Preservation Magazine, Summer 2017

Sacramento's Heilbron House Threatened by New Office Complex

Heilbron House in Sacramento.

photo by: Garret Root

In each Transitions section of Preservation magazine, we highlight places of local and national importance that have recently been restored, are currently threatened, have been saved from demolition or neglect, or have been lost. Here's one from Summer 2017.

August Heilbron, a German immigrant who became a Sacramento landowner, cattle rancher, and merchant, built this Second Empire–style house in 1881. After World War II, many of the stately homes in the city’s former West End neighborhood were razed to make way for government office buildings, and today the Heilbron House is one of the area’s last remaining historic structures.

It currently serves as office space for the California Department of Parks and Recreation. In January 2017, the state Department of General Services issued a notice of preparation to construct “one or several” buildings, for a total of 800,000 square feet of office space, on a site partially occupied by the Heilbron House. The state prepared a draft of an Environmental Impact Report in May.

Preservation Sacramento is advocating for the building to be preserved in place and reused, but if this doesn’t prove to be a viable option, the group would like to see the house relocated. As of press time, the house’s future was uncertain.

Update: Since press time, the state conducted an Environmental Impact Report and intends to retain the Heilbron House in its location on the corner of 7th and O streets and complete renovations at a future date.

Katherine Flynn is a former assistant editor at Preservation magazine. She enjoys coffee, record stores, and uncovering the stories behind historic places.

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