This image may be protected by Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.). Copyright restrictions applying to the reproduction and use of this image are available from the Sacramento Public Library.
In 1961, the State Highway Commission announced its plans for the completion of Interstate 5, extending from Mexico to the Canadian border. The city council unanimously supported putting the freeway on the Sacramento side of the river, thus wiping out “the remaining flophouses and firetraps of the blighted West End once and for all.” It would also serve the purpose of making it easier for commuters to reach the downtown district. The flaw in this plan however was that the proposed route would also demolish several historically important buildings. Among them would be the B.F. Hasting building which was the western terminus of the Pony Express, the Big Four building, and the original Sacramento Bee building. As news of the proposed route spread, local historical preservation groups “raised a ruckus, enlisting the aid of one of the city’s foremost citizens, Sacramento Bee publisher Eleanor McClatchy.” The Bee lobbied heavily for I-5 to go on one of the other proposed routes, which would take the route through the Yolo side of the river, hiring professionals to draw up plans showing how it could best be accomplished. But the city council held firm, though the public outcry did bring about some modifications from the state plan. “They agreed to curve the span slightly leaving intact those few blocks immediately surrounding the embarcadero.” This new plan ended up sparing Old Sacramento from being obliterated. (Source: “A Short History of Sacramento” by Dorothy Kupcha Leland)