice, only ARNHA, submitted a bid, and the county accepted it.

Now comes the hard part. From a volunteer-driven support group, ARNHA has transformed itself into a full-fledged business operation, responsible for meeting a payroll, buying insurance and overseeing popular nature programs for young and old.

The ARNHA Board of Directors elected an advisory committee headed by past president Greg Voelm to oversee the nature center on behalf of the board. Others on the committee are past presidents Carol Doersch, Noah Baygell, and Lou Heinrich, along with Betsy Weiland, Liz Williamson, and David Wade. The board also elected longtime EYNC Director Marilee Flannery as executive director. At its peak in 2008, the Effie Yeaw Nature Center staff consisted of five full-time and 20 part-time employees. It has just 10 part-time employees under the new management.

Normally ARNHA gave between $40,000 and $70,000 to Sacramento County to assist in operating the Effie Yeaw Nature Center. But now, ARNHA is budgeting $307,000 for EYNC in 2010-11.

“ARNHA must now find enough funding from our friends to support this marvelous resource,” said ARNHA President Larry Washington. “We will be soliciting grants from major corporations, but our major donors are the individuals, some who have been there for us over the past 30 years and others who are new friends.”

Meanwhile, Effie Yeaw Nature Center programs and other activities are moving ahead, but at a reduced pace. The center is closed to the public Mondays (except Monday holidays) and Tuesdays, but open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Because almost no one visits the Effie Yeaw Nature Center on days with extreme heat or extreme cold, or during high wind gusts, it will close those days, allowing staff to work on fundraising and other projects. Please call (916) 489-4918 to confirm that the center is open before you visit.

And numerous cultural, educational and life science and social science programs for teachers and their students will be available for the 2010-11 school year. Please check for details.

These and other programs can only be offered with greatly increased volunteer help. Volunteer Coordinator Jamie Washington is actively recruiting animal care assistants, docents, habitat restoration and landscape assistants, clerical and computer assistants, special event assistants, and trail walkers. “Trail walkers” is a new category for who volunteer can answer questions and generally act as EYNC hosts in the 77-acre nature preserve. Join the volunteers and become a crucial part of the Nature Center. For more information, please email Jamie Washington at

So now, mark your calendar for the evening of Friday, September 10. That’s the date of a “Grand Opening” celebration of ARNHA’s transformation and the Effie Yeaw Nature Center’s new era. Further details will be published here soon.

Peter Hayes is an associate ARNHA board member. This story originally appeared on the official American River Natural History Association Web site,