Alhambra, California

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This article is about the city in Los Angeles County in Southern California. For the creek and valley in Martinez in Northern California, see Alhambra Creek.
Alhambra, California
City
City of Alhambra
Alhambra welcome sign
Alhambra welcome sign
Official seal of Alhambra, California
Seal
Official logo of Alhambra, California
Logo
Motto: "Gateway to San Gabriel Valley"
Location of Alhambra within Los Angeles County, California.
Location of Alhambra within Los Angeles County, California.
Alhambra, California is located in California
Alhambra, California
Alhambra, California
Location in California
Coordinates: 34°4′55″N 118°8′6″W / 34.08194°N 118.13500°W / 34.08194; -118.13500Coordinates: 34°4′55″N 118°8′6″W / 34.08194°N 118.13500°W / 34.08194; -118.13500
Country  United States of America
State  California
County Los Angeles
Incorporated July 11, 1903[1]
Government
 • Mayor Gary Yamauchi[2]
 • City council[2] Stephen Sham
Barbara Messina
Steven Placido
Luis Ayala
Area[3]
 • Total 7.632 sq mi (19.766 km2)
 • Land 7.631 sq mi (19.763 km2)
 • Water 0.001 sq mi (0.003 km2)  0.01%
Elevation[4] 492 ft (150 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 83,089
 • Density 11,000/sq mi (4,200/km2)
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP codes 91801, 91802, 91803
Area code(s) 626/323
FIPS code 06-00884
GNIS feature IDs 1660243, 2409681
Website www.cityofalhambra.org
Alhambra, California
Chinese 阿罕布拉市

Alhambra (/ælˈhæmbrə/ or /ɑːlˈhɑːmbrə/; Spanish: [aˈlambɾa]) is a city located in the western San Gabriel Valley region of Los Angeles County, California, United States, approximately eight miles from the Downtown Los Angeles civic center. It was incorporated on July 11, 1903. As of the 2010 census, the population was 83,089. The city's ZIP codes are 91801 and 91803 (plus 91802 for P.O. boxes).

History[edit]

Alhambra is named after Washington Irving's book Tales of the Alhambra, that he was inspired to write by his extended visit to the Alhambra palace in Granada, Spain.[5] Alhambra was founded as a suburb of Los Angeles that remained an unincorporated area during the mid-19th century. The first school in Alhambra was Ramona Convent Secondary School, built on hillside property donated by the prominent James de Barth Shorb family. Thirteen years before the city was incorporated, several prominent San Gabriel Valley families interested in the Catholic education of their daughters established the school in 1890. The city's first public high school, Alhambra High School, was established in 1898, five years before the city's incorporation. On July 11, 1903, the City of Alhambra was incorporated. The Alhambra Fire Department was established in 1906.

Alhambra was originally promoted as a "city of homes", and many of its homes have historical significance. They include styles such as craftsman, bungalow, Spanish Mediterranean, Spanish colonial, Italian beaux-arts, and arts and crafts. Several residential areas have been designated historic neighborhoods by the city, including the Bean Tract (formerly owned by early resident Jacob Bean), the Midwick Tract (site of the former Midwick Country Club), the Airport Tract (formerly the landing pad for Alhambra Airport), and the Emery Park area.[6] There are also a large number of condominiums, rental apartments, and mixed-use residential/commercial buildings, especially in the downtown area.

Downtown Alhambra, Garfield and Main, 1890

Alhambra's main business district, at the intersection of Main and Garfield, has been a center of commerce since 1895.[7] By the 1950s, it had taken on an upscale look and was "the" place to go in the San Gabriel Valley. While many of the classic historical buildings have been torn down over the years, the rebuilding of Main Street has led to numerous dining, retail, and entertainment establishments. Alhambra has experienced waves of new immigrants, beginning with Italians in the 1950s, Mexicans in the 1960s, and Chinese in the 1980s. As a result, a very active Chinese business district has developed on Valley Boulevard, including Chinese supermarkets, restaurants, shops, banks, realtors, and medical offices. The Valley Boulevard corridor has become a national hub for many Asian-owned bank headquarters, although there are other nationally recognized retailers.

The historic Garfield Theatre, located at Valley Boulevard and Garfield Avenue from 1925 until 2001, was formerly a vaudeville venue and is rumored to have hosted the Gumm Sisters, featuring a very young Judy Garland. Faded from its original glory, for its last few years it was purchased and ran Chinese-language films, and in 2001 went out of business. Subsequently, developers have remodeled the dilapidated building, turning it into a vibrant commercial center with many Chinese stores and eateries.

In 2003, actress Lana Clarkson was shot to death in the Alhambra home of record producer Phil Spector. Spector lived in Alhambra's largest and most notable residence, the Pyrenees Castle, built in 1926.[8] In 2009, Spector was convicted of second-degree murder in connection with Clarkson's death.[9]

Geography[edit]

Alhambra is bordered by South Pasadena on the northwest, San Marino on the north, San Gabriel on the east, Monterey Park on the south, and the Los Angeles districts of Monterey Hills and El Sereno on the west.[10]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.6 square miles (20 km2), over 99% of which is land.

Demographics[edit]

2010[edit]

The 2010 United States Census[11] reported that Alhambra had a population of 83,089. Its population density was 10,887.4 people per square mile (4,203.6/km²). The racial makeup of Alhambra was 23,521 (28.3%) White, (10.0% non-Hispanic White),[12] 1,281 (1.5%) African American, 538 (0.6%) Native American, 43,957 (52.9%) Asian, 81 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 10,805 (13.0%) from other races, and 2,906 (3.5%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 28,582 persons (34.4%).

The census reported that 82,475 people (99.3% of the population) lived in households, 132 (0.2%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 482 (0.6%) were institutionalized.

There were 29,217 households, of which 9,357 (32.0%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 13,679 (46.8%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 4,818 (16.5%) had a female householder with no husband present, and 2,097 (7.2%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 1,370 (4.7%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 183 (0.6%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 6,479 households (22.2%) were made up of individuals, and 2,301 (7.9%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.82. There were 20,594 families (70.5% of all households); the average family size was 3.30.

The population was spread out with 15,707 people (18.9%) under the age of 18, 7,876 people (9.5%) aged 18 to 24, 24,907 people (30.0%) aged 25 to 44, 22,687 people (27.3%) aged 45 to 64, and 11,912 people (14.3%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39.3 years. For every 100 females there were 89.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.4 males.

There were 30,915 housing units, at an average density of 4,050.9 per square mile (1,564.1/km²), of which 11,916 (40.8%) were owner-occupied and 17,301 (59.2%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.3%; the rental vacancy rate was 5.3%. 35,774 people (43.1% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units, and 46,701 people (56.2%) lived in rental housing units.

According to the 2010 census, Alhambra has a median household income of $53,917, with 13.4% of the population living below the federal poverty line.[13]

Alhambra, 1920
Historical figures[14]
Year Population  % Change
1900 800 ---
1940 38,900 4762.5%
1950 51,400 32.1%
1960 54,800 6.6%
1970 62,100 13.3%
1980 64,600 4.0%
1990 82,100 27.0%
2000 85,804 4.5%
2010 83,089 -3.1%

These were the ten neighborhoods in Los Angeles County with the largest percentage of Asian residents, according to the 2000 census:[15]

  1. Chinatown, 70.6%
  2. Monterey Park, 61.1%
  3. Cerritos, 58.3%
  4. Walnut, 56.2%
  5. Rowland Heights, 51.7%
  6. San Gabriel, 48.9%
  7. Rosemead, 48.6%
  8. Alhambra, 47.2%
  9. San Marino, 46.8%
  10. Arcadia, 45.4%

Government[edit]

Los Angeles County Department of Public Works headquarters building, which was the former Sears Western headquarters

The city is governed by a five-member city council; one member of the council is chosen as mayor.[16] Council members are nominated by district and elected for four-year terms. Half of the council seats are up for election in each even-numbered year.

In the California State Legislature, Alhambra is in the 22nd Senate District, represented by Democrat Ed Hernandez, and in the 49th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Ed Chau.[17]

In the United States House of Representatives, Alhambra is in California's 27th congressional district, represented by Democrat Judy Chu.[18]

Infrastructure[edit]

The San Bernardino Freeway (I-10) runs through the city's southern portions, and the Long Beach Freeway (I-710) has its northern terminus at Valley Boulevard in the far southwestern portions of the city. Major thoroughfares within the city include Atlantic and Valley Boulevards, Mission Road, Fremont and Garfield Avenues, and Main Street.

Public transportation in Alhambra is provided by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) as well as the Alhambra Community Transit.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority is considering proposals to a build high-speed rail system through Alhambra along the San Bernardino Freeway (I-10) corridor from the east city limits to west city limits. In late July 2010, the authority told the city that the options under consideration included building tracks down the center of the freeway and parallel to the freeway along Ramona Road. As proposed, there would be a 50-foot-wide (15 m) deck set on top of 35-foot-high (11 m) posts placed every 100 feet (30 m). The proposal is part of the high-speed rail network currently planned for California. It is part of the line between Los Angeles's Union Station and San Diego, through the Inland Empire. Residents and city leaders voiced opposition to the plan to route the high-speed trains through the city in public meetings.[19][20]

Media[edit]

The local newspaper is the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. The regional newspaper is the Los Angeles Times.

Around Alhambra is a local community paper published monthly by the Alhambra Chamber of Commerce.[21]

The Alhambra Source is a hyperlocal, online-only news site that aims to cover news and be a trilingual voice for local storytellers. It is a collaborative effort between Alhambra residents, professional journalists and web developers, and University of Southern California researchers and students. The Alhambra Source was launched in September 2010 as an offshoot of a larger research project of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.[22]

Economy[edit]

Car dealerships are the largest contributor to the local economy. Many car brands can be found in Alhambra such as BMW, Honda, Nissan, Toyota, Ford, Volkswagen, Jeep, and Chrysler. Most of these dealerships are found on Main St. near Atlantic Blvd.

In recent years there has been an effort to revitalize Main St. from Atlantic Blvd. to Garfield Ave. Many new restaurants have been opening on Main St. as well as a push to develop multi-purpose (commercial and residential) buildings.

The Hat, a local icon, was opened in Alhambra in 1951. It was the original, family-owned outdoor restaurant, and is now a well-known small Southern California chain. The company has kept to its roots by keeping its retro neon signs featuring a chef’s toque and the words "World Famous Pastrami". It was a prototype of today's fast-food restaurants. Its customers consume 13–15 tons of pastrami per week.[23] Shakey's Pizza also has its headquarters in Alhambra.[24]

On the western edge of town, the Ratkovich Company, which owns The Alhambra office complex, is moving forward with plans to build 351 condominium units on 10.5 acres (42,000 m2), as well as a parking structure, after completing the LA Fitness gym, valued at $190 million.

Top employers[edit]

According to the City Alhambra 2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the year ending in June 2009,[25] the city's employers are the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works (with 3,600) workers, the Alhambra Unified School District (2,136), the County of Los Angeles (1,500), Southern California Edison (800), the City of Alhambra (650), Alhambra Hospital (600), Empire Building Maintenance (420), Costco (369), Southwest Administrators (285), and Target (130).

Landmarks[edit]

The Hat neon sign at Garfield Ave.

Annual events[edit]

Each year, Valley Boulevard hosts the San Gabriel Valley Lunar New Year Parade and Festival, which runs from Del Mar to Garfield Avenue. The event is of such significance to the majority Asian American demographic in Alhambra that it is broadcast live on Chinese radio, KWRM AM 1370, locally on KSCI-18, and later on worldwide cable and satellite TV.

From 2001 to 2008, Alhambra was the host of the Summer Jubilee, a street carnival and music concert held every Saturday, until its postponement due to loss of funds caused by the late 2000s recession.[citation needed]

Education[edit]

Alhambra is home to the Los Angeles campus of Platt College, the Alhambra branch of Everest College (formerly Bryman), and the Los Angeles Campus of Alliant International University.

Alhambra is home to the University of Southern California's Health Sciences Alhambra campus, site of the university's Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research (IPR), and its master's degree program in public health.

Primary and secondary schools[edit]

Public schools in Alhambra, Monterey Park, and portions of Rosemead and San Gabriel are provided by the Alhambra Unified School District, whose mission is "To ensure the educational success of all students by having a comprehensive educational program where students can learn and become productive members of a diverse society." The elementary and middle schools (K–8) located in the city of Alhambra are Emmaus Lutheran Elementary, Martha Baldwin Elementary, Fremont Elementary, Garfield Elementary, Granada Elementary, Marguerita Elementary, Park Elementary, William Northrup Elementary, Ramona Elementary, and Emery Park Elementary.[29]

The city is served by three Alhambra Unified School District public high schools: Alhambra High School, founded in 1898; Mark Keppel High School; and San Gabriel High School (which, despite its name, is located within Alhambra).[30] Alhambra Unified School District also includes Garfield Community Adult School.

Historic Ramona Convent Secondary School is a Catholic all-girls college preparatory school for grades 7–12 in Alhambra. The first school in Alhambra, the first building was dedicated at Ramona Acres on January 29, 1890, on the hillside property that was later called Shorb, after the prominent family that donated the property.

Other sectarian schools in the city include St. Therese (Catholic, grades K–8), St. Thomas More Elementary (Catholic, K–8), All Souls Parish (Catholic, K–8), and Emmaus Lutheran (Lutheran, PK–8). Nonsectarian private schools include Oneanta Montessori School (grades PK–6), Sherman School (10–12), and Leeway School (3–12).[31]

Famous natives and residents[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "California Cities by Incorporation Date" (Word). California Association of Local Agency Formation Commissions. Retrieved August 25, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "City Council". City of Alhambra. Retrieved October 18, 2014. 
  3. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer File - Places - California". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 19, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Alhambra". Geographic Names Information System, U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved October 11, 2014. 
  5. ^ City of Alhambra
  6. ^ City of Alhambra:Residential living
  7. ^ Vincent, Roger (December 11, 2014) "Alhambra to get $130-million shopping and housing complex" Los Angeles Times
  8. ^ The Guardian, March 17, 2007
  9. ^ Reuters, April 13, 2009
  10. ^ Regional location map
  11. ^ "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA - Alhambra city". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Alhambra (city), California". Retrieved January 2, 2014. 
  13. ^ http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/06/0600884.html.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  14. ^ "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA - CALIFORNIA : urban population". Populstat.info. Retrieved 2010-08-04. 
  15. ^ "Asian", Mapping L.A., Los Angeles Times
  16. ^ City Government
  17. ^ "Statewide Database". UC Regents. Retrieved December 4, 2014. 
  18. ^ "California's 27th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. 
  19. ^ "High-speed rail in your neighborhood". City of Alhambra. Archived from the original on September 5, 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-14. 
  20. ^ Mike Sprague. "Questions bedevil proposed California high-speed rail system". Pasadena Star News. Archived from the original on August 17, 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-14. 
  21. ^ Around Alhambra, at Alhambra Chamber of Commerce
  22. ^ About | Alhambra Source
  23. ^ "DELI MAY SPREAD TO BURBANK. - Free Online Library". Thefreelibrary.com. 2000-10-04. Retrieved 2010-08-04. 
  24. ^ http://www.shakeys.com/contact.aspx
  25. ^ City of Alhambra CAFR
  26. ^ Pasadena Model Railroad Club website
  27. ^ "http://www.becomingtile.com/HTML/Bank.html"
  28. ^ "Contact Information." Diocese of Western America. Retrieved on February 26, 2011. "1621 West Garvey Avenue Alhambra, CA 91803"
  29. ^ http://www.alhambra.k12.ca.us
  30. ^ City of Alhambra 2008‐2014 Housing Element, June 2009, City of Alhambra, p. 77, retrieved 2010-06-25 
  31. ^ locateaprivateschool.com
  32. ^ City of Alhambra: A personal recollection
  33. ^ [1]

External links[edit]