Friday, January 1, 2010

Sometimes the library writes Its own books; In this case, about one of Sacramento's great neighborhoods: Meet Alkali Flat

The Images of America series from Arcadia Publishing has availed Americans, coast-to-coast, to the imagery and lore that makes our neighborhoods so great and so rich in history. Recently, the Sacramento Room of the Sacramento Public Library put pen to paper, publishing an ode to the oldest residential neighborhood in the city: Sacramento's Alkali Flat.

The Alkali rests near a busy downtown Sacramento and is bordered by the rail yard, river, and thoroughfares that helped form its identity over a century ago. Named for the crusted alkali deposits that were left by seasonal flooding, the neighborhood has, over time, attracted governors, legislators, artists, and pioneering physicians to take up residence in some of the most exquisitely crafted homes in the American West. Neighborhood lore includes the gradual conquest of the odiferous China Slough and Federal troops billeting there during 1894's Pullman Strike, while the haunting story of little May Woolsey and a tragic tale of crime are the stories spoken of today. Boasting mills, dairies, railroads, and media as well as schools, hospitals, multiethnic churches, and local businesses in its heyday, Alkali Flat's history is characterized by contrasts-old landmarks have fallen or adapted to other uses, but the future holds promise for one of Sacramento's most unique neighborhoods.

The Sacramento Room is happy to have produced its second book in three years (see also Historic Photos of Sacramento). The best part is that partial proceeds from the book will go back to the library. Copies will appear in bookstores and other businesses around the Alkali and the greater Sacramento area starting on January 11 of 2010, with a price of $21.99. Isn't it good to know that picking up a copy will not only expand your knowledge of this great city's history, but also put much needed funding into the hands of your public library.

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