605 Sutter Street
605 Sutter Street
As most of you readers know, part of our museum is in a building that used to be the Wells Fargo Assay Office. Before us, the building was a soda works, before that a storage place for the Buffalo Brewing Company, and before it was the Assay office, it was a bank. Once buildings have been around awhile, they often morph into several different businesses, offices, gathering places, or even museums, many buildings on Sutter street have similar stories. They have multiple different histories attributed to different people and things that are all as interesting as the last.
So, this week I would like to reintroduce you to 605 Sutter Street. The last time we were here, 605 Sutter Street was a library ran by the Levy sisters its history as a library ended when the new (now old) library opened on Persifer street in 1960. The building sat empty for only a short period of time and then Adeliza McHugh took over in 1962 with the Candy Store Art Gallery. It was originally meant to be mostly candy store and partly art. Adeliza began the business venture as a way to sell her homemade candy, but her application to do so was denied so it became just an art gallery.
When the gallery opened, Adeliza was a 50 year old divorcee with no formal art background and even said in an interview that she was not all that interested in art when she started the gallery but her approach to the gallery proved that she had a natural talent for recognizing good art.
She started off by hosting artists from U.C. Davis and Sacramento State who were part of the Nut and Funk movements which had not been previously appreciated or exhibited before in addition to local favorites like George Mathis. It did not take long for the gallery to gain local attention for its unique space and art classes, but it gained worldwide attention in the art world when Vincent Price contacted McHugh in 1970. Yes, the actor known for many, many roles in the horror world. Besides being an actor, Price was known to be an art collector and he visited the gallery in February of 1970 and wrote an article about it which put the gallery in demand and on tour guides in both the United States and Europe.
After almost 30 years of success, Adeliza was 80 years old and ready for retirement. Right before Christmas in 1991, the Candy Store closed and Adeliza moved to Palo Alto to be with her daughter. She passed away in 2003 at the age of 91.
Since the closure of the Candy Store, Adeliza’s contribution to the art world has been celebrated time and time again with exhibits dedicated to the gallery and its artists. In 2005, the Folsom Historical Society paid its contribution with the exhibit Thirty Years of the Candy Store Gallery: A Tribute to Adeliza McHugh.