Gardenland/Northgate Youth Preserving Their Present

THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz

It is no secret Sacramento’s north area has many stories to tell and local historians are taking note.

The surprise is the age of the chroniclers.

Thanks to a partnership with The GreenHouse and Sacramento Public Library, local teens are conducting video interviews capturing the local history of the Gardenland/Northgate area.

“The project is ‘Preserving Our Present: Sacramento Teens Share Their Stories’,” said Lana Adlawan, the project’s coordinator from the Sacramento Public Library. “Teens have gotten an education in how to interview people, how to video people. We’ve connected them with key people in the community to attain those skills.”

Adlawan said the Gardenland/Northgate neighborhood was the first in a series of be covered across Sacramento thanks to the partnership with The GreenHouse. The project is also supported, in part, by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, which is administered in California by the State Librarian.

“It started off as a project that Lana initiated,” said Kacie Stratton, founder and Executive Director of The GreenHouse. “She wrote a grant to be able to do this project, and was looking for some youth in the community to do the project with. She called us up and it seemed like an interesting project so we agreed to do this collaboration with her.”


The age of Gardenland/Northgate is deceiving thanks to the sprawling features of Northgate Boulevard.
The Gardenland area between Northgate Boulevard and the Western Pacific Railroad was originally subdivided in 1926. The Northgate area wasn’t originally subdivided until almost 30 years later in 1955 on the west side of Northgate Boulevard.

Both areas became part of the City of Sacramento in 1960 as the city expanded north, with North Sacramento eventually merging with the City in 1964.

Recreational amenities were also added to both neighborhoods by the city. Gardenland Park was dedicated in 1971, followed by Doyle Pool at Northgate Park in the early 1980s.

Development has been up and down in recent years, but that hasn’t stopped the teens from chronicling the area’s history.

“The teens have taken all the photos,” said Adlawan. “So far we have 1,100 photos of the neighborhood that we need to share. So we’ve been working on this project since February, just always going around to neighborhood parks. We have a lot of the Gardenland/Northgate park. The gardens that are next to this complex. Neighborhood photos. And we spent an afternoon at Grant High School taking photos.”

“The cool thing about the project is it’s going to be in the Sacramento Library in their archives forever,” said Stratton. “They love this idea that they’re doing a project that’s going to be something that people can look back on twenty years and go ‘oh, this is what it was like in this neighborhood twenty ago in 2012’, so they’re kind of capturing what it’s like now and preserving it for the future.”


The project also provides a method for teens to voice their opinions and concerns.

“One of the main points of this project is the teen’s everyday experience,” explained Adlawan. “If a teen was traveling around Gardenland/Northgate, what would they see? And that’s the documentary part of this. So Grant High School: what’s happening at Grant High School? What does it look like? How are the facilities for them? How are the parks?”

The teens took many photos of Gardenland park and Northgate park for a pre-movie introducing Councilmember Steve Cohn to the project.

“The parks are not so pretty,” said Karla Valdez, a Grant High School Student and participant in the Leaders in Training program at The GreenHouse. “The streets have lots of trash. We went to the library (Sacramento Room) and we saw pictures of what it used to look like and it looks way different than it does now.”
Cohn is looking to update both parks, something he shared with the teens.

“I liked his plans,” said Veronica Corona, a program participant who interviewed Cohn about his plans to update the parks. “I hope he follows through with what he says about his plans.”

If you’d like to share a story for this project, contact Lana Adlawan at [email protected].

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