Archive for October, 2015

IMG_5884Well, it’s that time of year again! Despite our recent spate of record-breaking heat, the first signs of autumn are appearing all around us. Leaves are just beginning to turn; the first Halloween decorations are appearing on porches and in windows throughout our neighborhoods; our local store shelves are well stocked with an astonishing array of pumpkin items. Fall is truly upon us—and, with it, APG’s annual membership campaign!

This is the time of year when we ask you to contribute your financial support to our ongoing effort to preserve Alhambra’s past for its future through the enactment of sound and effective development policies that will incorporate historic preservation into planning and decision-making about the character of our city’s buildings and neighborhoods.

This year, we’re making it easier than ever to contribute to APG. Taking a page from Public Television, Radio, and scores of our community-based nonprofit counterparts, we have added a new “pledge” category to our membership payment options. Those choosing this option will have the opportunity to specify the amount of their gift and to spread it over 10 automatic monthly payments. This e-commerce service is safe, secure and accessible through our website. Understanding that cash flow is an important issue for most of us, our hope is that this new option will enable some of us to give at a higher level than might be practical with our traditional single-payment method.

Of course, for those who are most comfortable writing a single check, that option still remains. As in years past, simply choose your membership level or donation amount, fill in the Membership Return Card and send it back along with your payment.

So, please check your mailboxes for our annual mailed appeal and give as generously as you are able. To those of you who are not yet members, we promise you a year of fun, interesting, and educational opportunities for learning more about Alhambra’s rich history, architectural and cultural assets—even about your own home. To our many longtime supporters, we are honored by your commitment to historic preservation and by the confidence that you have placed in Alhambra Preservation Group to give voice to that commitment. In either case, we promise to work hard on your behalf and on behalf of our city and the proud heritage that is embodied in its remaining architectural treasures. For, once lost, these cannot be recovered. Please join us!

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IMG_3869Stand Up for Historic Preservation

On the night of May 11 of this year, 100 APG members and supporters “stood up” for historic preservation at the Alhambra City Council meeting. APG President Chris Olson gave a presentation advocating for Alhambra’s adoption of a preservation ordinance and delivered a packet of educational documents that included a sample historic preservation ordinance and APG’s Preservation Myths and Facts to each of the Alhambra City Councilmembers. She also challenged Alhambra’s council to hold a study session so they could learn more about the preservation of historic buildings. While the City Council has yet to schedule a study session on this issue, the update of Alhambra’s General Plan began in mid-May and the survey that was distributed to residents in June included questions about historic preservation.

Alhambra’s General Plan

IMG_5069You may be aware that our city is now engaged in the process of creating a new General Plan – one that will guide Alhambra’s growth and development for the next 20 years. During the open comment period that ended in July, APG organized three ice cream socials hosted by the owners of Heritage Award-winning historic homes. These casual events were models of citizen engagement, and they generated lively discussions about our visions for Alhambra’s future. The next step in Alhambra’s General Plan process is the release of the draft General Plan.  It looks like the City of Alhambra will host its next community meeting in January 2016. We will be sure to notify you once the draft plan has been released to the public for review.

How Can You Become an Advocate for Historic Preservation?

You can get involved by taking three actions:

  1. Learn about the benefits of historic preservation and think about what home or building is irreplaceable in your own neighborhood.
  2. Contact your Alhambra Councilmember and share your thoughts with them on preservation-related issues.
  3. Talk to your neighbors and friends about what you’ve learned and encourage them to also do Steps 1 and 2.

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Halloween.1919Today, Halloween with its haunted houses, fright fests and trick-or-treating are commonplace in America, but these ghoulishly fun fall antics weren’t always the norm. A century ago, this holiday was very different.

When this photo of a Halloween party was taken in 1919 at the Alhambra home of Elizabeth Reynolds on Huntington Drive, the All Hallows Eve holiday was more about the masquerade than getting the ba-jeebers scared out of you. The young adults in this photo were probably attending a Halloween costume party. The evening’s games may have included bobbing for apples, biting donuts off of a hanging string, and carving a jack o’ lantern or two. They may have even played a new Halloween game called The Shivers, which was introduced that same year in the New York Tribune. The Shivers was a game where different “wooly, slimey, cold or wobbly” items were passed around in total darkness among the party-goers. Anyone dropping one of the articles was out of the game. The menu at this Halloween party may have included Sandwich Imps (sandwiches cut in the shapes of demons, cats or owls), and a Jack O’ Lantern salad (hollowed out apples cut to look like jack o’ lanterns and filled with fruit salad).

It may sound strange, but tricks-or-treats or a visit to a haunted house would not have been part of the night’s festivities. Trick-or-treating didn’t begin in earnest until the 1930s in the United States. Haunted house attractions as we know them today began in the 1960s and 70s in the Midwestern cities of Louisville and Cincinnati. Despite the differences of a century ago, we’re sure of one thing. The word of Halloween night in Alhambra was, and always will be “Boo!”

What’s your favorite Alhambra Halloween memory? Share it with us in the comments section below.

Photo courtesy of Tom Geer.

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