SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – In less than two weeks, Golden 1 Center will officially open to the public. The new sports complex is expected to add a spark to Sacramento’s sleepy downtown.
This same location was at the center of another massive revitalization project decades ago that created the Capitol Mall.
We took a look at similarities between the two iconic projects. It’s a case of Sacramento history repeating itself. People who’ve lived here long enough remember the 1950s when the Capitol Mall was created to clean up the city and make downtown a destination again.
A 1950s Sacramento Bee political cartoon shows big bad creeping blight crawling into Downtown Sacramento. The campaign to clean up the west end worked. Photos show Governor Pat Brown at a groundbreaking. Redevelopment signs advertised new land available.
Hundreds of homes and businesses, including parts of Sacramento’s Japantown, were bulldozed in the name of progress. Professor Thomas Joo has studied the development history
I’ve actually looked at some old pictures and then I went downtown and took my own pictures and the same blocks. The hole where the arena was a hole in 1959,” said Joo.
What’s the next chapter in this history lesson? Sacramento’s entertainment and sports complex.
Inside Sacramento’s History Museum, they already have a wall dedicated to the Golden 1 Center, right around the corner from a room devoted to past plans of Sacramento’s downtown.
An old photo shows the vision for the grand gateway to Sacramento. Historian William Burg calls the effort to create this gateway a failure.
“Not to shake a finger at it, but to say let’s not do that again. We can learn from that. We can teach from that,” said Burg.
The test of time has shown the 1950s Capitol Mall redevelopment turned Sacramento’s downtown into a dormant central district.
Downtown Sacramento is getting a new shot at revitalization with the arena.