Photo: Mayor Johnson and Russ Solomon

Russ Solomon, founder of Tower Records, takes Mayor Kevin Johnson's tie at an event Thursday kicking off efforts to build a Tower Records archive. (June 21, 2012)

For more than 40 years, Tower Records was a gathering place, a cultural icon and an international music retailer.

Now, six years after they closed their record stores, there is an effort to preserve the history of Tower Records.

The company was founded in Sacramento in 1960 by Russ Solomon, and was named after the Tower Theater and the Tower drugstore in the same building. Solomon’s father owned the drugstore.

The first Tower Records store was along Watt Avenue. In 2006, Tower Records filed for bankruptcy and liquidated their stores and products.

Thursday morning, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and others attended an event kicking off efforts to collect Tower Records memorabilia. Solomon had a strict “no tie” policy at Tower Records headquarters, so Thursday he took Mayor Johnson’s.

It’s called the Tower Records Project, and the Center for Sacramento History is hoping to raise $300,000 to make Solomon’s collection of artwork, photographs and business records available to the public.

The collection would be available online as a digital archive, and could travel the country to different museums, or find a permanent home.

For more information about the project, head to