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Lindaraxa Park Pillars Ribbon CuttingThe call came in early one morning in 2016 – one of the Lindaraxa Park pillars had been hit and destroyed by a drunk driver. Lindaraxa Park residents were concerned and worried. What was going to happen to the other pillar? Would the City restore them? Would both pillars be torn down?

Lindaraxa.Park.Ad.1912Lindaraxa Park residents and Alhambra Preservation Group representatives got to work – meeting with City of Alhambra representatives about restoring the pillars and combing through back issues of the Alhambra Advocate to try and find photos of the pillars. “We spent many hours at the library going through turn-of-the-20th-century issues of the old Alhambra Advocate newspaper,” said Joyce Amaro, Alhambra Preservation Group President. “While we never did find a photo of the current-day pillars, we found many advertisements – some of them full-page ads – for ‘Court Lindaraja.’ It was breathtaking to see what developers originally had in mind for this neighborhood.”

While APG representatives researched the original pillars, the City of Alhambra secured an architect and contractor to restore the destroyed pillar and retrofit and rebuild the one remaining. The bricks from the destroyed pillar were saved and used to build a new one that included wood beams. The result is the restoration of both pillars that create a walking entrance for Lindaraxa Park on the north side of Lindaraxa Park Drive, at the intersection of Granada Avenue. Residents believe that there was at least one other pair of identical pillars on the west side of Lindaraxa Park. Unfortunately, they no longer exist. Lindaraxa Park residents are hoping to raise the needed funds and work with the City of Alhambra to restore all of Lindaraxa Park’s original entrance pillars.

And so it was on a rainy afternoon in late March that the City of Alhambra hosted a ribbon cutting for the newly restored pillars. Lindaraxa Park residents, council members and city staff were on hand to celebrate between rain showers. “We applaud the City’s decision to restore Lindaraxa’s pillars as they are an important historical characteristic of the Lindaraxa Park neighborhood,” continued Joyce Amaro. “The fact that the City of Alhambra was willing to allocate funds for the pillars’ restoration is an indication that the City’s views towards the importance of preserving Alhambra are changing.”

Photo courtesy of Alhambra Preservation Group.

Lindaraxa.park.signWhen Lindaraxa Park was first developed in the early 20th Century, Alhambra was a vastly different city. Like many surrounding communities, Alhambra was comprised of orange orchards with large Victorian farmhouses dotting the landscape. Lindaraxa Park was no different. Originally a portion of the Alhambra Tract, which was purchased by Alhambra’s founder, Benjamin “Don Benito” Wilson in 1854, the area was filled with citrus orchards belonging to Sunkist founder, Francis Q. Story.

Lindaraxa.Park.Ad.Feb.1914This area located in northeast Alhambra was sub-divided and developed in the early 20th century by the Alhambra Construction Company. Elaborate full-page advertisements in a special holiday advertising section of the Alhambra Advocate generated interest. In keeping with the city’s use of Moorish names, the new development was named Court Lindaraxa. This name was taken from Washington Irving’s book Tales of the Alhambra, from which Alhambra was named. Lindaraxa was a Moorish princess who had an apartment and garden in the Alhambra, a Medieval palace located in Granada, Spain.

Lindaraxa Park made headlines earlier this year when a set of its entrance pillars located at the corner of Granada Avenue and Lindaraxa Park North Drive were restored. One of the pillars had been destroyed by a drunk driver in 2016 and the residents of Lindaraxa Park and Alhambra Preservation Group worked with the City of Alhambra to rebuild and restore the century-old pillars. Lindaraxa Park residents and the City of Alhambra celebrated the newly rehabilitated pillars in March with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Like the Moorish beauty it was named for, today Lindaraxa Park boasts some of Alhambra’s most diverse and beautiful architecture – Spanish Colonial Revival homes, Mission Revival homes, American Colonial Revival homes, Storybook Cottages – all surrounding a quaint neighborhood park. Lindaraxa Park’s unique character makes it one of Alhambra’s most distinctive and attractive neighborhoods – one worth preserving and protecting.

Langham.Hotel.Tour

By Barbara Beckley, Vice President

Alhambra Preservation Group (APG) hosted a free guided tour of the historic Langham Huntington hotel in Pasadena – and everyone came! More than 60 APG members and non-members came from throughout Southern California to enjoy our winter outing on Saturday, March 3 at the Langham Huntington Hotel.

Combining fun with our mission to highlight the historic architecture of Alhambra and its surroundings, we were thrilled at the overwhelming interest of history and architecture enthusiasts who came from Alhambra, San Marino, Fullerton, La Canada-Flintridge (five lovely Delta flight attendants), Glendale, West Los Angeles and as far as away as Rancho Cucamonga to experience the glory of our area’s most venerable hotel, opened in 1907.

We were also pleased that it provided a wonderful opportunity to familiarize these like-minded folks with the work of Alhambra Preservation Group. We signed up many people to receive our newsletter and future event information.

The Langham was a most gracious host. Suzie Tadevossian, Langham guest services manager, welcomed our group, followed by remarks from APG board member Susan Bejeckian and APG vice president Barbara Beckley.

Langham.Tour.2Then it was off on the tour. We were divided into three groups of 20 each, to provide a more intimate tour experience. Each of the three lovely Langham Service Stylists: Cherylin Baines, Andres Jackson and Aileen Ventura, provided history, insight and even a bit of gossip as they led us through the public rooms, gardens, across the Picture Bridge (which is undergoing renovation, but replicas of the original paintings will be back and the originals safely protected) and past the private villas. This was the first time many of the participants had experienced the hotel, even though they knew of its landmark status.

Afterward, most everyone stayed for tea or early cocktails, enjoying the elegant ambiance and making new friends. Many of the out-of-towners planned on driving through the area, and I gave directions to Alhambra’s nearby iconic buildings including the Carmelite Monastery, the Norman Rockwell studio home and the Father of the Bride home. A good time was had by all – providing proof of how important it is to preserve and protect our historic assets.

In case you missed this event, The Langham Huntington offers free, two-hour Service Stylist-guided tours daily at 2 p.m.

Photos courtesy of the Langham Huntington Hotel.

2018As we kick off a new year, Alhambra Preservation Group is excited about the activities, programs and initiatives planned for 2018!

City of Alhambra Historic Preservation Program – With the City of Alhambra beginning the process of developing a historic preservation program, APG will be focused primarily this year on working with the City of Alhambra to ensure that the city’s historic preservation program includes elements that preserve and protect Alhambra and works for our unique community. We’ll provide periodic updates and make sure everyone is aware of any upcoming City of Alhambra-hosted community meetings.

Huntington Langham Hotel Tour – For our winter field trip, we’ll be touring the Huntington Langham Hotel on Saturday, March 3. Join us for this free tour of one of the San Gabriel Valley’s most popular landmarks.

“Quiet on the set! Action!” – APG is working on a series of educational videos that we’ll debut in the spring. These short 1-minute videos will focus on educating residents about Alhambra’s historic neighborhoods, their unique cultural resources and the need to #PreserveAlhambra!

Neighborhood Steward Program – In the summer, we’ll kick off a new initiative we’re calling our Neighborhood Steward Program. We’ll pilot this initiative in several historic tracts in Alhambra with a few “Preservation Picnics.” It’ll be a way for us to create more community here in Alhambra, teach residents about their historic neighborhoods and the benefits of historic preservation.

City Council Candidates Forum – On November 6, Alhambrans will go to the polls to elect three new city council members. To make sure voters have the opportunity to meet the candidates and learn their positions on the major issues facing our city, APG will once again partner with the Pasadena League of Women Voters and host the 2018 City Council Candidates Forum.

This year is shaping up to be an exciting year for Alhambra Preservation Group! Become a member and join this vibrant group that is protecting neighborhoods, building community and preserving Alhambra!

Photo courtesy of marketingland.com.

Huntington_Langham.bw

DUE TO AN OVERWHELMING RESPONSE, THE TOUR IS FULL!

Update: Due to the overwhelming response, we are limiting the tour to the first 60 people who check in at the hotel lobby. Once we reach the 60 person cap, unfortunately we will have to turn people away and ask them to return another day. But remember! This tour is offered daily by the Langham Huntington Hotel and if you are turned away on March 3, you can take the same great tour at a later date. While we are thrilled that so many people are interested in touring this historic hotel, we underestimated the level of interest in an event of this kind and are needing to limit the number. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

It’s been a famed Pasadena landmark for more than 100 years in Pasadena, offering guests enchanting hospitality since 1914. To celebrate the hotel’s tenth anniversary as a Langham property, the public has the opportunity to take a historical property tour of the Langham Huntington Hotel.

Join Alhambra Preservation Group on a tour of this historic hotel on March 3, 2018. The tour is free and gives attendees an overview of the hotel’s history, its elegant ballrooms and lounges as well as its beautiful gardens and courtyard and pool area.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

2:00 p.m.

The Langham Huntington Hotel

1401 South Oak Knoll Avenue

Pasadena, CA 91106

Valet parking is available for $6 with validation from one of the hotel’s restaurants. There is no street or self-parking available. Carpooling is encouraged. Please meet in the hotel’s main lobby.

Please contact info@alhambrapreservation.org if you have any concerns or questions. Do not contact the hotel directly. Thank you!

Photos courtesy of Wikipedia and the Langham Huntington Hotel.

Marcello.LA.ConservancyClose to 100 people were in attendance at the City of Alhambra’s kick-off community meeting on December 12, 2017 regarding the development of a historic preservation program. Dozens of members of the Alhambra Preservation Group, as well as a representative with the Los Angeles Conservancy, were in attendance to provide input and feedback to the City of Alhambra regarding which elements need to be included in the City’s historic preservation program.

“We are pleased that the City of Alhambra is finally recognizing the value of preserving and protecting its cultural, historical and architectural resources,” stated Joyce Amaro, President of the Alhambra Preservation Group. “APG is excited to be an active partner in developing a preservation program that fits our unique community,” continued Amaro.

During this kick-off meeting, City of Alhambra Director of Development Services, Marc Castagnola provided a presentation on the development of a historic preservation program and the input being solicited by the City of Alhambra. After the presentation,  attendees were separated into four different working groups to provide input into what elements need to be included and what issues needed to be addressed in the development of a historic preservation program for Alhambra.

“After so many years of talking with Alhambrans about the benefits of historic preservation, it was gratifying to me to witness the very positive response of our citizens to this issue in the General Planning process,” said Christine Olson, Alhambra Preservation Group’s immediate past President. “I was pleased that the City responded with the December public meeting and I look forward to more substantive meetings in the near future,” continued Olson.

The City of Alhambra welcomes additional input regarding this program. Alhambra Preservation Group is in the process of drafting a position letter on the development of Alhambra’s historic preservation program. If you were not able to attend the December 12 meeting, but would like to provide input, please visit the City’s historic preservation program web page.

APG.Board.2011This is an exciting time for Alhambra Preservation Group. We’re on the cusp of adopting a preservation ordinance here in Alhambra, and we need your help in ensuring that Alhambra keeps moving forward towards adopting legislation that will protect our historic homes, businesses, churches and schools. We’re looking for a few members who are interested in taking the next step and serving on APG’s board of directors.

Will you consider helping Alhambra Preservation Group and Alhambra? We’re looking for a few talented and conscientious volunteer board members to lead and strengthen our organization. If you can contribute your time, thoughtfulness and leadership one evening a month for meetings and a few hours a month for programs development and implementation, please e-mail us at info@alhambrapreservation.org to learn more and find out if this volunteer opportunity is right for you. We’re especially looking for folks with an interest in local history and are familiar with Word and Excel. Knowledge of social media platforms like Facebook or Constant Contact would be a plus!

Thanks and we look forward to hearing from you!