Alkali Flat is the oldest remaining neighborhood in Sacramento. Most of the older buildings were built between 1853 and 1869. At that time the most prominent of Sacramento's elite lived here. By the 1920’s, the neighborhood was home to Irish immigrants as well as a growing number of Mexicans. About this time the area got its name due to a white powdery substance that once coated the ground, a result of salt ocean tides that overflowed into the area through Sutter Slough. Mansion Flats got its name from the Historic California Governors Mansion Located at 16th & H Streets.
By the 1950s the area fell into disrepair and become the focus of redevelopment efforts. Alkali Flat and Mansion Flats was rezoned C-4 heavy commercial and many businesses moved in such as KCRA Television. The County of Sacramento also used the area to build badly needed office space and a large number of parking lots. Many Latinos moved here at this time after being displaced by redevelopment efforts in the Capitol Corridor and the area now known as Old Sacramento which was "cut off" due to the construction of I5.
In the late 1960's The Royal Chicano Air Force (RCAF) became one of Alkali Flat’s most influential groups.
On February 10, 1972, the Sacramento City Council adopted the 30-year “Redevelopment Plan Alkali Flat Project No 6” and rezoned the area as residential. This began a movement to preserve the history of the area.
In the 1990s a number of historic homes were moved to the area, contributing to area Infill which continues today. The area has many historic districts, Alkali Flat West, Alkali Flat South, Alkali Flat North, Alkali Flat Central, C Street Commercial and the Old Washington School District .
The Redevelopment Agency’s strategy for Alkali and Mansion Flats was based on continuing the rehabilitation and revitalization of the area’s vintage residential neighborhoods, supporting commercial uses, and reviving this great community. This strategy principally focuses on:
Preserving History: As the area’s first residential enclave, Alkali and Mansion Flats is rich in historic structures. In addition to the Globe Mills and other historic commercial buildings, the area is home to many distinctive Victorian structures. The Association will champion the preservation and/or rehabilitation of these one-of-a-kind structures.
Enhancing the Neighborhood: Another strong focus is to continue to work toward the development of an economically viable area that possesses strong housing stock, new and successful businesses, rehabilitated commercial buildings, and a self-sustaining community structure that can provide a resource base for Alkali and Mansion Flats residents and business owners. Public and private investments will be encouraged to promote new development in the area while helping to enhance existing businesses.