The modest brown clapboards on the facade of Hampton's on Sutter fit its old life as a former lawman's home. This is the place built by Folsom's first constable, James Donnelly, in 1894.
Well, it is. And it isn't.
The building now houses a restaurant, and its wooden beams, floors and staircases gleam with mayoral splendor. Climb the stairs inside to the upper landing one evening, and your reward will be a view of the sun setting over the Lake Natoma Crossing bridge.
When real estate developer Moe Hirani acquired the property at 608 Sutter St. a few years ago, there was just one small window on the second floor. Peeping out from it, he saw the bridge and felt a frisson of excitement. He had to do something to open up that view. But what?
"I'd gone to Spain after I bought the building, and I went to a lot of tapas bars, and there was one tapas bar in Seville, and I saw a staircase with a landing that looked down at the bar and looked back through windows. And, I thought, 'That's it. That is it.'
Hirani added windows, doors and decks on both floors that practically wrap around the building.
Then Citrus Heights financial adviser Michael Hampton came along with a vision for a restaurant that Hirani liked. Chef Steven Kipgen makes mahi mahi sandwiches, burgers, brandied scallops and other American fare. They opened softly in mid-September.
An Apple for baby?
Ana Manzano tends bar two nights a week at the Mix in downtown Sacramento. The rest of the week, she is carving out a niche for herself among a new wave of indie crafters and designers.
Manzano puts a new spin on clothing for babies, a niche she fell into when she went to buy a gift for a friend's baby shower.
"I was walking through Target and didn't like that there were so many things that looked like other things," she said, adding later, "I thought, 'I'm a creative girl. I'll just buy a bunch of blank onesies and see what I can do.' ... It ended up being a hit."
She puts appliqués of turntables, ties and area codes on onesies and T-shirts, selling them for $27 to $33. Her label, Ana Apple, sells at craft fairs in the Bay Area and online at anaapple.com. (Manzano is the Spanish word for apple.)
The 28-year old designer grosses enough money to pay her rent and bills, but she funnels much of what she earns back into her business.
Putting a price on history
Real estate broker Reed Marquardt said he would give me a 50-cent tour of the Eastern Star Hall on K Street in Sacramento.
Turns out he undercharged for this view of one of Sacramento's grand edifices, built back when membership in fraternal organizations boomed and so did their coffers.
Downstairs is a dining hall, a large kitchen, a dance hall with a spring-loaded floor and a stage for a band. There's a steam furnace almost as big as a caboose and a working, antique wall phone with a receiver that feels as though it weighs 2 pounds. Suddenly, classic Hollywood pictures where one actor clouts another with a receiver make sense.
Heading to the second floor, I pause to admire the torchieres and the ironwork on the stairs. When I join him, he says: "Very few people have seen beyond these gates because you had to be a member."
He walks down an unimposing hall and enters an anteroom. "Wait, let me get the lights," he says.
A great room is illuminated. The ceiling soars. The Eastern star bursts from the carpet in reds, blues, golds, greens. The officers' chairs look like thrones.
Marquardt has to nudge me to leave. Apparently, another temple awaits, plus a formal ballroom with another spring-loaded floor and theater-style seating.
He and Mike Doukas of Commercial Real Estate Specialists on 30th Street are marketing the property on behalf of the few surviving members of the Grand Chapter of California. The asking price is $2.2 million.
If you can't afford to buy it, don't bite on Marquardt's 50-cent tour. It breaks your heart to walk away.