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Old MacDonald’s Farm

Paul Guyer’s art work of this famous sign.

A while back I was talking with our good friend Vic and she knew I was in the process of restoring the Idaho Motel sign. Vic recommended that I try to get a hold of the “Old MacDonald’s” restaurant sign. She told me she remembered eating there when she was young and how back then it was a rambling farmhouse family restaurant with what would be called today a petting zoo out front. They had goats and lambs and, gosh, chickens running around out front. The funny thing is that we picked up the Idaho sign just down the street from where the MacDonald’s Farm sign is standing on highway 16 (Jackson Rd.). Mel called the place of business where the sign is located and was advised it was not their sign. They said it belonged to the Cordova Golf Course.  Mel then called the golf course and they advised her that the sign is the responsibility of the Cordova Recreation & Park District. Mel spoke to a gentleman who said that this sign is a “historical landmark” for Sacramento. Mel then explained to him who we are and how we want to purchase the sign to restore it before it is a blank piece of metal. He then proceeded to tell us we were not the first people to ask about it and that there would be a long process to file a request and to check back in two months. It amazed me that this is some kind of landmark but it’s obvious that it isn’t being maintained or cared for. At this point I am not willing to let this just go. It is now my mission to get this sign and restore it. I will keep you abreast of my efforts.

Here is someone’s recollection of this restaurant:

My family and the owners of the restaurant were long time friends and My first job ever was busing tables, washing dishes, and feeding the animals. They had a petting zoo out back and peacocks out front. They were from Spain and their names were Joe and Palmera Velatagui. Really nice people! The restaurant was about a quarter-mile in from the sign. It was beautiful living in the country back then but, a funny story, I remember one time feeding the animals as I emptied a bag of feed looked to My side to see a billy goat with half My shirt tail down his throat. They will try to eat anything! Joe passed away somewhere around “75” and the last time I stopped by to see Palmera was in “78”. I’ve lived in so-cal since then. God bless them, They were good people.                                                     Source:

As you can see the more time that passes the less paint that will be left on the sign and it will become harder to restore.

So now I will ask for your help (click on “help” link and send them a recommendation to have Hepcat Restorations save this sign). You can copy and paste the following into the message section:

Message subject:

Old MacDonald’s Farm Sign Jackson Rd

Enter your message:


I’d like to request that Hepcat Restorations be given the opportunity to purchase and restore the Old MacDonald’s Farm Sign located on Jackson Rd. (Hwy 16).

The above is all that is needed, but feel free to add anything else you want. Rancho Cordova parks and recreation has our contact information. I need help to motivate these folks to get this sign into someone’s hands who can save it. If any of you know someone in Rancho Cordova parks and recreation who can help move the process along that would be great. Or, please voice your concern that unless someone restores this sign it will be another memory lost in time.

Here she is in all her glory.


22 responses »

  1. Would love to see that sign restored! I see it quite often on my travels. I wish you luck in that fantastic endeavor.
    Tami at


  2. Ahh Hepcat, you’ve got me nearly in tears. Omigosh, I really never thought you’d take my talk about that sign seriously. After all, it was just a great memory from my childhood. But the place really was a big part of so many old Sacramento families. Omigosh, I’m going to get on this because I want YOU to do it the justice it deserves. Omigosh. How many times have I said Omigosh now?! Omigosh. I’m on this! THANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOU!


    • Hey Vic,
      Well, you inspired me. Mel and I drive by the sign all the time and I think about our talk every time. The bad thing is all the red tape we have to cut through to get the sign. So, I really appreciate all your help and support on this. The guy said it will be a long process but I am willing to do what it takes. Maybe your friends and family can send a quick note to them as well through the link on the post? :).


  3. Ok, it’s a new day & after the utter excitement of the initial surprise – and JOY – I wonder…
    A – That’s one big honkin sign
    B – How do you plan to get it from point A to point B!
    C – WHERE will you put it when you get it to point B and…
    D – What are you going to do with it?

    OH, GAWD NO….NOT the new bedroom?!

    I posted your link on my Facebook & asked all my SacTown friends to help & re-post and I’ll keep passing the word to everyone I know.

    Keep us posted!


    • Let me take a moment to answer these great questions:

      A- yes it is.
      B-I can hire someone to move it to my home (I did the same thing with the Idaho sign)
      C-I will first put it outside and clean it up to remove all the debris and insects that live in it. Then I would separate both side of the sign from the center body. My plan is restore both sides and then donate one to a museum in Sacramento.
      D-I plan to hang it on the wall in the bedroom or in the diner.

      I appreciate all your efforts Vic. I hope I can get the sign and make everyone proud.


      • I am going to be speaking to the Rancho Cordova Park District at their meeting on April 17, 2013, in regards to the Old MacDonalds Farm Restaurant Sign. I am on the Board of the Rancho Cordova Historical Society. If your offer of purchasing the sign, restoring it, and then donating one side back to a museum, in this case a Historical Society, please contact me ASAP. I’m sure we can work together on this project.


  4. Oh yeah, you MUST get a hold of this sign! After your work on that vending machine I can only imagine how gorgeous this sign is gonna look! Off to leave a comment!


  5. Pingback: Old MacDonald Farm Sign UPDATE! |

  6. My father was stationed at Mather AFB in the early 60’s and we used to eat here all the time. My favorite thing was the 3 myna birds that had quite a vocabulary!!


    • Hey Tom! I wish someone had pictures of the original sign. We’re making a lot of progress with getting the sign donated to the Rancho Cordova Historical Society. It’s looking like we’ll be restoring the sign for them. Let me know if you have any original sign pictures.


  7. Pingback: Old Macdonald’s Farm Sign Arrival! | Hepcat Restorations

  8. Hi, I’m the guy Who used to work there.Glad You were able to get the sign. don’t forget the neon part. looking forward to seeing pics of it lit up when it’s done.


  9. I can’t wait to see this when it’s done!


  10. My father was stationed at Mather AFB in the early 60’s and we used to eat here all the time. Every time I drove by the sign I would have good memories of the animals and peacocks and of course the good food! I am so happy you are restoring the sign. I hope you will post photos. Thank you!



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