Monday, June 20, 2016

Sacramento's Most Distinguished, Stately and Iconic Buildings.

1. Bank of the West Tower
Bank of the West Tower is a 25-story high-rise that stands 397 feet high, also known as Five Hundred Capitol Mall, or The Pantheon. Spanning 433,508-square-feet, it includes a stunning 5-story atrium and lobby, retail on the first floor, offices, a 2-level penthouse restaurant/meeting area, and 10 levels of parking garage with 800 spaces. Construction started in 2007 under the watch of architect E.M. Kado & Associates, and developer Tsakopoulos Investments, and the Bank of the West Tower accepted its first tenant on May 26, 2009.

2. Wells Fargo Center
At 423 feet, The Wells Fargo Center in downtown Sacramento wins the honor of tallest building in the capital city of California. This 30-floor office building encompasses more than 500,000 square feet since it opened in 1992. The Wells Fargo Center actually occupies a whole city block, about 2.3 acres, and is highlighted by a stunning five-story interior atrium made from granite, marble, and glass, as well as the ground floor Wells Fargo History Museum. Architect Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum (HOK) and developers William Wilson & Associates and Crocker Properties redefined the Sacramento landscape with the Wells Fargo Center.

3. California Governor's Mansion
Between 1903 and 1967, the Historic Governor’s Mansion was home to thirteen governors starting with George Pardee (including Ronald Reagan, but only for four months), and just started housing its fourteenth governor in 2015 when Jerry Brown moved in. Originally built in 1877 in the Second Empire-Italianate Victorian for local hardware merchant Albert Gallatin, it holds thirty rooms in its thirty stories, as well as a historic park for its grounds, and is on the list of California Historic Landmarks and the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

4. Crocker Art Museum
The name may have changed from the E. B. Crocker Art Gallery to the Crocker Art Gallery, but this iconic museum still entertains, educates, and enlightens Sacramento art lovers. “The Crocker” is actually the longest continuously operating art museum in the western United States, and number 59 on the list of Best Museums in the entire United States. Located at 2016 O Street, the Crocker Art Museum building was built in 1877 by architects Seth Babson and Charles Gwathmey in Victorian Italianate and Classic Contemporary motif. With all of that distinguished history, the Crocker Art Museum is worth visiting not just for what’s inside, but the building, itself.

5. Esquire Tower
One of the more recent additions to the Sacramento skyline, the Esquire Tower, also called Esquire Plaza, went up in 1999, and features 22 floors and 248,416 square feet of office space, as well as the Esquire IMAX Theater, and a restaurant for good measure, with a height of 322 feet. It’s no wonder the Esquire Tower is ranked number ten on the on the list of Famous Sacramento Buildings & Structures.

6. John T. Greene House
If you’ve driven past McKinley Park on H Street in East Sacramento, you’ve probably noticed a stunning and expansive American Craftsman Bungalow home with wood shingles, handsome green trim, and a stone base. In fact, that’s the John T. Green House, built in 1925 by Pasadena architects Greene & Greene for Sacramento developer John T. Greene, who coincidentally was of no relation to his architectural team. The home was built based on the dimensions of the Golden Rectangle, an ancient law of proportion. No matter what the influence, the home remains one of Sacramento’s proudest structures, and now on the National Register of Historic Places in Sacramento County.

7. Pony Express Terminal
The history of California may not be the oldest, but it is certainly filled with epic events, amazing stories and colorful characters, and many of those are reflected in the Pony Express Terminal in Sacramento. Also known as the B. F. Hastings Bank Building, this building was the furthest western point of the legendary Pony Express mail system when it opened on January 1, 1852. It also served as the first location of the California Supreme Court. These days, the Pony Express Terminal still stands as part of the Old Sacramento State Historic Park, a National Historic Landmark District, featuring the second Gold Rush museum along with the Wells Fargo Center. Interestingly, the Pony Express has two separate addresses depending on whom you ask, with the NRHP listing it at 1006 2nd St. and HABS claiming it's at 128-132 J Street.

8. Blue Anchor Building
Sitting at 1400 10th Street in downtown Sacramento, this Spanish Colonial Revival style commercial building is one of Sacramento’s historic landmarks. It was first built by the architects Starks and Flanders in 1931 as part of the California Fruit Exchange, and named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

9. Sacramento City Library
The Sacramento City Library, located at 828 I Street adjacent to Cesar Chavez Plaza, is also referred to as the Central Branch, and the keystone of the Sacramento Public Library system. Built in 1918 with the help of funding from a Carnegie grant, architect Loring P. Rixford, designed the library to look like a late 19th century Italian Renaissance edifice, as it replaced the existing library that had stood since 1872 only one block west. While the exterior looks the same, the interior has undergone numerous renovations, and in 1992 the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

10. J. Neely Johnson House
While not a household name in Sacramento, the J. Neely Johnson house has a fascinating history. It was first built in 1853 for a horticulturist named William Cozzens who made the journey to California via Panama. Mr. Cozzens started building his house but unfortunately for him, couldn’t pay the construction bill on this Greek Revival-Neoclassical masterpiece, so he lost the house to the court.

The home was then purchased and lived in by the fourth Governor of California,
J. Neely Johnson, and subsequently State Treasurer Selden A. McMeans, and then California Supreme Court Justice David S. Terry. Adding to its mystique, the home’s three prominent owners, Johnson, McMeans and Terry members of the American Party, also called the "Know Nothings" because they conducted meetings in secret – some of them probably in this house.

If you like Sacramento architecture, rest assured that we're far from done! Look for part two and three of this series coming soon, with more great buildings from the capital city.

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