• A house on a street

      One-of-a-kind Spanish Colonial home located on Alhambra’s South Electric Avenue. (Photo – Joyce Amaro)

      Local community groups and residents look forward to discovering Alhambra’s historical, architectural and cultural resources.

      By Joyce Amaro

      On September 26, 2022, the Alhambra City Council awarded a $276,480 contract to Pasadena-based Historic Resources Group for a street-by-street reconnaissance inventory of the entire city of Alhambra that will identify pre-1980 buildings and sites. Historic Resources Group will also search for properties that may be eligible for landmark status, document those properties with the state of California, and develop a preservation ordinance and historic preservation program for recommended adoption by the City of Alhambra. Community outreach and engagement activities will also be included as the survey, historic preservation program and ordinance are developed over the next two years.

      “Alhambra Preservation Group has been advocating, lobbying and fighting for this since our inception in 2003 – as has the Alhambra Historical Society since 1966. That’s a collective effort of nearly 80 years!” stated Oscar Amaro, Alhambra Preservation Group President. “Kudos to this lineup of Alhambra City Councilmembers who finally listened to residents, rather than developers. All that’s left to do now is to codify the findings of this survey and adopt an ordinance so that we can finally protect our city’s historic resources,” continued Amaro.

      This new citywide survey will expand the partial historic resources survey that was conducted in Alhambra in the early 1980s by Historic Resources Group, the same company that was just awarded the contract in late September. The 1984 Alhambra Historic and Cultural Resources Survey inventoried two Alhambra neighborhoods (the northwest Wuest Tract and the southern Ramona Park Tract) and 34 at-large pre-World War II structures. The nine-month effort documented 637 buildings and community design features. Within those 637 identified sites, 42 buildings and clusters were singled out as worthy of local landmark designation and 36 buildings were evaluated as potentially eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Despite the survey’s significant findings, the City of Alhambra took no action at that time.

      With its founding in 2003, Alhambra Preservation Group (APG) renewed the call for the preservation and protection of Alhambra’s historical and architectural resources. Home tours and a Heritage Home Award program sponsored by APG in the early 2000s provided Alhambrans with the opportunity to learn about their city’s historic neighborhoods and homes.

      “Many people don’t realize that Alhambra is one of the oldest cities in Southern California and its architecture reflects its dynamic history,” stated Chris Olson, President of the Alhambra Historical Society and Museum. “We’re looking forward to working with Historic Resources Group on this citywide survey. It will be exciting to discover more about our town’s architectural, cultural, and historical resources and the hidden history that this survey will bring to light.”

      > To learn more about Alhambra’s history and its architecture, visit the Alhambra Preservation Group and the Alhambra Historical Society and Museum.

      Joyce Amaro lives in Alhambra with her husband and son and serves on the board of directors for Alhambra Preservation Group, Grassroots Alhambra and the Alhambra Historical Society.

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