This neighborhood started with a novel idea: one-stop home shopping.
Along a single street in suburban Sacramento, 25 model homes represented the best local contractors could provide. Themed “Living in the Western Manner,” this one-of-a-kind home show explored ranch house potential.
From modern to traditional, the model homes bore evocative names such as “The Caribbean,” “California Modular” and “California Provincial.” Wrapped around the city’s then-new Bing Maloney Golf Course, the subdivision also had a catchy name: Golf Course Terrace Estates.
In September 1955, patrons could tour the homes, admire amenities such as coordinated pink or turquoise appliances and collect the builders’ contact information, right down to who did the inlaid linoleum flooring and which store furnished the sofas. After touring the houses, patrons pivoted to sales pavilions to pick and choose styles and home sites among the graded fields.
During its first weekend open, more than 37,000 potential buyers took part in this “Parade of Homes,” according to The Bee. By 1956, thousands of new houses filled the former cow pasture at Florin Road and 24th Street.
Today, that neighborhood marks its 60th anniversary along with its collection of mid-century architects debuted during the first Golf Course Terrace Parade of Homes. Organized by the neighborhood association, the free tour focuses on seven houses that embody 1950s home design.
“This street alone had a different builder for every house,” said Erin Gilbert, one of the organizers. “It was a who’s who of Sacramento builders.”
Among the home builders featured on the tour are Randolph Parks of Parkway Estates, Lewis & Bristow, Ralph Mertel, Wacker Construction, Telesco Realty Co., Frank W. Dutton and Schutt Construction. They incorporated distinctive touches such as whimsical lamp posts, irregular shake shingles and leaded glass windows. But they also showcased then-new concepts such as modular units, airy indoor-outdoor layouts and attached garages.
Included as part of the tour are reprints from the original “Parade of Homes” portfolio, lauding each house’s many extras such as “a brilliant array of the latest built-in automatic appliances” and an “exterior constructed of redwood board and batten, stone trim and native rock from Placerville.”
“There’s no other street in Sacramento like it,” said longtime resident Doreen Snyder, whose home will be featured on the tour. “Every house is different, but they’re not big homes.”
Positioned to attract young families, these mostly three-bedroom homes represented the American Dream, Sacramento style. With efficient yet open layouts, the houses range from 1,000 to 1,600 square feet. To postwar couples, it felt like affordable country club living with the new 125-acre municipal golf course just down the street.
“You still see some residents walking to the golf course in the morning with their clubs,” said Gilbert.
Snyder was among the thousands who took the original Parade of Homes tour. Just off Freeport Boulevard, the site had been cow pasture.
“There was a ton of people,” she recalled. “It was a really interesting occasion. The homes were all new with new ideas, something most people had never seen.”
Snyder toured her 56th Avenue house as a model home, but she didn’t buy it until 32 years later. That’s when she finally moved into the Golf Course Terrace neighborhood as cafeteria manager of the nearby elementary school.
“I remember looking at this house,” Snyder said of her home with its distinctive high beams and used brick entrance. “The dressers are built-in; that saves space. It originally had an all pink kitchen with the oven and stovetop pink, too.”
“Some of the homes still have their original cabinets and stoves,” said Gilbert, who moved into the neighborhood three years ago.
“We just loved the size of the homes, the size of the garage and the size of the backyard,” she said. “It’s such a great neighborhood. Many of the homes have great trees, too.”
Replenishing shade is a goal of the neighborhood association, she added. Several of the neighborhood’s original Modesto ash trees have died in recent years.
“Besides the homes, we also want to call attention to the trees,” said Gilbert, noting tree planting would be part of tour day. “We want to bring back the shade.”
Golf Course Terrace Parade of Homes tour
Discover a Sacramento gem near the Bing Maloney Golf Course and Executive Airport. Golf Course Terrace Estates Neighborhood Association celebrates the 60th birthday of its development with a tour featuring midcentury modern homes, shady streets and beautiful gardens.
Where: Start at 56th Avenue and Hogan Drive, Sacramento
When: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8