Archive for September, 2020

In anticipation of the November 3 general election, two virtual Alhambra Candidates’ Forums will take place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, October 6, 2020 and Thursday, October 8, 2020.

The Community and Candidates Forum on October 6 will feature Alhambra City Council candidates and will include questions from the community. All City Council candidates were invited to participate in the forum.

In City Council District 3, incumbent Council Member Jeff Maloney and challenger Chris Olson will participate. In City Council District 4, incumbent Mayor David Mejia and challenger Sasha Renée Pérez will participate. Mr. Karsen Luthi, a candidate in the City Council District 4 race, declined the invitation to attend.

California Senator Susan Rubio representing the 22nd senate district will provide the keynote welcome with the Pasadena area chapter of the League of Women Voters moderating the forum. To register to attend this free event on October 6, please visit the Community and Candidates Forum Eventbrite page.

Two nights later, on Thursday, October 8, the Kids and Candidates Forum will focus on candidates running for Alhambra Unified School District’s (AUSD) School Board and will also include questions from community members. There are races in three of AUSD’s five school board seats. All Alhambra School Board candidates were invited to participate in the forum.

The school board candidates who will be attending include challengers Dr. Marcia Wilson (District 1), Ken Tang (District 2) and Kaysa Moreno (District 3). As of the posting of this article on September 29, Alhambra Unified School District Board incumbents Wing Ho (District 1), Jane Anderson (District 2) and Patricia Rodriguez-Macintosh (District 3) had declined the invitation to participate.

AUSD Superintendent Denise Jaramillo will provide the keynote welcome and student leaders from our AUSD high schools will moderate the forum. To register to attend this free event on October 8, please visit the Kids and Candidates Forum Eventbrite page.

Alhambrans are invited and encouraged to participate in these two free virtual town hall-style meetings to meet the candidates and learn where they stand on key issues facing Alhambra.

Both forums will include live Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese translations.

If you would like to submit potential questions for either the City Council Candidates Forum or the AUSD School Board Candidates Forum, please send your questions via e-mail to education@alhambrasource.org. You may register for the events by visiting the Alhambra Source.

A coalition of Alhambra community based organizations comprised of the Alhambra Source, Alhambra Latino Association, Alhambra Preservation Group and Alhambra Visa Boosters, is partnering with the League of Women Voters, Pasadena Area and local high school students to produce these two virtual candidates forums.

The goal of both candidates forums is to give Alhambra City Council and AUSD School Board candidates the opportunity to discuss the various issues affecting Alhambra and provide residents with an opportunity to hear their positions on issues.  Given the many issues facing our city, the coalition invites all Alhambrans to attend this event and receive the information they need to cast an informed vote.

The general election will be on Tuesday, November 3, 2020. Due to COVID-19, California will send mail-in ballots to all registered voters. For information on how to register to vote or to check your current voter registration information, please visit Vote.org.

Graphic courtesy of the Alhambra Source.

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This year we are focusing on 1920s Alhambra. In this issue, we shine the spotlight on three of Alhambra’s neighborhoods that were developed and “grew up” in the 1920s – Emery Park, Mayfair and the Orange Blossom Manor Tracts.

All three of these 1920s neighborhoods include homes that feature the architectural styles that were prevalent in the 1920s – Spanish Colonial Revival, Storybook, American Colonial Revival, Tudor Revival, the English Cottage, among others. Architecturally, the 1920s was a time when there was a style for every taste, and all those “styles” can be still be found in present-day Alhambra neighborhoods – nearly a century after they were built.

Emery Park

The official opening day celebration for Emery Park was held on Sunday, February 26, 1922. Emery Park was a brand new subdivision, created from an area west of Fremont Avenue and south of Main Street, that had been annexed to the City of Alhambra in 1908. It had once been known as Dolgeville – Alfred Dolge’s model manufacturing suburb. 

An Emery Park advertisement.

More than 1,000 people attended Emery Park’s opening day event, which was sponsored by the real estate development firm of Meyering & Lawrence.  Many of them traveled from downtown Los Angeles on buses hired by the company.  A free lunch was served as an enticement, and prizes were given away to buyers – handy domestic items that homeowners might need – like sewing machines, rocking chairs, table lamps and coffee percolators. 

It must have been quite an impressive sight on that beautiful, late winter day, to see the more than 500 acres of Emery Park from a viewpoint near the top of the hill!  One writer described his own experience of seeing the new subdivision for the first time: 

 “The view was so beautiful it shocked me – shocked me and thrilled me.  Below was unfolded a panorama of unforgettable loveliness.  It seemed such a different world I had to consult my watch to realize that twenty minutes before we had been held up by a traffic jam at Sixth and Olive.  Peaceful Alhambra lay to the right, and far over on the left her autocratic sister, Pasadena, flaunted her charms.  A green carpet rolled out from our feet, straight away to the backdrop – the mountain range, over which hung a purple haze.  And rising out of this purple was Mt. Baldy, like a white-haired old vet, snowcapped, magnificent.”

Writer Unknown

Twenty-two lots were sold that first afternoon alone.  A grading camp was established on site, and work began on the construction of streets and roadways within Emery Park.   Poplar Blvd was already paved, but it was widened so that the new tract could be connected to the main business district in Alhambra. 

Fast forward nearly a century and many of the homes that were built in Emery Park remain there today. Driving up and down Emery Parks’ streets, one will still find Spanish Revival, Pueblo Revival, Colonial Revival, Tudor Revival and Storybook homes.


Named after one of the most elegant and expensive sections of the city of London, Alhambra’s Mayfair Tract is 63 acres in size, bounded by San Marino Avenue on the north, Valley Boulevard on the south, Garfield Avenue on the east, and 6th Street on the west.

By the 1920s, Mayfair remained one of Alhambra’s last major undeveloped land tracts. The only other large areas of land that still remained were the Graves and Bean orchards in the northeastern portion of the city. With the newly built Garfield Theater just down the street and new businesses popping up all along Valley Boulevard, which had recently changed names from Ocean to Ocean Boulevard, one can understand the appeal of Alhambra’s Mayfair Tract.

A 1946 photo of the home on S. 4th Street.

One of Mayfair’s most beautiful homes is a Tudor Revival on South 4th Street. Built in 1929, this home, constructed for $5,900, was the first residence built on this block. It most likely served as the tract’s model home.

Today, the Mayfair tract remains one of Alhambra’s most intact historic neighborhoods. Driving through Mayfair, one will see many Spanish Colonial Revival, Tudor Revival, and Storybook-styled homes. And, like Emery Park, in Mayfair one will find an attractive mixture of the many architectural styles that were prevalent in the 1920s.

Orange Blossom Manor Tract

The last neighborhood we’re showcasing is the Orange Blossom Manor Tract in northeastern Alhambra and which boasts some of Alhambra’ most beautiful homes. The boundaries of the Orange Blossom Manor Tract are Alhambra Road on the north, Grand Avenue on the south, Almansor Street on the west, and Hidalgo Avenue on the east. Almansor Street between Grand Avenue and Alhambra Road is unofficially known as Alhambra’s Millionaire’s Row with several stunning 1920’s revival-styled homes.

Before it was known as the Orange Blossom Manor Tract this area of land was owned in the late 1800’s by Francis Q. Story, one of Alhambra’ Founding Fathers. Story was a highly successful entrepreneur, who was known as “the Father of the Sunkist Orange” having developed the iconic campaign just after the turn of the 20th century. His citrus orchards stretched from the Alhambra Arroyo eastward toward San Gabriel.

Victor “Clyde” Forsythe
painted by Norman Rockwell

During the 1920’s, Mr. Story began to sell off his many acres of orchard land, and local real estate developers snapped them up to create housing tracts. One of these was the Orange Blossom Manor Tract – so named after the home of famed artist Victor “Clyde” Forsythe and still located at the corner of Alhambra Road and Almansor Street.  Some of the most prominent Alhambrans of the 1920’s and 1930’s lived in this exclusive neighborhood.

The varied architectural styles of the homes in this area are reflective of the post World War I period of their construction. The Orange Blossom Manor Tract features a diverse collection of architectural styles, including stately Mid-Atlantic Colonials, sturdy Dutch Colonial Revivals, stunning Spanish Colonial and Mission Revivals, and quaint English Cottages.

In a city that has experienced the destruction of many historic homes, it is important to note that these three Alhambra neighborhoods remain almost completely intact. When you visit Emery Park, Mayfair or the Orange Blossom Manor tracts, you’ll see these neighborhoods almost exactly as they appeared in the late 1920s – a testament both to the excellent quality of the homes and to the commitment of their residents in retaining the original charm and character of these three historic neighborhoods.

Thank you to Chris Olson, past president of Alhambra Preservation Group, for her contribution to this article.

Editor’s Note: This concludes Alhambra Preservation Group’s series on the 1920s. We hope you have enjoyed reading about 1920s Alhambra as much as we’ve enjoyed focusing the spotlight on the beautiful 1920s architecture that can still be found in Alhambra.

Photos courtesy of Alhambra Preservation Group.

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Measure V will promote integrity, honesty, fairness and transparency in Alhambra elections

By Oscar Amaro, President, Alhambra Preservation Group

On your mail-in ballot, you’ll see Measure V – Alhambrans for Election and Campaign Finance Reform. Alhambra Preservation Group endorses Measure V, and I strongly encourage you to vote Yes on Measure V. Here’s what Measure V will do for Alhambra:

  • Measure V will improve representation
  • Measure V will increase government accountability and transparency
  • Measure V will get Big Money out of Alhambra politics

When I formed the Alhambra Preservation Group (APG) in 2003, I never thought it would take 17 years (and counting) for city leaders to support what a clear and very vocal majority of Alhambrans had been calling for, for generations – the protection and preservation of our neighborhoods and our city’s historic homes, businesses, schools and churches.

What I discovered throughout the hundreds of hours APG spent attending city meetings, writing letters and lobbying City officials on behalf of saving Alhambra’s historic buildings and homes, is that for decades our city leaders have been beholden to moneyed, special interests instead of Alhambra’s residents. Developers and larger real estate interests consider “historic preservation” measures an impediment to their plans for uncontrolled, massive development. Meanwhile Alhambrans suffer the effects of increased traffic, stressed city services and infrastructure and the continued loss of trees and green, open space. This system benefits the few at the expense of many. I firmly believe that if there had been provisions in place similar to what Measure V is proposing when APG was founded, we would have saved many historic homes and preserved our neighborhoods.

I STRONGLY encourage APG members and Alhambra residents to VOTE YES ON MEASURE V. It will greatly limit the influence that Big Money (i.e. developers and real estate interests) has on the decision-making within Alhambra City Hall. It will also give a voice to residents who, for too many years, have been drowned out by policies decided on outside of their immediate neighborhoods by politicians with a bigger agenda.

Measure V is endorsed by a coalition of organizations and supported by the entire Alhambra City Council. If you’d like to learn more, visit the Yes on Measure V website.

Vote YES ON MEASURE V and send a clear message that Alhambra is not for sale!

Graphic courtesy of Yes on Measure VAlhambrans for Election and Campaign Finance Reform.

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