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Posts Tagged ‘Preservation’

januaryWe’re all well into our 2017 new year resolutions by now, and no doubt, some resolutions are proving harder to keep than others. So to make things a bit easier, here are two simple ways to support your community and Alhambra Preservation Group in the new year:

1. Make a special donation to APG. We know protecting Alhambra’s neighborhoods is important to you. Won’t you consider making a special contribution? Your financial support ensures that we can keep working towards protecting and preserving Alhambra’s historic and cultural resources. Contact us today at info@alhambrapreservation.org to learn more.

2. Get involved and stay informed: Attend an APG-sponsored event, volunteer with APG’s Advocacy and Action Committee, attend a City of Alhambra Planning Commission, City Council or Design Review Board meeting, talk to your neighbors about APG and the importance of protecting Alhambra’s neighborhoods, like APG on Facebook or visit our website to learn about preservation myths and facts.

While we can’t help you lose those pesky holiday pounds, we can help you feel better about getting involved in Alhambra and being more engaged in your neighborhood. We’re asking for just two in the new year! And, thanks!

Photo courtesy of Imams Online.

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img_9564by Joyce Amaro, President

It took my breath away! This past spring as I was driving through Alhambra searching for homes to feature in Alhambra Preservation Group’s summer event, Alhambra’s Amazing Architecture, I saw a house that made me catch my breath and hit the brakes. It was a small, yet quaint Spanish home sited diagonally on a corner lot. A “crown” was perched atop three arches that framed its front porch, giving it a regal look. I marveled at the uniqueness of its design. I admired the intricate inlaid tile work in its arches. I smiled at finding a new architectural gem in my hometown.

Discovering new architectural gems is just one of the benefits of being a member of Alhambra Preservation Group (APG). From our home tours to our Meet the Candidates Forums, from our educational talks to our field trips, APG strives to provide programs and events to further our mission of historic preservation. This past year was no different. I am immensely proud of APG’s recent accomplishments:

  • Residential awareness about Alhambra’s architectural and historical resources is at an all-time high because of events like the one APG sponsored this past June that highlighted our city’s architecture and established Alhambra as one of the most architecturally diverse cities in Southern California.
  • Fifty-two percent (52%) of Alhambrans who submitted a written survey as part of the city’s General Plan process in 2015 said that historic preservation should be a priority for the City of Alhambra. This was a direct result of APG’s education of residents about the need for a preservation ordinance and APG’s promotion of the survey.
  • APG’s online presence continues to grow with a new interactive Google map documenting more than 500 historic homes in Alhambra.
  • APG’s newly-formed Advocacy and Action Committee monitors city meeting agendas for items of interest and will create “calls to action” when issues arise.

So, what is APG’s goal for 2017? Alhambra’s adoption of a preservation ordinance! This has always been our #1 goal, and we won’t stop fighting for this until Alhambra enacts one. We’re closer than we’ve ever been, but we still have a lot of work to do. Even as I write this, a beautiful three-story Victorian home on South Garfield Avenue faces an uncertain future because Alhambra has no legislation to stop the razing of historically or architecturally significant homes, schools, churches or commercial buildings. Alhambra is long overdue for the adoption of a preservation ordinance. We need your help to do this!

We invite you to join or renew your membership in Alhambra Preservation Group during our fall membership campaign and to give as generously as you’re able. As an all-volunteer non-profit organization, we greatly value and rely on your contributions of time and money. We thank you for your support in helping APG to continue its programming and advocacy for the preservation of Alhambra homes and buildings of architectural significance.

As a special thank you, we’re inviting APG members to an exclusive event on November 30 at my home. This “Evening with the Author” event will feature a discussion by Dr. Denise Lawrence-Zuniga, a professor of Architecture at Cal Poly Pomona and APG member. At this evening event, she’ll be discussing her recently published book, Protecting Suburban America, which includes a section on APG and its preservation work here in Alhambra. I’d love to meet you and welcome you into my home, so I invite you to join APG!

And, yes, that unique Spanish home is still there, on the southwest corner of South Electric Avenue and Acacia Street, just south of Main Street. Why don’t you drive by yourself and discover another one of Alhambra’s architectural gems that deserves to be preserved and protected?

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mythbusters2How much do you really know about historic preservation? In this two-part series, we explore the myths surrounding preservation. In this article, we bust preservation myths at large. In the second article, we’ll dispel preservation myths specific to the city of Alhambra.

Myth #1 – Historic designation will reduce my property values.

Fact – Study after study across the nation has conclusively demonstrated that historic designation and the creation of historic districts actually increase property values. Why? Historic designation gives a neighborhood or an individual historic site a uniqueness that many buyers seek. Two economically valuable assurances: that the very qualities that attracted them to their neighborhood will actually endure over time, and that they can safely reinvest in sensitive home improvements without fear that their neighbor will undermine this investment with a new monster home” or inappropriate new development.

Myth #2 – Preservation is only for the rich and elite.

Fact – Today’s preservation movement is increasingly diverse. In LA, the two newest Historic Preservation Overlay Zones (HPOZs) are in Pico-Union and Lincoln Heights, home to economically and ethnically varied populations.

Preservation today also focuses on more modest sites of social and cultural significance. Just look at the small Ralph J.Bunche House in South Los Angeles, boyhood home of the pioneering African-American diplomat. Or, consider a current preservation effort to save the modest Vladeck Center, a Boyle Heights building that was the center of the Jewish life in the 1930s.Such sites underscore that preservation can be about the “power of place” at sites of rich cultural meaning.

Myth #3 – Historic preservation is bad for business.

Fact – Historic preservation is at the very heart of our nation’s most vibrant economic development and business attraction programs. In Southern California, think Old Pasadena or San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter.

Here’s a national example: The National Main Street Center, a program that uses historic preservation to revitalize town centers and neighborhood commercial districts, has actually tracked economic results in 1,700 Main Street communities nationally. These preservation-based programs have created over 231,000 new jobs and resulted in over $17 billion in reinvestment to date, with every dollar spent on a Main Street program yielding $40 in economic reinvestment.

Myth #4 – Old buildings are less safe.

Fact – Although historic structures do sometimes require structural retrofits or the addition of fire sprinklers to enhance safety, historic buildings typically perform better than new construction in earthquakes and other natural disasters. What determines the safety of buildings is the quality of construction, not age, and in many ways, “they just don’t build’em like they used to.”

Los Angeles’ signature historic structures have survived every major temblor of the past eight decades. In the 1994 Northridge earthquake, the most catastrophic damage occurred not to historic buildings but to newer construction such as parking garages and newer apartments with “tuck-under” parking.

Myth #5 – Preservationists are always fighting new development and only care about the past.

Fact – Historic preservationists do care deeply about the past – not to wallow in a bygone era, but to anchor ourselves as we move confidently into the future. Historic preservation is not about stopping change or blocking creative new architecture and development. Preservation allows us to retain the best of our shared heritage to preserve sites of unique quality and beauty, revitalize neighborhoods, spur economic development, and quite simply, create better communities.

Excerpted from “The Top 10 Myths About Historic Preservation” by Ken Bernstein, manager of the City of Los Angeles Office of Historic Resources.

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DSC_0031Is Alhambra one of the most architecturally diverse cities in Southern California? The answer may surprise you!

From a humble log cabin to an elegant castle on a hill, Alhambra is home to more than 25 styles and sub-styles of architecture.  “Alhambra is one of the oldest cities in Southern California, and it is home to architectural styles ranging from Victorian to Mid-Century Modern and everything in between,” stated Joyce Amaro, President, Alhambra Preservation Group. “It is my belief that Alhambra is one of the most architecturally diverse cities in Southern California.”

Join Alhambra Preservation Group at their June 29, 2016 event entitled Alhambra’s Amazing Architecture for a virtual architectural tour of Alhambra’s homes, businesses, schools and places of worship spanning almost 150 years. Here are the specifics on the event:

Date:   Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Time:   7:00 p.m.

Location:   Alhambra Civic Center Library, 101 S. 1st Street, Alhambra, CA / Reese Hall

All are welcome to attend this free educational event. Ample parking is located beneath the library. There will also be a delicious selection of cookies, representing Alhambra’s diverse cultures, for everyone to enjoy.

Come discover hidden gems and be inspired to preserve and protect Alhambra’s amazing architecture!

RSVP at (626) 755-3467 or at info@AlhambraPreservation.org.

 

 

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Old.Classroom.Phil.RoederTaking Alhambra from Failure to Excellence in Preservation 101

Join Alhambra Preservation Group for its spring event where we’ll host a conversation with Los Angeles Conservancy’s Director of Advocacy, Adrian Scott Fine, on the steps Alhambra can take to improve its annual preservation grade. Together we’ll learn how we can transform Alhambra from a municipality at the bottom of the Preservation 101 class into a city that receives straight A’s in the preservation and protection of its architectural resources!

Here’s the when and where:

When: 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 5, 2014

Where: The Auditorium at The Alhambra (the former C.F. Braun campus), 1000 South Fremont Avenue, Alhambra, CA  91803

Validated parking will be available; enter through the kiosk on Fremont Avenue.

Please RSVP at (626) 755-3467 or e-mail us at info@alhambrapreservation.org to reserve your spot at this important event.

Photo courtesy of Phil Roeder via flickr.com/creativecommons

 

 

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Mailboxes.taylor.aIn your mailbox last week, you probably noticed a letter from Alhambra Preservation Group (APG) containing information about our 2014 membership campaign.

If you haven’t done so already, we invite you to take a moment, read the letter and consider joining Alhambra Preservation Group. Established in 2003 and incorporated as an independent nonprofit organization in 2006, APG is uniting a growing number of Alhambra households, business and community leaders in a forward-thinking mission of protecting and celebrating Alhambra’s historical, architectural and cultural resources.

Alhambra Preservation Group offers membership opportunities at three levels, each with its own associated benefits. We invite your participation and welcome your support.  In exchange, we can promise you a full calendar of fun and educational activities, opportunities to meet neighbors, discover new friendships and, most importantly, to deepen and “grow” your investment in Alhambra—our shared “home town.”

If you didn’t receive our membership information, please give us a call at (626) 755-3467 or send us an e-mail at info@alhambrapreservation.org!

Photo courtesy of taylor.a via flickr.com.

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DSC_0237At an evening award ceremony on October 17, Alhambra Preservation Group will present its 2013 Heritage Home Awards to the owners of four distinguished Alhambra homes. The event will take place at 7:00 p.m. at the Civic Center Library, 101 South First Street and is free to the public.  All are welcome to attend. Light refreshments will be served and ample free parking is available in the library’s underground parking structure.

The 2013 Heritage Home Awards will mark the fifth year of this program, which recognizes homeowners who have restored or maintained their older, historic homes in a manner that is sensitive to their architectural period and style and that recognizes the value of these properties to the community at large.

The annual Heritage Home Awards presentation is a popular and well-attended event.  Each of the homes is showcased in an audio-visual presentation that is both educational and inspiring, offering both exterior and interior views of some of Alhambra’s extraordinary historic housing stock, along with insights into the history and context of each of the homes.  APG President, Chris Olson, described the event as, “a virtual home tour, without the walking — or the price of a ticket!  It’s a great deal and it’s always a fun evening.”

Alhambra Preservation Group was founded in 2003 by residents eager to promote and protect Alhambra’s rich and historic architectural heritage. To learn more about APG or this upcoming event, please follow us on Facebook or call (626) 755-3467.

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