A Little History
The Pocket area is named for its geographic location in a large meandering bend of the Sacramento River, at the south end of the city of Sacramento. It was annexed into the city in 1959. It is 5 to 7 miles south of the downtown, an easy bike ride on the levee and bikeways. And an easy urban commute.
Since the 1970’s Interstate 5 has been the east boundary of the area, which isolates it from its previous close neighbors in “Riverside” and South Land Park. The river is the western boundary, partnered with a levee, which exaggerates the bowl-like topography of the area.
The first inhabitants of the area were the MIWOK Native Americans. They lived or migrated as far north as the Mt Shasta area. Their burial grounds and artifacts were often found by early Pocket area settlers.
Those early settlers commonly built homes by the river while farming was done inland. The Pocket Road/ Riverside Roads were two of the few roads that served these early families. From the mid 1800’s to even the 1950’s this was a rural farming community. A great community effort turned swampland into land suitable for farming. Those people were mostly Portuguese immigrants from the Azores Islands, who arrived during California’s Gold Rush era. Their names are seen on our street names still. The Pocket area, and what are now the towns of Clarksburg and Freeport came to be known as a region; “Little Portugal”, the “Lisbon District” or “Portuguese Bend”.
The Pocket area also attracted a sizeable Japanese community after World War I. Their integration in the community was tested when whole families were forced into internment camps during World War II. They might have lost their homes, but both homes and property were often kept intact by their Portuguese neighbors and friends.
Before the suburbs we are used to, houses in our Pocket area were built for floods. Bedrooms were upstairs and kitchen downstairs ( or everything was upstairs ). Outside the house a grand staircase led up to that floor. Often a boat was lashed to the building itself, and looked out of place in the yard! However, during a flood the boat would help the inhabitants safely leave the house.
Dutra House in south Pocket was built around 1873 by John Curran, a rancher on a 78 acre lot stretching from the current site on Pocket Road to the river. Dutra family members owned it until the mid-1980’s. The restored Dutra house was completed 1986.
Joe F. Silva home stood from the 1860’s to the 1950’s in the location that today is the “Oak Shore” gated community in the South Pocket area. Dutra family members were the final residents there.
South Pocket area children attended lower Lisbon School ( on Pocket Road! ) in the Sacramento Lisbon School District (established 1873 by local Portuguese-Americans) from the 1870’s to the 1940’s. Yes, there was an Upper Lisbon School. It was on Riverside Boulevard where Park Riviera meets it. Lower Lisbon School was destroyed in the 1904 flood , then rebuilt–on stilts!!–lasting until 1940. The original Lisbon School sign is on display at the Discovery Museum in Old Sacramento.
Did you know?
Greenhaven Lake, to our north , is a manmade lake. Around 1854,the area was dug into for clay to make bricks for the “Sacramento Brick Company”. It was the first brick company in Northern California. Many bricks went to San Francisco in the early days , and then elsewhere until 1971!!
The Pocket area was known from 1883-1940 for Grainger’s Dairy ( south of the Brickyard ). In 1940 it was sold to Crystal Creamery.