In a fairly unique initiative, the Sacramento Kings have announced that six historic neon signs will be on display at the Golden 1 Center.
There have been examples of arenas and stadiums incorporating local artworks. The Golden 1 Center plans to follow that trend as well, but the arena is taking an additional step by exhibiting historic signs from Sacramento businesses, with entities such as Tower Records to have their neon billboards on display.
Owned by the City of Sacramento, the signs are historic artifacts preserved and cared for by the Center for Sacramento History, the official repository and research center for the City and County. Before installing the signs in the southeast corner of the Plaza Level concourse, the Kings funded a renovation project to fix broken neon glass tubes and replacing the original electrical components in the signs, which date between 1940 and 1970, to bring them up to current code requirements. The weathered facades will remain saluting the decades of service each sign brought to Sacramento.
“The heart and soul of Golden 1 Center are the people and stories of Sacramento,” said Kings President Chris Granger. “We’re thrilled to showcase these historic artifacts in the arena for years to come.”
The six signs to be displayed inside the Golden 1 Center include the original yellow and red Tower Records sign from Watt Avenue and Shakey’s Pizza from East Sacramento’s J Street. The remaining four original signs from Franke’s Drugs, Newbert Hardware, Sleeper Stationary, and Coronet Portraits will be instantly recognized by many as markers of Downtown Sacramento’s storied past.
The goal of the Center for Sacramento History is to collect, preserve and make the region’s vast cultural heritage accessible to the public. The staff is excited to share these pieces of city history with the community and the 1.2 million annual guests estimated to visit the world-class sports and entertainment venue.
“Instead of keeping the artifacts in our warehouse, our goal is to make them available to the public,” said Marcia Eymann, Sacramento City Historian and the Center Director. “This partnership with the Kings is a great fit because normally we would not have the room or the budget to exhibit large pieces, especially this many, all in one place. Because of the generosity of the Kings, we have the opportunity to get the signs renovated so that even when they come down, they will be in better condition than when we first received them,” she continued.
Gretchen Steinberg, president of Sacramento Modern, a local non-profit organization dedicated to preservation in the Sacramento region is also excited to see the signs getting out on display. “We hope the celebration of these shelved signs brings a renewed appreciation for the signs that have remained an integral part of our cityscape. These legacy signs are landmarks, works of art, and should be preserved.”