Neighborhood Preservation and History

Take a Google Map Walking tour of the historic homes on Donner and Montgomery Way.

SCNA actively participates in preserving the heritage of the Sierra Curtis Neighborhood and Sacramento. The Heritage Committee advances this purpose by gathering and publicizing information on the history of our area and promoting preservation and appreciation of our historic buildings.

Walking tour map for South Curtis Oaks Subdivision #1

Call or stop by the office to see if we still have some prints of the walking tour brochure.

Preservation and care of historic windows prepared by Sierra Curtis Neighborhood Association Heritage Committee

California Art Tile Prevalent in Curtis Park

Neighbors learn the basics of historic window renovation – Viewpoint, 10/06

Historic Home Styles in Curtis Park: English Period Revival

Curtis Park’s History

Sacramento’s Curtis Park by Dan Murphy
The book has five chapters showing the history of the Curtis Park neighborhood. It begins with the farms and ranches of the 1850s and traces them through the streetcar suburbs developed before and after the turn of the century. The fourth chapter addresses the early automobile suburbs of the 1920s and the last chapter looks at the changes in our landscape since then.Dan Murphy graciously assigned the royalties for the book to the Sierra Curtis Neighborhood Association.

Resources to Research the History of Your Curtis Park Home

By Dan Murphy

If you want to research the history of your house in the Curtis Park area, the two main sources for possible information are the Sacramento Room in the Central Library and the Center for Sacramento History.

The Sacramento Room is one of the places that has the annual Sacramento City and County directories. You may be able to trace when your address first appears in the directory. Because the directories were published in January the house was likely built in the prior year. If your house is a bungalow, American Foursquare, or Victorian, keep in mind that many street names and addresses changed in 1918 or so, after the city annexed the area. For example, my street, Third Avenue, was originally First Avenue. The earlier street names are listed in the subdivision maps. Your subdivision will be named in the title report that usually accompanies sale documents. A rough guide to the area subdivisions is shown below. (Note: the date that is reported with the subdivision and lot number is the date the subdivision map was filed, not the date the house was built.) Begin your directory search by looking up the address once the street indexes begin, about 1918. The street index is found in the rear of the City Directory in the early years. Once you find an address listed for your house it will include the occupant’s name and by cross-referencing that to the front of the directory you can find the occupant’s business or employment. You can then trace the occupant back year by year in the city directories to find where they lived in earlier years. (You can also trace forward to see when new occupants took up residence).

You can also check in the newspaper indexes at the History Center, or the periodicals section of the Library to see if any articles about those folks were published. The Union up to 1920 or so is searchable online through the California Digital Newspaper Collection. The early editions of the Bee are available online through the Sacramento Public Library. If you know the approximate date of the first sale out of the subdivision you might be able to find something of interest in the newspapers, e.g., an advertisement, possibly even a street construction scene in an ad or promotional news story.

If really ambitious you can search a family name through genealogy sites to find possible relatives who may be willing to share information, photos, or documents.

The History Center might be able to find a deed or tax transactions. You need an appointment and to tell them you are looking for information on your house address. Some house addresses have changed since the time the first houses were built.

When you find an owner’s name the deeds may be traced back to the deed out of the subdivision. Records of facsimiles of deeds are kept at the Sacramento Clerk Recorder’s office. You can check to see if a deed to the owner is available online, However, the digital list online omits many deeds. To be sure about finding a deed you must visit the Clerk Recorders office and check the grantor or grantee index on microfilm for the pertinent period. Similarly, to view the deed facsimile you must visit the Clerk Recorder’s office. You can use the owner’s name as the grantee to search at the office and then may be able to chain back using the grantor to the owner as the next grantee to search.. The first deed out of the subdivision may have been to a speculator or builder and the lot may not have been built on for some period of time after that first sale.