Welcome to the Carter Sparks Archive
Frame House by David Toerge
This project originally started as a private repository for notes and research related to the Sacramento, California area architect, Carter Sparks. Sparks practiced a contemporary style of design from roughly the mid-1950's until the early 1990's. He was best known for his design work on behalf of the Streng Brothers designing "modern" tract homes. For more on Sparks' work and biography there is an excellent series written by David Weinstein for CA Modern Magazine. Additional research and information can be found on Gretchen Steinberg's Eichlerific blog.
The archive is deeply thankful to a myriad of helpful folks including, but not limited to, Carter Sparks' daughter, Jennifer Dare Sparks, Dodi Sparks, Gretchen Steinberg, Kris Liannin Lang, David Weinstein, Kerry Phillips, David Toerge, Don Wolf, Steve Streng and many passionate individual owners.
Of course, this catalog of works is still incomplete. There are more works out there, and some that are gone forever. One of the intentions of this archive is to catalog and bring awareness to Sparks' works so that they may be appreciated and saved when they are threatened.
Any and all additional information and stories are welcomed! Just email the archive at firstname.lastname@example.org and share.
Conversely, if you are the owner of one of these homes and feel the need to have specific information removed for privacy, please contact me and we'll see what we can do.
Thanks and enjoy!
- Justin Wood
About Carter Sparks
Carter Sparks is one of Sacramento's most widely-recognized, beloved, and celebrated architects. His largest body of work (over 3,000 homes) was for Streng Bros. Homes in the greater Sacramento area. He also designed dozens of custom homes.
Sparks studied engineering at Oregon State University before his studies were interrupted by WWII, during which he served as an ensign air navigator for the Navy. He resumed his studies after the war, and in 1950 earned a Bachelor of the Arts in Architecture from UC Berkeley. Sparks worked as a draftsman for two architectural firms in San Francisco: first for Mario Corbett, and later with Anshen and Allen (who designed homes for Joseph Eichler). In Sacramento, he was a designer with Gordon Stafford. After earning his state license, Sparks opened his own firm in 1954. He partnered with Donald Thaden for a few years, but primarily worked as a sole practitioner.