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Posts Tagged ‘Alhambra’s historical resources’

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Thirty-four years ago in 1984, when Ronald Reagan was president, Kenny Loggins was footloose and Dan Akroyd was busting ghosts, the City of Alhambra and the Alhambra Historical Society, conducted the Alhambra Historic and Cultural Resources Survey of our city’s major architectural landmarks using state grant funds.

The survey inventoried two Alhambra neighborhoods (the northwest Wuest Tract and the southern Ramona Park Tract) and 34 at-large sites focused on pre-World War II structures. The nine-month effort documented 637 buildings and community design features. Within those 637 identified sites, 42 buildings and clusters were singled out as worthy of local landmark designation and 36 buildings were evaluated as potentially eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The 1984 survey also listed buildings and neighborhoods identified for inclusion in future surveys.

Except future surveys never happened. The City of Alhambra placed the survey in a filing cabinet and ignored it. City leaders disregarded the historic preservation recommendations in the 1984 survey, which included the need for future surveys and a heritage-conservation ordinance. As a result, many of the historically significant structures listed in the 1984 survey have been razed or substantially altered, and entire neighborhoods have never been inventoried for their historical, architectural or cultural value. Additionally, current historical resources risk being destroyed – the Queen Anne Victorian at 403 South Garfield and Crawford’s Corner at New Avenue and Valley Blvd. top that list!

The closest Alhambra has come to a new historic resources inventory is the windshield survey conducted by Alhambra Preservation Group in 2016. This survey documented hundreds of homes, businesses, churches and schools throughout Alhambra. APG discovered structures representing more than 20 architectural genres and sub-genres built before the mid-1960s. APG’s resulting interactive Google map validates the conclusion of the 1984 survey, which stated, “…the survey demonstrated, to the city government and to the public, that Alhambra does indeed have an architectural heritage.”

Alhambra still has an architectural heritage, and it’s time to document, celebrate and preserve it!

Alhambra desperately needs to conduct a citywide inventory of its historical, architectural and cultural resources. Digitizing and updating the 1984 survey is a tangible first step we can take towards that goal. Can you help? Here are the types of volunteer help we need to digitize and update the 1984 survey:

  • Are you a fast typist? We need help inputting individual survey sheets from the more than 600 structures surveyed. We have hard copies of them all but they need to be digitized.
  • Do you like to walk? We need to canvas the two neighborhood tracts surveyed in 1984 and update survey sheets to reflect changes in those neighborhoods.
  • Are you a photographer? We need current photographs of the homes and structures listed in the 1984 survey.

These are the beginning steps of a new endeavor APG is calling Putting Alhambra on the Map, an intensive, multi-year effort to survey all of Alhambra’s historical, architectural and cultural resources.

If you’re interested in helping us with the efforts related to digitizing Alhambra’s 1984 survey or if you’d like to volunteer for APG’s future citywide historical resources inventory project, please e-mail us at info@alhambrapreservation.org.

Because we’re going to need everyone’s help to put Alhambra on the map!

Photo courtesy of Alhambra Preservation Group.

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1920s.ladies.photo.librarianAn attractive blonde woman with bobbed hair lounges on a lawn chair outside a grand Arts and Crafts-styled home, sipping lemonade and lazily leafing through the latest issue of Ladies Home Journal while she watches her friends play croquet. Notes from a new song, The Charleston, begin to waft from the house and she begins tapping her toe to the beat. Soon, everyone is dancing to the popular song, kicking and stepping, crisscrossing their knees in perfect time. A scene from the summer blockbuster The Great Gatsby? Perhaps. Or, it could also just as easily be a vignette from Alhambra Preservation Group’s upcoming Magical History Tour, scheduled for Sunday, June 23, which will transport participants to 1920s for a glimpse of Alhambra during the Jazz Age. “It’s like nothing we’ve ever done before,” stated Alhambra Preservation Group President, Christine Olson. “This tour will offer something for everyone – native or newcomer. Together, we’ll explore little-known aspects of Alhambra’s rich history.”

Aboard a chartered luxury motorcoach, tour-goers will travel back in time to 1920s Alhambra.  Among the afternoon’s activities will be exclusive tours of two Alhambra Heritage Home Award-winning residences (neither of which has been opened previously for public viewing), as well as visits to other historically significant homes and buildings.  Throughout the tour, history will come alive through in-person encounters with some of the historic figures whose influence and accomplishments shaped the development of  the entire San Gabriel Valley region.

The Magical History Tour will take place between the hours of noon and 4:00 on Sunday, June 23, 2013.  Space will be limited for this exclusive event.  The $50 admission will cover the cost of a four-hour tour 1920sBusTour.brizzle.born.and.bred.lgaboard a comfortable, air conditioned motorcoach, a light lunch, opportunities to win prizes and to learn surprising facts about Alhambra’s history and some of the people who made it happen.

“We are excited about this new and different event,” says Olson.  “We encourage our fellow Alhambrans and all those who enjoy APG’s Historic Home Tours to, ‘Get on Board with Historic Preservation’ by joining us for what we know will be a day of fun, adventure and learning.”

All proceeds from this fundraising event will support the educational mission of Alhambra Preservation Group, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2003, to ensure that the historical, architectural and cultural resources of Alhambra are identified, protected and celebrated for their contributions to Alhambra’s heritage, economy and environment.

For more information and to purchase tickets, contact Alhambra Preservation Group at (626) 755-3467.

Photos courtesy of the photo librarian and brizzle born and bred.

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