Hot spot in the CBD

While there are a number (OK, a handful) of watering holes downtown where you can twirl your swizzle stick till 1 or 2 in the morning, Parlar Euro Lounge may be the only one with owners who live, work and play in the CBD (central business district). They really represent the new urbanites, says local developer Kipp Blewett about Sheena Stirling and her husband, Dale

Robertson, the 20-somethings who created three floors of swanky urban atmosphere at the corner of 10th and J streets and live in a loft a block and a half away. They opened the lounge about a year ago and serve food and drink to the smart set in almost every demographic. We have a wide array of people who come here, Stirling says. We have people in their 20s and 30s and people in their 50s and 60s. We see them all having a good time.

Robertson says he designed the space to be chic, sophisticated and comfortable. It is. He adds he and Stirling have had their fair share of urban-living lessons in the past year. We’ve had to learn about the changing face of downtown, he says. You go out on a limb and you don’t know if it’s going to work, but as time progresses, we see we’re all marching toward the same thing.

What lies beneath

Archaeologist Kim Tremaine sees a whole different downtown from the rest of us. While we look up and down the streets, she explores what’s under them. She’s crawled into 9-foot-deep crevices near Sixth and H streets, cataloged the vestiges of a prehistoric gathering spot in the blocks around City Hall and pieced together scraps of broken china from a 19th century outhouse near what is now the Crocker Art Museum. Almost invariably, when something historically significant makes it into the light of day, Tremaine & Associates Inc. of West Sacramento is on the scene.

Early this spring, Tremaine was finalizing a report about what she considers one of the most fascinating finds she’s ever made in the central city: prehistoric bones and other artifacts near City Hall.   

How long ago were people living in that area?

Between 4,000 and 8,500 years ago. I think 8,500 years is a pretty good number.

What did you find that you think belonged to them?
Well, we did find human remains and features that could have been storage pits or hearths&emdash;it’s hard to tell&emdash;and a lot of artifacts.

What kinds?
We brought out tons of rock. If you look at Sacramento soil, there’s barely a pebble. Every rock there was brought there. It amazed me there was that much.

What kinds of rocks?
Cooking rocks, tools for bashing and scraping, and bear-shaped crescents. (These stones, chipped into bear shapes, were designated California’s official State Prehistoric Artifact in 1991.) 

Taking the big-picture view, what’s really significant about this site?

City Hall is the earliest valley (gathering) site discovered. There are a couple that we know of in the foothills, and there may be some along the coast that are a little older, but this, for the valley, this is the oldest.