New Helvetia

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752 Revere Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
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In the early 1940’s construction completed on a new public housing complex in downtown Sacramento that would later be known as New Helvetia. The one million dollar, 310-unit New Helvetia Defense Housing Development was opened in November of 1942 as a housing option for defense workers and low-income families.

A Board of Architects was created specifically for this project and its members consisted of a highly regarded group of local firms. This coalition of Sacramento Master Architects included Charles Dean, Leonard Starks, Ed Flanders, and Harry Devine, Sr. Unfortunately Mr. Flanders died while this project was still in construction.

New Helvetia represents the only known project in which all three architects collaborated on together. However they did have previous experience working together on separate projects. In fact the Clunie Center was designed by both Devine and Starks, and Starks similarly worked with Dean on the Sutter Club.

Although the drawings for the project display a Charles Dean title block, it is not known at this time the extent of each individuals design involvement of the project. A review of their varied projects appears to indicate the architects chosen would have been among the more forward thinking designers of that time, and the New Helvetia Historic District complex is an important architectural statement of the era in Sacramento.

New Helvetia has recently been nominated by Historic Environment Consultants  for historic preservation due to its architectural and cultural significance to Sacramento history.

Text and images contained in this blog were used from the report done by Historic Environment Consultants.

 

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Posted: January 18, 1940

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Category: Leonard Starks

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+1 Comment
  1. Charlene Sanchez says:

    Hi, just wanted to tell you, I enjoyed this post.I drive by this place all the time and never knew it’s history! It was inspiring.Keep on posting!

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