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Posts Tagged ‘Alhambra Preservation Group’

Crawfords.Corner.RenderingCrawford’s Grocery chain was a quintessential Southern California success story of the 20th Century; a family business that began very humbly, with the husband and wife team of Wayland and Leemoria Crawford selling watermelons off the back of a truck. They opened their first grocery store in Los Angeles in the 1920’s, followed by a vegetable stand in the City of Bell. The couple soon determined that the rapidly developing San Gabriel Valley and northern Orange County provided a more lucrative business climate, so they opened a chain of stores, which eventually included locations in Alhambra, Glendale, El Monte, Montebello, Monterey Park, Pasadena, Rosemead and Stanton. The Crawfords’ two sons, Ray and Billy, as well as their grandchildren were closely involved in the family business from the time they were youngsters.

The original Crawford’s Market in Alhambra was built in 1929, at the corner of Valley and New, across the street from the Alhambra Airport. This location, in an otherwise agricultural area of town, captured the regular business of pilots, mechanics, and passengers, as well as families from surrounding communities. This location was followed a few years later by the opening of a second store in Alhambra, at the corner of Valley Blvd. and 9th St. (a short stroll from the Crawford home at 1842 S. 9th St.).

Crawfords.Corner.Sign.1960s

Crawford’s Corner new sign.

In 1964, the Crawford family determined that their growing Alhambra enterprise required a fresh image. The architecture of the new shopping center they built was significant both for its ability to convey the principals of mid-twentieth century storefront design, as well as the Western theme they utilized as part of their marketing plan. Covered walkways, false front parapet walls, elaborate turned wood detailing and rustic signage all expressed the Old West Style. It is noteworthy that the most popular television series of 1964 was the western-themed Bonanza, set on a huge ranch near the Comstock Lode boomtown of Virginia City, Nevada. A simulation of the Old West boomtown was created here in Alhambra at Crawford’s Corner, paying homage to historical themes of American prosperity created by the settlers, prospectors, and entrepreneurs of the Mid-Nineteenth Century.

Crawfords.Corner.1964.Yocum.Opening

Opening Day in 1964

As a commercial center, Crawford’s Corner comprised more than 30,000 square feet of shopping space, one third of which was dedicated to general merchandise. The many individual retail outlets originally included a drug store, barber shop, men’s clothing store, dry cleaner, shoe repair shop, ice cream parlor, fabric and sewing supply store, gift shop, and music store. In designing the new Crawford’s Corner in 1964, the owners’ intention was to project an open, friendly, community-involved image. The shopping center included a bell tower, patio area with gazebo and fountain, which was made available at no charge for community events and celebrations, including band concerts, festivities associated with the annual “Hi Neighbor” parade, and art shows. A community meeting room on the second floor was offered for indoor events such as cooking and pottery classes.

Like the Old West boomtown after which it was modeled, Crawford’s Corner has lost some its former luster but its architectural significance to Alhambra remains strong. Its one-of-a-kind mid-century architecture make it worth protecting and preserving! And, the enterprising spirit that brought success to the Crawford Family is alive and well among the current generation of entrepreneurs at Crawford’s Corner—each working tirelessly to achieve their own American dream of prosperity.

Photos courtesy of Alhambra Preservation Group.

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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.

Regina.Cipriani

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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DSC_0767

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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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.

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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.

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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.

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