Sacramento is a great place to live in Northern California - not only do we have plenty of trees and beautiful river ways, but we're also just a short distance from both Tahoe and the San Francisco Bay Area. That said, nothing is ever perfect, and our city is no exception to this rule. Over the years we've seen some downright foolish decisions that would bring about heart-wrenching and even tragic consequences for Sacramento. Here are the top five mistakes in Sacramento history:
The Demolition of the Alhambra Theatre
Image: The Smith Gallery
Constructed in 1927, the Alhambra Theatre wasn't just a movie theater, it was an architectural jewel and the pride of East Sacramento. Built in Moorish-Spanish style, Alhambra boasted elegant fountains, mosaic tiles, and a red-carpeted interior sporting gold trim. Then, in 1973, the city decided Sacramento's prettiest movie theater could be torn down to make room for a Safeway. All that's left of the Alhambra is a lonely fountain.
The Sacramento Mega-Flood
In the winter of 1861-1862, all of California was hit by a near-apocalyptic Pacific storm system that only comes around every century or so. More an out-and-out natural disaster than any kind of mistake, relentless torrential rains submerged Sacramento and much of the state. California went bankrupt from the mass-scale damage, and thousands of people and livestock were killed. Sacramento, meanwhile, decided to rebuild the downtown area 10 to 15 feet higher thanks to the terrible lesson of the mega-flood.
The Farrell's Plane Crash of 1972
One of the worst tragedies to strike Sacramento in more recent history was the crash of a private F-86 Sabre jet into a Farrell's Ice Cream Parlor on September 24th, 1972. The aircraft, piloted by Richard Bingham, was taking off from an airshow at Sacramento Executive Airport when it failed to gain enough altitude and careened into Farrell's, located next to the airport right across Freeport Boulevard. 22 people were killed and 28 injured - among the victims were families of a pee-wee football team celebrating after a game. Placing an ice cream restaurant right next to an airfield was a catastrophic error.
Image: Sierra College
After the California Mega-Flood of 1861-62, Sacramento residents got down to recovery and reconstruction - and that included strengthening the levies. Yet despite the absence of major storms that would threaten the city, it was again subjected to serious flooding in both 1867 and 1878. As it turned out, the cause was hydraulic mining along the Sacramento and American Rivers. This destructive method of finding gold could level whole mountains, the debris of which would make its way into the riverbeds and raise the water level. Sacramentans finally stopped the flooding by taking on the mining lobby. No more hydraulic mining meant no more erosion, which meant no more needless flooding.
1989 first-round draft pick Pervis Ellison didn't live up to the high hopes of Sacramento Kings fans. Image: FanIQ
Sacramento currently has just one professional sports team - the Kings. And while we are loyal Kings fans, they've had a rough time over the past decade or so, consistently finishing with a losing record and making it nowhere near the playoffs for the last ten years. Let's cross our fingers and hope that we can only go upwards from here - the Kings will be playing in a brand-new arena in Sacramento's redeveloping downtown, and the upcoming stadium for our MLS soccer team, Sacramento Republic FC, will be slated to open for the 2018 season.