When Sacramento Kings executives announced that Paul McCartney would open their new arena, they offered a nod to Sacramento’s own rock ’n’ roll history: Golden 1 Center’s interior would be decorated with a vintage neon sign from Tower Records.
That was just the warmup act.
The Kings announced Wednesday that Golden 1 will display old neon signs from five other historic Sacramento businesses as well, including coast-to-coast restaurant chain Shakey’s Pizza.
The display has come together through a collaboration between the Kings and the Center for Sacramento History. The signs, owned by the city, have been preserved for years by the historical center and represent a neon snapshot of Sacramento’s business and retail history dating as far back as the 1940s.
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“We’re thrilled to showcase these historic artifacts in the arena for years to come,” Kings President Chris Granger said in a statement.
The team previously announced it would display the Tower sign from the legendary music retailer’s original store on Watt Avenue. Also included in the collection are the original sign from the flagship East Sacramento restaurant of the old Shakey’s Pizza chain.
In addition, the arena will showcase signs from four other Sacramento companies that didn’t go national but were well known in Sacramento: Coronet Portraits, a yearbook photographer that folded in 2000; Franke’s Pharmacy, an East Sacramento institution that went out of business in 1991; Newbert Hardware in midtown, which closed in 1993; and Sleeper Stamp & Stationery, which closed in 1994.
“Instead of keeping the artifacts in our warehouse, our goal is to make them available to the public,” said Marcia Eymann, the city historian and director of the historical center. “The 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.”
The signs will be displayed in the southeast corner of the arena’s plaza-level concourse. The Kings replaced the broken neon glass tubes and brought the signs up to modern electrical code requirements.
Golden 1 Center opens Oct. 4 with a concert by McCartney.