Houses of history

This weekend, news of Casa de Chaos’ possible fate started to spread.

For those unfamiliar with it, Casa is one of three longstanding “punk houses” located along 21st Street between P and Q streets. It’s been beloved for decades as a living space, music venue and safe haven for Midtown’s original core of punks, weirdos and misfits.

I lived a few blocks away in the ’90s, and remember it well from my college days. It wasn’t really my scene, yet I still hold a certain fondness for its endearing jankiness and its commitment to good music, bad beer and a spirited sense of bedlam.

Now, its future is in question.

The landlord recently informed tenants of plans to demolish all three houses, following an assessment that concluded they didn’t meet requirements to be declared a historic landmark.

I get it. Midtown’s changing. The chance for profit is huge. Still, these houses represent decades of Midtown at its most Midtown—before farm-to-fork, nightclubs and the arena.

On Wednesday, the Sacramento Preservation Commission was scheduled to meet at City Hall, with Casa supporters expected to show up for public comment. The goal: to contest the historic assessment evaluation. For those who couldn’t make the meeting, there are other ways to participate. For starters, contact the City of Sacramento’s preservation director, Roberta Deering, at by August 26 to ask the city to reconsider.

This isn’t just a matter of nostalgia; it’s about preserving this city’s gritty bones. I’m not against change, but there should be a balance—a respect for those who built the foundation.