Jackson Browne, Before the Deluge
We wondered why so many Midtown Sacramento houses have tall, daylight basements and steep, front-yard staircases leading up to wide porches. Sacramento, built in the lowest part of the Sacramento Valley, has historically been vulnerable to flooding. In 1862 after weeks of heavy rain, catastrophic flooding of the Sacramento and American Rivers created an inland sea in the Central Valley, submerging Sacramento for months under 30’ of flood water.
The city responded to the devastation by launching a ten-year project that raised the level of Midtown neighborhoods. Houses that had not been swept away or destroyed by the flood were lifted up 10-15 feet. New regulations mandated that future building must include daylight basements firmly connected to heavy concrete posts, with steep stairs leading to the second story living quarters.
These “high-water bungalows” can be found for a hefty price in Midtown, Winn Park, Oak Park, and Lavender Heights.