Pocket Life October 2021
By Corky Mau
History For Sale
Time to explore rare piece of Old Pocket
One of the last undeveloped properties in Pocket is for sale. Asking price is $2.8 million. The four-acre parcel at 7150 Pocket Road includes a home built in 1881 and a horse barn. The parcel runs from Pocket Road (once Riverside Road) to the banks of the Sacramento River.
The land’s modern history begins with the Albert Mendes Rodgers family. Like many local pioneers, Rodgers arrived from the Azores. Born in 1849 on the island of Pico, he came to Sacramento around 1865. He married Rose Gear and raised a family on an 18-acre ranch near where Park Riviera Way intersects with Pocket Road.
By the late 1860s, many Portuguese families lived in the area. They turned swamps into farms, dairies and ranches. They built and maintained the levees and established ferries to cross the river. They constructed businesses, churches, social halls and schools. Portuguese was spoken at home and in the streets. Nicknamed “little Portugal,” this was a close-knit community.
After Albert Rodgers’ death in 1923, 11 acres of his ranch were sold to Manuel “Parola” Perry. The Rodgers’ children divided the remaining seven acres. Daughter Margaret Lee Machado got four acres, including her parents’ home. Originally constructed in 1881, more rooms were added in the early 1900s. Machado raised her own family of four children in the home.
In 1971, Machado sold her property to Robert Thomas Dias and his wife, Betty Lorbeer Dias. As part of the sale, Machado could live in her family home until her death (she died in 1978). The Diases never lived on the property they called “the Ranch.”
Grandson Matt Dias told me, “My grandmother drove her yellow pickup truck from their home in Greenhaven to the Ranch every day. She worked well into her 90s, tending to the numerous fruit trees, vegetable gardens and her animals. My cousins and I worked at the Ranch from the time we were young. We mended fences, repaired chicken coops and cleaned the horse barn.”
Pocket-Greenhaven was a farming community for more than 100 years. In the 1960s, real estate developers started buying the “swamp land” to build homes. A new community, Greenhaven 70, was developed first, followed by Greenhaven Lake homes in the 1970s. The major building boom came to Pocket in the 1980s.
During this time, Betty grew concerned about the homes surrounding the Ranch and the city’s plans to create a bike path along the levee. Before her death in 2017, you may have encountered Betty on the levee. She would politely inform people they were crossing her private property, though public agencies owned easement rights there for decades.
Few original structures remain today. There are nuggets of the past—Lisbon Elementary School—and street names: Sao Jorge, Souza, Portugal, Seamas, Silveira, Perera and Faustino. Garcia Bend Park, Eileen Dutra Park and Lewis Park are named after prominent pioneer families.
As I toured the property with Matt Dias, I imagined how idyllic the rural setting was a century ago. He says, “I wish I could buy the property and restore it to its former glory.” Perhaps the next owners will do just that.
CARS & BREW
It’s the final month for Device Brewing Company’s Classic Car Show at Promenade Shopping Center. Shows are Fridays, Oct. 1, 15 and 29, from 5–8 p.m. Hot rods, classic sports cars and vintage autos will line the parking lots. A “Trunk or Treat” event for all ages is Oct. 29.
AT THE ELKS
The Elks Parking Lot Sale takes place Saturday, Oct. 9, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Contact Jim Von Bergen at (305) 798-0668 for a vendor space ($25 each). No cost to browse.
An Arts & Craft Festival will be held Saturday, Oct. 23, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Purchase homemade crafts from local artists. Drewski’s food truck will serve burgers. Deadline for vendor space is Saturday, Oct. 9. Contact Pam Zanze at (916) 363-8227 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Corky Mau can be reached at email@example.com. Submissions are due six weeks prior to the publication month. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @insidesacramento.