Created By: NEWTON BOOTH NEIGHBORHOODS ASSOCIATION
*This free walking tour is comprised of excerpts from the pictorial history: Sacramento's Newton Booth and Poverty Ridge, which was authored by a neighborhood resident with support from the Newton Booth Neighborhoods Association (NBNA). This historical guide provides a broad view of the Poverty Ridge and Newton Booth neighborhoods from Gold Rush-era to the early 21st century. All author's proceeds from the sale of the book go to support our local non-profit, the Ella K. McClatchy Library Friends, which helps to organize and raise funds for reading programs and the structural maintenance of the historic Ella K. McClatchy Library branch. Thank you for your support!
The Poverty Ridge neighborhood is bounded by R Street to the North, Hwy 50 to the South, the 23rd Block to the East, and 19th Street to the West. Within the neighborhood is also the Poverty Ridge Historic District. In the early days of Sacramento, long before the levees were built, floods from the swelling Sacramento and American Rivers were a constant threat to inhabitants of the Capitol City. Local lore has it that during flood season, many riverfront residents would flee to the only high ground or hill within the City, where they would set-up a crude encampment until the flood waters retreated. The scene of this hastily built tent-city upon elevated-ground prompted the locals to coin the name - "Poverty Ridge," mostly due to the rough and unsightly nature of the camp. However, by the turn of the 20th Century, levees surrounded most of Sacramento and developers began to turn their attention to the undeveloped land along the prominent high point of the ridge. Soon the streets upon this hill were lined with beautiful and ornate mansions, thus becoming one of the most distinguished neighborhoods in all of Sacramento. The developers of these estates sought to rebrand the district with a more affluent name, "Sutter Terrace", but the name never stuck and people have continued to recognize the district as Poverty Ridge ever since. The neighborhood contains an eclectic blend of architectural styles, including Colonial Revival, Craftsman, Italianate, Eastlake, Queen Anne, American Foursquare, Tudor Revival, and Prairie School, to name a few. Notable residents included California's 23rd governor, Hiram Johnson, as well as famed architect, Rudolph Herold, who designed such buildings as the Sacramento City Hall, the Masonic Temple, and the Sacramento Hall of Justice. Sacramento Bee (McClatchy Newscorp) media moguls - Charles and Ella McClatchy, also decided to settle in Poverty Ridge, raising their children in a home designed by Herold, donated in later years by the McClatchy family to the City to be used as a children's library. The library still functions today and is largely supported by the non-profit organization, "Ella K. McClatchy Library Friends." National Book Award winning author and famed journalist, Joan Didion, also lived as a youth with her family in Poverty Ridge. Today, the Didion-Dolan home is considered by many to be one of the most authentically restored/preserved examples of early 20th century Colonial Revival and Prairie School style architecture in Central Sacramento.