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Archive for the ‘Alhambra Preservation Group’ Category

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by Joyce Amaro, President

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”   – Margaret Mead

I’ve been thinking a lot about Ms. Mead’s words lately. At its core, Alhambra Preservation Group strives to effect positive change in Alhambra through educational and innovative programs. From our grassroots beginnings to our popular home tours, from the first-ever 2006 city council candidates’ forum to the creation of an interactive online architecture map in 2016, APG’s pioneering spirit has produced events that raise awareness, build community and bring historic preservation to the forefront of Alhambra’s civic discourse.

This past year has been no different.

  • APG celebrated the restoration of Lindaraxa Park’s one remaining entrance arch and the sensitive rehabilitation of the century-old storefront on West Alhambra Road.
  • We produced four educational videos that showcase Alhambra’s architecture and its historic neighborhoods.
  • APG wrote an emphatic response to the City of Alhambra’s draft General Plan, pointing out its non-committal historic preservation policies and goals. So far, there has been no response.

APG’s principal event of 2018 was the Kids and Candidates – A Community Engagement Forum, a city council candidates’ forum on October 11. APG was part of a coalition of five Alhambra community groups and high school students who organized this first-time event. More than 400 Alhambrans attended the evening event at Alhambra High School. Candidates discussed issues facing Alhambra, including the need for a historic preservation ordinance, tax incentives for owners of historic homes and Alhambra’s need to conduct a citywide survey of its resources.

That last issue – Alhambra’s critical need for a citywide survey of its historical, architectural and cultural resources – is guiding APG towards its next endeavor.

APG firmly believes that a baseline of Alhambra’s resources needs to be established. In 1984-85 the City of Alhambra conducted an inventory, but it only included two Alhambra neighborhoods and 34 at-large sites. As a result, the survey overlooked many historically significant structures and entire neighborhoods. It’s been 34 years since that partial inventory was conducted. Completing a citywide inventory of Alhambra’s historical, architectural and cultural resources is a crucial first step in saving our city’s historic homes, businesses, churches and schools. It’s time to finish the job!

We’ll be honest. A citywide survey is neither inexpensive nor easy. It will cost a significant amount of money and will require volunteer help. But APG is committed to leading this effort, and we can’t wait! Several historic structures are currently in jeopardy – the Queen Anne Victorian home at 403 South Garfield and Crawford’s Corner at New Avenue and Valley Boulevard top the list. If we don’t start now, we risk losing these and other historical resources. In 2019, we’ll develop a plan for conducting a citywide survey. Stay tuned for more details!

For now, we are asking that you give as generously as you can during APG’s fall membership drive and consider increasing your tax-deductible donation to assist us in funding a citywide inventory. As a member, you’ll continue to enjoy the same benefits that we’ve always offered – a quarterly e-newsletter, educational field trips and informative events. Beginning this year, members will have access to APG’s new online Resource Guide, which will replace our printed guide. Members will also receive a new thank you gift – a window decal for their home’s front window.

We thank you and greatly appreciate your support! APG has always been a pioneer and we’ll continue to develop community-based programs that lead Alhambra towards a comprehensive historic preservation program. It’s our hope that you will join us in working to fulfill Alhambra Preservation Group’s mission: “Ensuring that the historical, architectural and cultural resources of our city are identified, protected and celebrated for their contributions to Alhambra’s heritage, economy and environment.”

Photo courtesy of Alhambra Preservation Group.

 

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Vote.2018.buttonsKids and Candidates, a community engagement forum, will be held on Thursday, October 11, 2018 from 6-8:30 p.m. at Alhambra High School, located at 101 South 2nd Street in Alhambra. The event is free to the public. Spanish and Mandarin translators will be available at the event. For more information, visit the event’s site.

Alhambra City Council candidates and Alhambra school board members have been invited to participate in the pre-election event. The round-table discussion will be moderated by Tom Hollihan, professor and director of doctoral studies at USC Annenberg School of Communications. The event is being co-sponsored by the Alhambra Teachers Association, Alhambra Preservation Group, Alhambra Source, Alhambra Latino Association and Grassroots Alhambra.

Highlights of the event will include an hour, starting at 6:00 p.m. in Alhambra High School’s quad area, where attendees and students can meet with City Council candidates, Alhambra School Board members and Alhambra community groups while enjoying a performance by the Alhambra High School Jazz Band. At 7 p.m., Alhambra City Council candidates will participate in an issues-based round-table discussion in the high school auditorium. Community planning, schools, environmental sustainability, public health and safety, historic preservation, transportation, development and infrastructure are just a few of the topics that may be discussed at the forum.

Students will be involved in many different aspects of the fair and forum. High school students will be involved in the development of potential forum questions, staff informational tables, entertain attendees at the community engagement fair and provide event support throughout the evening. “A vote is a voice,” stated Anthony Hu, student at Alhambra High School and Public Relations Committee Lead with Vote at 16-SGV. “A fundamental part of our democracy is that all community members can express their own opinions and be heard.”

The goal of the Kids And Candidates Forum is to give Alhambra City Council candidates the opportunity to discuss the various issues affecting Alhambra and provide residents and students with an opportunity to hear the candidates’ positions on these issues, according to organizing coalition members. 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 on Election Day.

Photo courtesy of Douglas County.

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_DSC0912“We wanted to bring the ‘Wow!’ factor back,” explained Regina Cipriani, a lifelong Alhambra resident, explained.  “Now, when you open the door, you see all the wood detailing that make Craftsman homes so stunning.

Alhambra Preservation Group is honored to share the news of the completion of the beautiful, carefully and lovingly orchestrated restoration of the Cipriani Family home in Alhambra’s Ramona Park by APG member Regina Cipriani and her three siblings.

The Swiss Chalet-style Craftsman house was built in 1911. Regina’s late parents bought it in 1958, spent six months remodeling it, and then moved in with their four children. The home has been in the family ever since. The Cipriani’s are only the third owners.

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Regina Cipriani

“It’s the only home I’ve ever known,” Regina explained, other than the lovely Alhambra English Cottage she currently occupies with her husband and three sons. “All four of us siblings have such a love for this home. We wanted to bring it back to life to showcase the unbelievable craftsmanship and wood work that define historic Craftsman homes.”

So the task began. Decades of paint was stripped off  woodwork throughout the home exposing gorgeous Douglas Fir coffered ceiling beams in the living room, plate rails and wainscoting  in the dining room and a built-in desk and bookcase in the library. They repainted the three bedrooms, the kitchen, the breakfast room, and the three bathrooms. Even the service porch received a facelift because that’s how these beautiful homes were built – artistic craftsmanship in every room. The family ripped out carpeting to reveal white oak hardwood floors and stripped off a century’s worth of wall paper to reveal baby-skin-soft plaster that had never been painted.

ReginasWallThe home also revealed surprises. A now mostly illegible message written in pencil on the plaster in the rear bedroom dated August 1912 with the name “Schmidt” and “good night,” was found hidden under wallpaper.

Much of the wood decor was missing, so the family team commissioned custom wood work and custom moldings to match the original throughout the house. They remade two rows of custom molding in the dining room. And replaced molding in the breakfast nook, custom designing it to match the original molding in the library. “There was evidence that the bookcases in the library originally had doors, so we commissioned bookcase doors designed to match the windows.” The built-in buffet in the dining room still had the original lead glass. “Bringing back the natural wood of the buffet made the lead glass sparkle and shine more than it ever did when the wood was painted,” Regina said.

The siblings discovered 10 original windows in the basement. Another surprise. They had them reinstalled and commissioned three additional windows to match. They discovered a window had once been in the door to the breakfast nook. So they put it back, custom designing the new one to match the existing window in the kitchen door. In one of the bathrooms, they discovered the original octagon-shaped tile floor, safely preserved under layers of added flooring.

Cipriani.Living.RoomAn original Craftsman-style light fixture pendant was discovered in the basement. Probably one of the 10 fixtures that originally hung from the living room beams, and a match to the existing fixture in the library. It was rewired and now hangs in the breakfast room. “You think you know a house. But with these beautiful old Craftsman homes, there is still a lot to discover.”

The full restoration took six months – November, 2017 through May, 2018. The siblings were surprised to note that this was exactly the time it took their parents to remodel the home 60 years ago. And that the restoration was completed on their late mother’s birthday.

“All four of us have such a love for this home and the work our parents put into it. We think our parents would like knowing that we have brought it back to its glory.”

Today, Cipriani family members and their children are continuing to live happily ever after in their beautifully restored Alhambra home.

Photos courtesy of Regina Cipriani and Alhambra Preservation Group.

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Survey-

Recently, the Alhambra Preservation Group conducted its first-ever online survey. We wanted to gauge what our supporters think should be our top priority for 2019 – what you and other Alhambra residents expect from APG – and what Alhambrans enjoy about APG.  Here’s what you said:

What Should APG’s Priorities Be For Next Year?  By an overwhelming majority – 94 % – you said the adoption of an Alhambra Preservation Ordinance should be APG’s top priority. Creating an inventory of Alhambra’s historic structures was second with educational and social events taking the third and fourth spots.

What Has Been Your Favorite APG-sponsored program? APG-hosted Alhambra home tours, which we pioneered beginning in 2004 came in on top, with 56% of respondents saying they liked them the best. Educational events and Candidates Forums tied for second place. Field Trips, summer ice cream socials and our recent event Coffee with a Councilmember rounded out the bottom.

Would You Consider Volunteering for an APG Event in the Future? Yes! We are proud and pleased that 88 % of all respondents said “yes,” they would consider volunteering their time for APG.

During Our 2018 Fall Membership Drive, Would You Be Willing To Ask One Neighbor/Friend to join APG?   Yes! A solid 94% of you said you would be willing to ask one neighbor and/or friend to join our organization.

If You Are a Member, What Is Your Opinion of APG’s Printed Resource Guide? The majority of folks – 56% – stated that they find it useful and reference it as needed and 22% said they love this printed piece and use it all the time. Seventeen percent said they prefer to use the Internet and 5% had no opinion.

The message is clear. The adoption of a preservation ordinance is the top priority and APG’s Board of Directors agrees. This is the only true way we can reach our goal of preserving, protecting and honoring Alhambra’s historic resources, and we will adjust our priorities to reflect this opinion.

We heard from quite a few of you, but we’d love to hear more opinions. The survey will be open until August 31. If you haven’t participated in the survey, we invite you to do so now. What do YOU think should be APG’s priorities? Let us know! The survey can be found here.

 

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by Joyce Amaro, President

Can you feel it? It’s that feeling of anticipation that goes along with change. And that change is coming in the form of new policies from the City of Alhambra, dynamic programs from Alhambra Preservation Group and the election of three new City Council members in the fall.

Draft Alhambra General Plan Released – The City of Alhambra released its draft General Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Report for public review on August 3 and public comments are due by Tuesday, September 18. APG will be reviewing the draft General Plan and preparing a response. We encourage you to do the same. To learn more about how you can review the draft General Plan and comment on its contents within the 45-day public comment period, please visit the City of Alhambra’s General Plan page.

“Discovering Alhambra” Videos – Alhambra Preservation Group has been working on a series of 1-minute videos that feature the historic architecture of Alhambra and its historic neighborhoods. We’re excited to debut these short educational videos on APG’s  Facebook page. Look for them later this year!

Online Resource Guide – While we recognize the popularity of our printed Resource Guide, we felt it was time for this piece to enter the digital age and save a few trees. We will unveil our new online Resource Guide during our 2018 fall membership drive. To prepare for this online piece, we encourage you to share any vendors and/or contractors you’d like us to include in the Resource Guide by e-mailing APG at apg91802@gmail.com.

2018 Meet the Candidates Forum  – In 2006, Alhambra Preservation Group pioneered the idea of a community event where Alhambrans had the opportunity to meet and ask questions of City Council candidates. Because of APG, a Meet the Candidates Forum before City Council elections is now the norm in Alhambra. This year, we’re taking it to the next level, partnering with more than half a dozen other Alhambra non-governmental organizations to organize and host the 2018 Meet the Candidates Forum. We are just beginning to organize this event and haven’t confirmed a date yet, but you can be assured that it will be an event that you won’t want to miss. Stay tuned for more information in September!

As always, thank you for your ongoing support of Alhambra Preservation Group and for affecting real and positive change here in Alhambra.

Photo courtesy of Alhambra Preservation Group.

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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.

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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!

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