For some locals, it might be difficult to imagine a full-fledged brewery operating in the Land Park area. But long before there were such destination places as William Land Park and the Sacramento Zoo, this then-rural area was home to the Sutterville Brewery.
This brewery, which was established just south of today’s zoo in a two-story, brick building with a basement in 1861, was originally owned by the Prussia-born Martin P. Arenz (1826-1949).
The brewery structure, which was constructed 160 years ago in what was then the town of Sutterville, was initially occupied by a grocery store owned Robert H. Vance of San Francisco.
Arenz purchased both the building and its property from Vance for $1,500 in August 1861.
According to The Sacramento Union, in its June 15, 1872 edition, the brewery building measured 62 feet by 62 feet and stood on a 160-foot by 180-foot lot.
Among the improvements made to the premises during Arenz’s ownership of the brewery was an addition of a new roof.
On May 28, 1867, the Sutterville Brewery was among several local breweries that had their lager beer delivery wagons seized by revenue officers during their deliveries.
According to the following day’s edition of The Union, it was charged that these breweries “did not properly cancel the stamps in the manner required by the revenue law, but so contrived matters as to make one (revenue) stamp answer the purpose of many, thereby depriving Uncle Sam of his just and lawful dues.”
Arenz remained the brewery’s proprietor until September 1868, when he sold the business to Patrick H. Lyman for about $8,000.
A biography regarding Captain Frank Ruhstaller in the 1890 book, “An Illustrated History of Sacramento County, California,” recognizes Ruhstaller and Joseph Bechler as having owned interests in the brewery.
And in following the sequence of events presented in the book, Ruhstaller purchased an interest in the brewery in mid-October 1869.
The book also notes that Ruhstaller “was in a partnership there (at the Sutterville Brewery) with Bechler for seven or eight months.”
Another biography about Ruhstaller in the 1913 book, “History of Sacramento County, California,” mentions the following: “(Ruhstaller) bought an interest in the Sutterville Brewery, where he carried on a partnership with Joseph Bechler for seven months until the high water forced all work to cease.”
Both biographies mention that Ruhstaller continued working with local breweries before returning to his Swiss homeland for a short period of time in 1873.
No other historic accounts regarding Ruhstaller and Bechler holding interests in the Sutterville Brewery were discovered during research for this article, and there is no firm indication, based on research for this article, that Lyman was not involved in the ownership of the business from 1868 until the sale of the business in 1873.
A fire occurred at the brewery on Jan. 27, 1871. Flames were spotted on the roof of the drying room in the malt house.
The Union, in its Jan. 30, 1871 edition, noted: “Part of the Sutterville Brewery was discovered on fire, but which, by dint of strenuous efforts of the proprietor, Patrick Lyman, and his neighbors, was extinguished before much damage had occurred.”
In 1873, Fritz Futterer and Nicholas “Nick” Thielen became the new proprietors of the brewery.
In regard to this new ownership, The Union, on July 12, 1873, ran the following advertisement: “READ THIS! SUTTERVILLE BREWERY. This well-known brewery was purchased a few months ago by the undersigned, two experienced German brewers, and many improvements added thereto, and they are now able to supply the old customers, as well as new ones, and their friends generally, with the very best of beer in this market, in quantities to suit. THIELEN & FUTTERER.”
This partnership continued until February 1877, when Futterer sold his interest in the brewery to Thielen.
But well before this business change, half of the ownership of the brewery was offered for sale through an advertisement in editions of The Union in April and May 1876.
In part, the advertisement read: “One-half interest in the SUTTERVILLE BREWERY, finely improved and a well established business. Will be sold cheap. For full information, inquire of NICK THIELEN.”
Various non-brewery meetings were held at the brewery, including an April 25, 1878 meeting of residents of Swamp Land District No. 1. The purpose of the meeting was to make nominations for levee commissioner.
In being that a portion of Sacramento, including part of that district, experienced a major flood in 1878, several other very timely, levee-related meetings were held at the brewery around that time.
The 1880 book, History of Sacramento County, California, refers to the brewery, as follows: “This brewery is eighty-two feet long by forty-two feet wide (which are different dimensions than those given in the aforementioned 1872 Union article); employs four men, and has a capacity of fifteen barrels per day. Nicholas Thielen is the proprietor.”
The Union, in its Oct. 17, 1883 edition, reported the following: “Saturday evening (Oct. 13, 1883), a large party of ladies and gentlemen from Sacramento gave a surprise party to Nicholas Thielen, proprietor of the Sutterville Brewery. They were finely entertained. There was dancing and feasting until near morning.”
The operation of the Sutterville Brewery was only about a 22-year venture.
From Nov. 12 through Dec. 31, 1883, The Union ran the following advertisement: “FOR SALE – ON ACCOUNT OF THE removal of the brewery business of the Sutterville Brewery, the buildings and property of same are offered for sale on reasonable terms. Inquire of N. THIELEN, proprietor, or of CADWALADER & PARSONS.”
Nearly four months later, The Union, reported details regarding an auction, as follows: “REAL ESTATE AT AUCTION – Bell & Co. will sell at auction Tuesday, March 18, (1884), on the premises, at 11 a.m., the property of N. Thielen, known as the Sutterville Brewery, and about five acres of good land connected therewith. It includes the brick and frame buildings, barns, sheds, windmill, pump, tank with capacity of 4,500 gallons; underground pipes connecting with frame and brick buildings; large lot of fruit trees and shrubbery, etc. Sale positive. Terms, 10 percent on day of sale; balance when deed is made. Buildings open for inspection until the day of sale.”
The brewery auction, which The Union noted “should receive more than ordinary attention,” was postponed until the following Saturday.
However, for some reason, the auction did not occur until July 19, 1884, when Sheriff Alfred H. Estell sold at auction the brewery property and its buildings to the Germania Building and Loan Association of 1011 4th St. for $2,200. The brewery’s machinery was not included in the sale.
A grand opening for a new business, the Sutterville Garden, owned by William Emerson at the old brewery site, was held on Saturday evening, July 14, 1884. The event, which was free to the public, included music and dancing.
The property changed hands once again in 1890 and was reopened as the Mount View House. Owned by J. P. Melchior, who had previously owned a saloon at the southeast corner of 10th and S streets at the present day site of the Old Ironsides bar, the business advertised itself as featuring “the finest wines, liquors and cigars.”
In the Jan. 27, 1899 edition of The Union, it was noted that George Gray, who resided on Riverside Road (today’s Riverside Boulevard) “is now proprietor of the old Sutterville Brewery on the lane between Sutterville and Freeport Road.”
The two-story, brick Sutterville Brewery building was demolished in 1952, and occupying the site today is the Land Park Business Center at 1250 Sutterville Road.
For some locals, it might be difficult to imagine a full-fledged brewery operating in the Land Park area. But long before there were such destination places as William Land Park and the Sacramento Zoo, this then-rural area was home to the Sutterville Brewery.
Just as the indomitable Sacramento City was beginning to cope with and protect itself from the common natural disasters of flooding, man had a hand in placing new obstacles in the path of this growing city.
The Gold Rush brought population, prosperity and even the state Capitol to Sacramento, but it also resulted in new environmental challenges and a new source of flooding that ultimately led to dramatic changes in flood control.
These changes began with increasing the heights of the levees, filling in creeks and sloughs, rechanneling tributaries and expanding the breadth of the Sacramento River through the creation of weirs and bypasses.
The property and economic devastation of the flood of 1861-62 left the people of Sacramento with a feeling that nature and the rivers had done their worst. And then the unthinkable happened, as the American River rose to its highest level in 1867.
This same flood caused the Sacramento River and its many tributaries to overflow their newly created levees and destroy the hastily prepared dams and modifications that were put in by local districts and privates citizens.
These new high water marks established throughout the region called for a more coordinated flood control effort on the part of cities and agricultural areas within the Sacramento Valley.
One of the first big engineering endeavors was to take the big bend out of the west end of the American River that flowed into Sutter Lake, near the confluence of the American and Sacramento rivers. This is part of the current location of the Union Pacific railyard, which is located north of the California State Railroad Museum.
The rechanneling project began in 1864 and was completed four years later. As a result of this new channel, the American River met with the Sacramento River one mile further north. Even after raising the levees and rechanneling the American River, the city experienced another flood.
The citizenry was perplexed in how the rainfall could be less, the snowmelt could be slower, the levees could be higher and yet the river could still overflow its banks.
The answer to this conundrum was found in the very phenomenon that gave the city its existence.
Gold brought wealth, people, and then it brought floods.
As the easy to reach placer deposits of gold dried up and deep hard rock mining became expensive, the miners turned to water power to seek their fortunes.
Hydraulic mining was used in small scale ventures in the 1850s, but by the following decade and into the 1870s, huge companies used enormous water cannons known as monitors to demolish large hills and even small mountains in their quest for gold.
After the gold was removed, the rest of the detritus was sent into streams, which flowed into larger waterways that filled the channels of the Sacramento River and its tributaries.
It became apparent to the engineers and many others that it was not rising waters that were causing the floods, but it was instead rising river bottoms choking the channels, causing the flooding and impacting navigation.
According to the 1957 book, “The Geography of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, California,” by John Thompson, “By 1866, debris had ended the infamous side-by-side steamboat races along the Sacramento River.”
It also had a dramatic effect upon the farmers and their land, because the mining refuge left from the floods was not the same as the rich alluvium left by the natural annual rise and fall of the river that enriched the soil and increased production.
Instead what came down from the mines were rock fragments of varying sizes and elements. These waters carried mercury, cyanide and other poisons, which could sterilize the soil, kill crops and harm animals and even people.
Despite the obvious harm from hydraulic mining, the companies refused to halt or even limit this activity.
The hydraulic monitors allowed mine owners to hire a few men to perform work that once required hundreds of workers.
The friction created by this conflict of ideas caused a rift and debate among miners, farmers, environmentalists, navigation companies and recreationalists that lasted for decades.
Not everyone was going to be able to realize their objectives, so something would have to change.
The financially powerful mining industry and its strong political lobby was able to ignore the pleas of a concerned citizenry based on the concept that California and its Sacramento Valley were a state and a region born of the Gold Rush.
But as the waterways continued to fill with debris and mining slush, and levees failed and agricultural production decreased, it became apparent that channels, overflows and drains could not solve the problems created by hydraulic mining.
The unnatural flooding of the Sacramento River and its tributaries became a national, rather than a regional problem.
The mining interests were so powerful that they were able to defeat all legislative attempts to control the pollution and destruction. But 1878 became the proverbial “last straw.”
A city that had already endured several inundations and had gone to great lengths to protect itself from more flooding, once again found itself underwater, as Sacramento experienced another major flood on Feb. 1, 1878.
The 1880 book, “History of Sacramento County, California,” presented various details about this flood.
Included in the book were the following words: “At 2 o’clock on the morning of that day, a break was reported in the levee near Lovedall’s (sic) Ranch, on the Sacramento River, the city and Sutterville. Almost immediately thereafter, a section of the levee, some twelve feet in width, washed out, having been completed honey-combed by gophers. The noise of the torrent pouring through the crevasse could be heard distinctly at a great distance. (That evening), the Sacramento (River) was twenty-five feet, 2 inches above the low water mark, higher than ever before known.”
Sacramentans were tired of floods, tired of mining – which was no longer the center of economy – and tired of politics and politicians who thwarted meaningful attempts to control these unnatural inundations.
Concerned citizens found a way to circumvent the powerful mining lobby by controlling navigation rather than extraction to stop the devastation of the hydraulic mining. But it took another six years to accomplish.
How the city finally controlled the problem and one of the most exotic solutions of how Sacramento tried to deal with the problem will be covered in the next article of this series.
Editor’s Note: This is part three in a series about the history of the Sacramento River.
When presenting a history of the city’s rivers, it is important to not only provide details about major floods, but also measures that were made to combat potential floods.
The 1880 book, “History of Sacramento County, California,” notes that prior to the great flood of January 1850, “nothing had been attempted in the matter of protection from flood or high water.”
Capt. John Sutter and the Indians, who showed him where to build his fort, recognized that the proposed location for the new Sacramento City was in a natural flood plain that was regularly inundated in the winter months.
Flood control became an immediate concern of the citizenry and politicians.
The Saturday, Jan. 19, 1850 edition of the Placer Times included the following words: “A week ago last night, our city experienced one of the most terrific southeast storms known in this region, which had the effect of swelling the Sacramento (River) by Wednesday afternoon, so that the water commenced running over the slough on I Street, at various points between First and Third (streets). On Thursday morning, the entire city, within a mile of the embarcadero, was under water. The damage to merchandise and to buildings and the losses sustained by persons engaged in trade is very great – vast quantities of provisions and goods having been swept away by the rushing waters. The loss in livestock is almost incalculable; many persons have lost from 10 to 50 yoke of cattle each, and horses and mules have been carried down the stream in great numbers.”
It was obvious to all people concerned that flooding in the area needed to be stopped and the waters held at bay.
But there were some people who found a “gold lining” in the inundation.
The Times also reported in its Jan. 19, 1850 edition that “large numbers (of people) have been washing gold within the limits of our city during the week, without any great degree of success.”
It was also noted in the 1880 county history book that “waters had scarcely begun to recede from the city (following the January 1850 flood) when surveyors were employed to survey lines for and make a location of the proposed levee.”
A levee commission was established on Jan. 29, 1850 and one of the commissioners was Hardin Bigelow, who on April 1, 1850 became Sacramento’s first elected mayor, largely because of his support of building levees.
The need for building levees was immediate, but the funds for doing so were nonexistent.
Bigelow arranged for the city to borrow funds beyond the city’s $10,000 limit, and he also provided $6,000 from his personal assets.
With this money, the city was able to construct temporary embankments, which held off the anticipated second flood of 1850 and demonstrated the need and efficacy of levees.
On April 29, 1850, voters approved a special $250,000 tax assessment for a permanent levee that was built between September and December 1850.
The contract for the levee was given to Irwin, Gay & Co. on Sept. 6, 1850 and the labor began several days afterward.
Although the levee was not yet completed by Oct. 25, 1850, on that date, the San Francisco newspaper, the Daily Alta California referred to Sacramento City as “our sister, the Levee City.”
The levee, which commenced to the south at the high ground near Sutterville, ran for about nine miles along the northern and western boundaries of the city. And with this levee, the people of Sacramento City felt safe.
But less than a year and a half later – on March 7, 1852 – new raging waters broke through the sluice gate at Lake Sutter, breached the levee and once again inundated the city.
As a result, Sutter’s Fort, the knoll at the current site of Cesar Chavez Plaza and Poverty Ridge on the southeast side of the city stood as islands in a lake that in low spots reached 12 feet deep.
While once again the economic devastation was extensive, according to an article, titled “Sacramento defies the River: 1850-1878” by Marvin Brienes, “No lives were lost, and warnings before the levees gave way enabled many Sacramentans to remove their most valuable goods to high ground.”
Three days after the city was flooded, Mayor James Richmond Hardenbergh called for a new levee to be constructed on I Street, from the Front Street levee to 5th Street, from 5th Street along the edge of Lake Sutter and then to the levee of 1850, along the American River.
The proposal was adopted by the common council and this $50,000 project was completed after about two months of labor in November 1852.
Although local citizens were once again feeling safe in the Levee City, this feeling lasted only three weeks, as the American River levee was broken on Dec. 19, leaving a 40-foot-wide crevice.
Eventually, 150 feet of the levee was destroyed and Sacramento City was under water.
In its Dec. 25, 1852 edition, the Daily Alta California reported the following: “The water was running through Eighth Street, some six feet deep. Several lives were supposed to have been lost. One man was seen floating down the river on the top of his house. At the foot of L Street, a whole block is afloat; the Eagle Saloon is washed away and is floating round.”
As mentioned in the previous article of this series, on New Years Day 1853, the water level of the Sacramento River was 22 feet above the low water mark and two feet higher than the great flood of 1850.
By Jan. 2, 1853, floodwaters once again entered the heart of the city.
Frustrations mounted for the city’s “burned out and flooded citizens,” as one local man described the area’s residents.
In an early January 1853 letter to the editors of The Sacramento Union, the man wrote: “Our city government has been in operation nearly three years, has expended more than two hundred thousand dollars upon the levee, and very large sums for other purposes. Our taxes have been greater perhaps than those of any other city in the world; our city debt is now very large; and after all this taxation and expenditure, the city has not received a benefit commensurate with the costs. We have received nothing like a fair equivalent for our money.”
On July 29, 1853, a city ordinance “for widening, altering and improving the levee, and providing for the payment of the expense” was approved by the mayor and common council.
The cost was set at no more than $50,000 and the work, which was completed by the latter part of 1853, was paid for in scrip known as the “Levee Scrip.” The levee along Burns Slough at the eastern end of the city and down R Street was separate from this approximate sum and was paid for through a loan.
The levee system, which later underwent various improvements, proved to be a successful barrier against major floods in the city for several years. But that level of prosperity quickly changed on Dec. 9, 1861.
Editor’s Note: This is part one in a series about the history of the Sacramento River.
In being a city of two rivers, Sacramento has a history that is very much tied to each of these tributaries. And, undoubtedly, the river most directly associated with the Pocket area is the Sacramento River.
The Pocket area itself is partially bordered by this river and its levee, which has received much attention lately due to the controversy surrounding a city proposal to extend public recreation access along the river.
Certainly, no event in the Pocket’s history made the area’s residents more aware of the Sacramento River’s existence than the Edward’s Break – the devastating levee break that flooded about 10,000 acres in the Riverside-Pocket area in February 1904.
The significance of the Sacramento River in the city’s history is so great that it would be impossible to present a thorough account of the city’s beginnings without referring to this river.
And by its name alone, the Sacramento River is important to the history of Sacramento, since the city took its name from this important waterway.
As the largest river in California, this 375-mile river has its source near Mount Shasta.
The river then meanders down the center of the Sacramento Valley and runs between the cities of Sacramento and West Sacramento.
It continues its way into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, where it is fed by other watercourses to become the Carquinez Straits and ultimately flows into the San Francisco Bay.
How the river was formed is a complex series of geological events, which include uplift and erosion of the Sierra Nevada and Coastal Mountains and the eruption and creation of Mount Shasta.
For more than 100,000 years, the Sacramento River has been cutting through deep deposits of sediment from the Coast Range and Sierra Nevada.
As previously mentioned, the city of Sacramento was named after the Sacramento River.
In 1808, the Spanish organized an expedition to go into the interior of California to explore rivers north of the Cosumnes River, which they discovered two years earlier, and to search for suitable locations for missions and pueblos.
This expedition was led by Spanish army officer Jose Gabriel Maraga, who gave names to many of the topographic features that he discovered on his journey.
At that time, the Spanish army in California was inextricably linked to the Catholic Church, thus almost all the names chosen by Maraga were taken from Catholic nomenclature.
Maraga named the largest of these tributaries El Rio de Sacramento, which translates as the River of Sacrament. The Sacramento River was thus named in honor of the “offerings of Christ.”
On Oct. 9, 1808, Maraga wrote in his diary: “Today, we broke camp and moved to the river discovered yesterday, which we named the Sacramento. They have measured this river at 169 varas (about 5,577 inches or about 465 feet) across.”
For some unknown reason, the only entry missing from Maraga’s diary, which was kept from Sept. 25 through Oct. 23, 1808, was the entry for Oct. 8 – the day that he discovered the Sacramento River.
During the following 40 years, the Sacramento River remained the quiet home of salmon, wildlife and native people of the area.
In 1848, bright, metallic flakes were found in a tributary of the Sacramento and for the river and its valley, its future changes were dramatic.
It appears as if the word, “rush” from the famous Gold Rush of 1849 has much significance in the naming and location of the city.
Furthermore, little effort was given to the naming of the city’s streets, which received basic alphabetical and numerical names.
Sacramento City was built in a “rush” with little regard for expansion or flooding.
In fact, the very sands contributed to by flooding were responsible for the location of the new city, because the sand provided a low spot for large ships to beached, loaded and unloaded.
Neither Captain John Sutter nor the Indians who lived in the area before him regarded the eventual location of the city as habitable.
Sutter, guided by the local Indians, had his fort built in one of the few high ground sites in today’s city of Sacramento.
Even the city that Sutter had planned – Sutterville – was being built on the high ground in the area of today’s William Land Park.
The problem with this location was that its high banks that prevented flooding, also kept ships from landing.
As a result, Sacramento City was born almost overnight, because it was the one spot where large vessels could land and unload supplies, feeding the frenzy of the Gold Rush.
When it comes to presenting the city’s river history, it is certainly essential to include details pertaining to the topic of flooding.
While visiting Sacramento on Feb. 25, 1878, James W. Marshall, whose discovery of gold on the South Fork of the American River led to the Gold Rush of 1849, was interviewed by a Sacramento Record-Union reporter.
In speaking to the reporter regarding the topic of high water, Marshall referred to the 1845-46 flood, which covered all the Indian mounds in the Sacramento Valley.
Marshall described this flood as being so great that it came within two feet of entering Sutter’s Fort.
And in relating the 1845-46 flood to the then present times, Marshall estimated that the water of that flood would have reached at least four or five feet above the high grade of the city.
Continuing, Marshall noted that an old Hudson Bay trapper had told him about a flood, which occurred in the Sacramento Valley in the winter of 1830.
That flood, Marshall said, reached a level of five or six feet higher than the level of the 1845-46 flood.
Within a detailed account of the flood of 1849-50 in the Feb. 8, 1873 edition of The Sacramento Union, it was noted that by Jan. 12, 1850 “there was no dry land in town except at the knoll on the public square (today’s Cesar E. Chavez Plaza), between Ninth and Tenth streets.”
Another one of the great floods in the city’s history was the flood of 1852-53.
Having already recently suffered another tragedy – the great fire of Nov. 2, 1852 – Sacramento was flooded as the result of a rise in the Sacramento River from Dec. 20, 1852 to Jan. 24, 1853.
Under the tutelage of volunteer Coach Steve Cobb, the “Pocket Aces” fast pitch team ripped through a two-day, six-game competition in Lincoln, June 23 and 24, and won the ASA Association Championship handily. The team qualified to compete against teams from other California regions at the California State Games in San Diego July 19 to 22. They now boast a record of 12-0.
Competing in the 10-U, or ‘Mini-Minor’ division, athletes range in age from nine to just-turned eleven and are entering 4th through 6th grade. Selected from four teams, the twelve members of The Aces attend neighborhood schools, including Didion, Matsuyama, Crocker, Sutterville, Bidwell and Leonardo Da Vinci Elementary. They were awarded the Games’ entrance fee, tournament winner t-shirts and medals for their victory in Lincoln.
The California State Games (CalStateGames.org) is a co-ed festival of Olympic-style competition for California’s amateur athletes. The State Games is a community-based member of the United States Olympic Committee and features 25 other sporting events, 22 of which are held in San Diego in July. With an Olympic-style torch run, parade of athletes in Qualcomm Stadium, and similar Olympian pageantry, this is a very exciting opportunity for these neighborhood athletes.
Victory at the San Diego games would lead to participation at the State Games of America in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
The 12U Pocket All Stars qualified for the Western National Tournament on June 23-24. The team took 3rd third place in the ASA Association Championship in Folsom, posting a 4-1 record in the “B” Division. They logged wins against Elk Grove, Five Cities, Foothill and Roseville, eventually losing to another Elk Grove team in a semi-final game. The team received a large team trophy and all of the girls received medals.
The Western National Tournament in Salem, Oregon, scheduled for July 30-August 4, will host 50-70 teams. The week-long tournament features an opening ceremony, skill event competition, and pin-trading between teams, in addition to high level fast pitch play.
The twelve girls on this All Star team have only played together for three weeks, but they practice and play hard and have embraced their new roles quickly. The group is a young 12U team that plays loose and has fun together on and off the field, which is a key to their success. They continue to improve and push themselves at every practice and game and look forward to the challenge of traveling 540 miles to battle some of the best softball teams in the Western United States.
Since 1969, Pocket Girls Softball has been providing recreational softball playing opportunities for girls, age 4 ½ -16, from Land Park, Pocket, Greenhaven and South Sacramento neighborhoods. As part of the Northern California Girls Softball Association, the nonprofit, volunteer-run Pocket Softball organization depends on support from the community for assistance with the Wenzel field conditions, equipment, umpires, tournament entry fees, underwriting needed player participation, and more.
The League and these teams are actively fundraising for their continued participation at these respective July events. Pocket Softball seeks local business and family sponsorships for $50-$1,000 and is offering promotional opportunities for this and next year. On July 14, the teams are hosting a Pancake Breakfast with car wash and rummage sale at Caroline Wenzel from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Attendees can enjoy breakfast and some browsing while their car is washed.
As they continue to play weekend tournaments to continue their development, both teams can be found practicing four nights a week at Caroline Wenzel, Pocket Softball’s home field. The public is welcome to come by and see these great athletes hard at work.
To follow their success, Pocket Softball has created a Facebook page and has a website at PocketGirlsSoftball.org.
This flood, which was known as the Edwards Break, began at the sharp turn of the Sacramento River, near what is today the intersection of Sutterville and Riverside roads.
Four-legged levee destroyers
This tragedy happened as a result of a levee being weakened due to the burrowing of gophers and squirrels.
During a heavy storm on Feb. 27, 1904, water penetrated the burrows to the extent that the water’s force caused the levee to break and flood the area.
Due to the magnitude of the flood, news about this occurrence spread beyond the Sacramento area.
One such report was a Feb. 29, 1904 article in The San Francisco Call, which included the following words regarding the flood: “The fact is, simply, that there has been a bad break in Reclamation District 535 (later known as Reclamation District 673), south of (Sacramento), and that it has flooded probably 10,000 acres of the richest land in the state.”
This break was wide enough that large objects such as boats and a barge entered the opening of the break and flowed down into the Pocket.
In one incident, the home of Antone Perry, who resided on the present day Park Riviera Way with his family across from today’s Lewis Park, was struck by the aforementioned barge.
Traveling southward on the floodwaters, the barge made a sudden, swirling turn and then sharply struck the back corner of the Perry home, which was thus forced off of its foundation.
Present within the home during this incident were Antone, his wife Amelia, and their six children.
Another very notable house in the Pocket was the home of Manuel Seamas, owner of the area’s well known Grangers Dairy.
As a result of the Edwards Break, the Seamas house was flooded up to the ledge of the first floor window, which was located about 5 feet from the ground.
The flood also toppled the ornate, white, wooden fence that bordered the Seamas property and ruined the family’s renowned, spacious gardens, where gala parties were held with many guests.
Selfless acts of heroism
Although the majority of the residents’ animals were drowned in the flood, fortunately, with the exception of a man who was killed at the site of the levee break, those living in the area were able to survive this tragedy.
This fact was made possible through the selfless efforts of various men of the area.
Upon seeing the water rising to a dangerous level, men in the Riverside-Pocket area used their rowboats to rescue people who were stranded in their homes.
One such man was John Machado, who was known as “Jaoa Alvert” (“John Albert”).
Taking his rowboat from an area near his front porch, Machado transported his wife and infant daughter to the Reichmuth dairy area on high ground, which is known today as South Land Park Hills.
Machado then proceeded back to the Pocket to rescue area residents and take them to higher ground on the levee, where others had their homes. One of these homes was the home of his in-laws, Antone Perry, Sr. – the father of the aforementioned Antone Perry – and Mary Gloria Perry.
Machado, who was a tall, strong man, joined other men from the area who rowed their boats throughout the night in their efforts to bring stranded residents to higher ground.
Individual emergency preparedness
Although the Edwards Break flood took Riverside-Pocket area residents by surprise, this did not mean that they were without preparation for such a tragedy.
With an impending break of the levee in mind, the local rescuers referred to above, purposely kept their rowboats nearby their homes.
Additionally, most of the area’s homes were constructed with two levels with the lower level being for a cool storage area for perishable food and also possibly the kitchen area, which included a wood burning stove and perhaps a coal oil stove.
The upper level of such homes consisted of bedrooms, which were separated by a hallway that led to the front porch and stairway.
Some families in the area had their rowboats attached directly to these upstairs porches.
Area families were also educated with the knowledge of how to help save their homes during a severe flood.
One such method was to lean out a home’s upper windows or porch and break the lower windows with heavy objects or tools that were tied to long ropes.
The purpose of this action was to purposely flood the first floor, instead of running the risk of having the house carried away in the floodwaters.
Built on higher ground
In addition to the construction of ground level, two-story houses in the area, some people in the area also prepared for possible major floods by bringing in soil and building their homes on mounds.
On some occasions, soil for such houses was provided via dredgers that were used to build and repair the local levees and keep the river channel open for passenger and freight boats.
A dredger’s leverman would swing the boom, which transported large buckets of silt and soil, over the top of the levee and deposit the soil on the property.
The soil would then be leveled to the desired height of the home builder.
Pocket historian Dolores Greenslate said that she believes that among the area’s residents who built their houses on mounds was a Portuguese man, named Joe Lewis. This belief appears to be factual when considering that Lewis was known by the nickname, “Joe da Cabeco” (“Joe of the Top of the Hill”).
Following the break in the levee, several weeks passed before the floodwaters finally receded and people were able to return to their homes.
The most fortunate people of the flood proved to be those who prepared themselves by having their entire living quarters on the second level of their homes.
For those who kept their homes in this manner, their post flood work only involved repairing the foundations of their houses and their ground level, cool storage area.
Fortunately, unlike the people who resided in the Riverside-Pocket area during the flood of 1904, with the strengthening and higher level of the levees, people living in this area today are no longer constantly worried each winter about the possibility of major flooding.
Although many people today are not familiar with Charles and his connection to part of the Land Park community, Charles F. Silva is undoubtedly a name that should be well preserved.
Born in the Azores
Born on Dec. 14, 1867 in Faial in the Azores Islands of Portugal, Charles arrived in Boston at the age of 11 in 1878 and then proceeded to the Sutterville area in today’s South Land Park area of Sacramento.
With only $2.50 in his pocket, Charles used $1 of his money to reach the town of Vernon in Sutter County, where he became employed as a milker on a dairy ranch for 50 cents per day.
Teen cheese entrepreneur
Using earnings from this job, Charles, when he was 13, paid a cheese maker $50 to teach him how to make cheese, after which he went into business for himself.
Charles eventually rented a ranch in Yolo County, bought cows and established a dairy and cheese plant.
Charles’ next venture was his purchase of the 160-acre Ramsey Ranch, which was located six miles above Vernon on the Feather River. He also rented the Hoover Ranch and the Clark and Cave ranches near the Sacramento River.
While conducting business along the Sacramento River, Charles entered the boating business, as he bought a gasoline-powered boat and a barge.
Meanwhile, Charles purchased the Point Ranch, where he cut wood, which he transported down the river to Sacramento.
In 1900, Charles returned to the capital city, as he purchased and resided at the Meadows place on Front Street, between O and P streets. It was there that he also established a wood, hay and grain business.
In addition to this business, Charles purchased the steamers “Neponset” and “Neptune,” the trading boats “Jersey” and “Inder” and the barges, “Columbia,” “Sutter” and “Vernon.”
In becoming engaged in the transportation business, Charles formed a partnership with a Capt. Jones. This partnership continued for many years and their route included towns on the Sacramento River, between Sacramento and Butte City.
During this time, Charles was also involved in the cattle and sheep business.
Eventually, Charles sold his interests in the boats to devote his full attention to his livestock business.
Charles experienced much success in this endeavor, as he enlarged his interests on an annual basis and also established retail businesses – four local meat markets and a large wholesale business in Sacramento.
Additionally, Charles bred Hereford stock and was renowned throughout the state as a breeder of these fine cattle.
So large was Charles’ livestock business operation that he became known as the largest individual cattle dealer in California, shipping thousands of head of cattle from Mexico, in addition to his large shipments from throughout the state.
Charles’ wealth was great, as he purchased various Northern California ranches and later sold the ranches for twice the amount that he had paid for them.
Along with his real estate transactions, Charles was actively associated with various reclamation projects and served as the organizer and director of the Sutter Basin Co. and the Natomas Land Co.
Following his time with his previous cattle business endeavors, Charles invested in many Sacramento properties, including business blocks, warehouses and residences, and purchased a 21,000-acre cattle ranch in Modoc County.
Charles additionally accumulated other properties such as 243 acres dedicated to fruit growing in Yuba County and 670 acres on the Feather River in Butte County, with one half of this acreage being devoted to fruit.
Another major part of Charles’ life was his interest in horses and for many years he was involved in breeding standard-bred animals.
Breeder of race horses
Charles, who eventually had the finest standard-bred stock in the state, raised the well-known pacer, Teddy Bear, who broke a 6-year-old record at the California State Fair on Aug. 29, 1911. The horse set the mile mark of two minutes and five seconds.
With his continued interest in horses, Charles purchased a racetrack in Woodland in 1916.
It can be speculated that Charles, who continued to own the track until 1921, purchased the track in order to run Teddy Bear on his own schedule during fair weather days throughout the year.
In the early 1920s, Charles traded a 21,000-acre parcel of land in Alturas (Modoc County) for the old Weinstock-Lubin and Co. department store building at 4th and K streets. The building had been vacated and the company had reopened in its new location at 12th and K streets.
Charles also owned other business operations in Sacramento, including the Fulton Meat Market at 4th and M (now Capitol Mall) streets, California Market on J Street, between 7th and 8th streets, and meat markets on 10th and M (now Capitol Mall) streets, 16th and M (now Capitol Avenue) streets and in Folsom and Knights Landing.
He also owned a slaughterhouse on Y Street (present day Broadway), between 5th and 6th streets.
Charles established a rich connection to the Land Park community with his founding of Charles Station, which later became known as South Land Park Hills.
Charles’ property was located off the present day Del Rio Road in the area of today’s Kennedy Lane and Pleasant Drive.
On this property, Charles owned and operated a second slaughterhouse, which had a thick concrete floor that later posed difficulties in building the foundations of some of the area’s high quality homes.
Family manDuring his life, Charles was married twice, with the first of his marriages occurring when he married Theresa Kennedy in Sacramento on Aug. 15, 1899. Together the couple had nine children.
Following Theresa’s death, Charles married Lois Blackwell and this marriage added two more children to his family.
The most prominent of Charles’ children was former Land Park area resident Ray Silva. Ray, who passed away in 1996, was a referee for the Harlem Globetrotters and the founder and operator of Kiddie Land, Land Park’s small-scale children’s amusement park, which is today known as Funderland.
Undoubtedly, Charles, who passed away on July 14, 1944, was a man who achieved many great things in his life.
And considering his many accomplishments and the fact that he once had practically pennies in his pocket and no assets to his name, Charles Silva should be remembered for many years as a self-motivated man whose drive to excel led to a life of success.
Coffee and culture in Land Park
Just south of Sacramento City College is a caffeinated oasis of divergent extremes – a unique union of the exotic and the familiar, the clean lines of modern architecture blending with the esoteric design of contemporary furniture. Such is Land Park’s newest café, the aptly named United Coffee House.
“I [imagine] this being a place where you see your neighbors,” said Colby. “A community hub.”
Since opening in August, Singh said the café has developed a string of regular customers and the neighboring community and nearby college have done much to make them feel welcome in Land Park.
“Everyone has been so kind,” Colby added. “It’s been perfect.”
On any given morning, the café is teeming with energy, alive with a mix of Seattle Coffee house vibe and International swing. The air is filled with the welcoming scent of a bold brew and the walls are decorated with pieces from renowned artists. Small palms shade angular furniture placed throughout the coffee house while exotic music plays overhead. It’s as much inspiring as it is inspired. And that unity of spirit comes from the unique relationship of Colby and Singh, who together developed the concept and brought their café to life in Land Park.
“We are such polar opposites,” said Colby. “But I think we came to a good place.”
Growing up on opposite sides of the world, Colby in the western U.S. and Singh in India, the pair has contrasting views on decorating and music, but the two are unified in bringing their coffee house dream to a prosperous future. After meeting in India in 2008 and planning their business for more than year, Colby and Singh are excited to have finally brought their vision to life. Curiously, it is an endeavor that Singh, a regular tea drinker, only recently started to enjoy by the cup.
“I was not a coffee person and she got me a vanilla latté and after the first sip, I was like, ‘Wow, this is good,’” he said, adding that now he has his mom hooked on the brew.
But, according to Singh, it’s not just any cup of coffee that piques his interest, but the specialty roast his café offers daily. Supplied by Flying Goat Coffee roasters out of Healdsburg, Calif., Singh said that United Coffee House also French presses all their coffee – an unusual practice when so many other cafés use automated drip machines.
“That is as fresh as coffee as you can get,” Singh said, adding that if their prepared coffee is not sold in 40 minutes, it’s thrown out and a new batch is prepared. “I think when you are going to prepare a fresh cup of coffee, it makes people come back for more. That’s how we get regulars.”
Colby said the café is also trying to distinguish itself through its other offerings and by transitioning to a completely organic menu.
“Where I come from in Sonoma County, people care about where their food comes from,” she said. “I think there are a lot of people here who have those interests… and that is why we want people to know what we have is good and good for you.”
Colby said that the café is working with local vendors, such as Freeport Bakery and Grateful Bread Co. to help supply them with delicious menu items, like pastries and bread for freshly made sandwiches. In addition to that, Colby also sells homemade bread pudding from a recipe she picked up after years of working in the food services industry.
United in style
Colby and Singh have high hopes for their burgeoning business, and hope to bring more and more local residents to their one-of-a-kind coffee house. With hopes of playing a role in the popular Second Saturday Art Walk and opening up their café for other venues (such as book clubs), the two eager entrepreneurs believe their new enterprise fits in among the eclectic offerings of the Land Park community.
“In the coffee industry in Sacramento, there are a lot of players, and the city is really big and I like building community in the town and among coffee sellers,” Colby said. “I really want people to come here… if they can use our spot as their spot that would be awesome.”
E-mail Ryan Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org .
The Sierra Curtis Neighborhood Association is hosting its 24th annual Curtis Park Home and Garden Tour on Saturday, April 24 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Curtis Park Neighborhood.
The annual tour is a showcase of each homeowner’s own creativity and enjoyment of a fine older home. Tour goers will enjoy beautiful original interiors balanced with recently updated kitchens, baths and master suites. Enjoy patios and gardens including one crowned by a massive oak tree surrounded by wood seating, decking, and used brick pathways.
There will be a price break for those purchasing tickets in advance; tickets can be purchased on-line at www.Sierra2.org, or at the Sierra 2 Center, The Fringe, The Ivy House, The French Hen or Collected Works. Advance General Admission tickets are $20 ($15 for SCNA members), and day of the tour tickets are $25 ($20 for SCNA members).
The event is a fundraiser for the Sierra Curtis Neighborhood Association and benefits the Sierra 2 Community Center and SCNA programs. Refreshment sales benefit the Sacramento Children’s Home, a Curtis Park neighbor on Sutterville Road.
Cook Realty returns as major sponsor. Their continued support of this fundraising event is appreciated.
For more information, call Sierra 2 at 452-3005 or visit www.Sierra2.org.
It’s a “party for the planet” at the 30th annual ZooZoom, Sunday, April 11 from 7 a.m. to noon at the Sacramento Zoo, near the corner of Land Park Drive and Sutterville Road in William Land Park. The 5-km, 10-km and fun runs for children age 3 to 12 are sponsored by Fleet Feet and benefits the Sacramento Zoological Society.
For race fees and information, please visit www.sacramentozoozoom.com. Fee includes a ZooZoom t-shirt and refreshments for runners, plus free admission to the zoo for runners and immediate family on race day (limit four people).
Zoo tour designed especially for seniors
If you’re a senior looking for a unique outing, then join us for a cup of tea, a bite to eat and a fascinating guided tour of the Sacramento Zoo. The Zoo’s Senior Tea and Tours, a seniors-only program (ages 55 and over), is on select Mondays in May, September and October. During the tea break, you’ll be served tea, lemonade, coffee, finger sandwiches, breads and cookies. At that time, guests will hear about the good things happening at the zoo.
Tea and Tour events sell out quickly. Reservations must be made at least seven days in advance at www.saczoo.com or 916-808-5889 .
Seven continents in 14 acres
Open since 1927, the Sacramento Zoo is home to over 140 native, rare and endangered species and is one of over 200 accredited institutions of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The Zoo is wholly managed by the non-profit Sacramento Zoological Society. This Sacramento treasure inspires conservation awareness through education and recreation. Open daily from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, general admission is $9.50; children ages 3-12 are $7 and two and under are admitted free. Parking is free throughout the park or ride Regional Transit bus #6. For information, call 916-808-5888 or visit saczoo.com.