• A woman standing in a garden

      Chris Olson (Photo – Cheryl Cabot)

      Close to dissolution, the Alhambra Historical Society (AHS) was recently saved by a group of dedicated members.

      By Cheryl Cabot

      A new board of officers and trustees for the AHS were sworn in by Alhambra Mayor Jeff Maloney on Thursday, March 3 at 7:00 pm at Iona Work Spaces.

      The new officers are President Chris Olson, Vice President Michael McCollum, Secretary Joyce Amaro and Treasurer Joe Castillo. The new trustees are Oscar Amaro, Eugene Moy, Bruce Risher, and Jose Sanchez.

      Founded in 1966, AHS has gone through many changes, but none more significant and tumultuous than what led up to an entirely new Board of Directors being voted into office. In recent years the membership had begun to decline, in part because the former officers (and many of the older members) did not use computers, hence no e-mail to keep members informed of meetings or hold virtual meetings during the pandemic.

      This lack of communication became apparent when Chris Olson read the agenda for the City Council meeting in June 2021 which included an item for “AHS to turn over its assets and keys to the museum to the City.” Olson was shocked and soon realized that members of the AHS had not been notified of this dissolution. She asked the City Council for a legal opinion on this matter since the Society was established as a membership organization and California law requires a majority vote of the members before dissolution.

      The Council then set a meeting for August 26, 2021, at 10 a.m. at the Joslyn Adult Center to vote on the issue.  Once again messaging was a problem. Although e-mail and regular mail had been used to inform the members of the meeting, many of the addresses were not current. As a result, the turn-out was low.

      The agenda for the dissolution meeting stated, “Topics to be discussed: 1. Consideration of dissolution of the Alhambra Historical Society Inc. 2. Possible consideration of process for appointing new officers.”

      Representing only a small percentage of the membership, the vote was 15 to dissolve, 7 opposed and 3 abstentions.

      A building surrounded by entrance with flowers

      Alhambra Historical Society (Photo – Cheryl Cabot)

      Olson attended the meeting at the Joslyn Center and realized they had only discussed and voted on the dissolution and had not even brought up consideration of appointing new officers. She knew this was not legal and notified the City as well as members of the AHS about what was happening. As a result, the vote was disallowed and a process for appointing new officers and trustees began.

      AHS President Olson, spoke of the new Board’s direction at her swearing in. “We want to share the fascinating history of Alhambra and the San Gabriel Valley with new generations of Alhambrans. We are going to reach out to new members, we are going to speak to young people and we are going to widen the net.  We intend to find new ways of communicating and bringing new members onto the team.”

      The Historical Society Building is located at 1550 Alhambra Road. The building once housed a medical office and the doctor donated the building to AHS in 1986. The building was subsequently moved to a park at Alhambra Road and Bushnell, where it stands today.

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      1. Mary Ellen Goddard says:

        Is the Alhambra Historical Society still in business? I don’t see any news after March 2022 about them on line, and have tried to contact them with no result.

        • Chris Olson says:

          Hi Mary Ellen.
          Indeed, the Alhambra Historical Society is back in operation and we’re delighted by your interest. Our most recent event on January 26, 2023 was covered by Around Alhambra, the Pasadena Star-News, and ColoradoBoulevard.net. More than 100 members and guests attended the event, at which they learned about the history of Vans in Alhambra from the corporate archivist and historian Catherine Acosta. It was enthusiastically received.

          Our museum is staffed by volunteers and open to the public on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of every month from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Come and visit us at our next open day — February 18th. We’re located at 1550 W. Alhambra Road, Alhambra 91801

          You can also visit our new website: http://www.alhambrahistoricalsociety.org
          Or send us an email: alhambrahistsoc@att.net

          I look forward to hearing from you soon,
          Chris Olson, President, Alhambra Historical Society

      2. Steven Goss says:

        I`m glad your still around ! …as a young boy I rode in a parade with my parents Who were with the Optimiste club of Alhambra. I’ve wondered if there are any photos of those events. My father (Steven Goss) was a great friend of Mr. Gene Vandercook & my mother ( Gwen Goss ) was in the Optimist International when she passed away in 1960. Although we lived in Arcadia, my father had family connections in Alhambra.& supported the boys home

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