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Learn About Alhambra, CA

“I practically grew up in Alhambra and lived there 15 years before I moved. The neighborhood is very safe located next to a police station and courthouse on Common Wealth. It has a wonderful high school, a large local park called Almansor, and plenty of hospitals. Plus Main Street now has new shops and restaurants. I would recommend it for those looking to raise a family or have elderly parents. There are several retirement homes and an elderly recreation center at the Joselyn Center.” That is a review of Alhambra by Edmund Wang on It is a city that is located in San Gabriel Valley in Los Angeles, California, and it was home to about 84,000 people according to the last census.

Alhambra’s history can be traced back to the Tongva Indians, a native tribe that inhabited the area for thousands of years. The land where it sits today was a grant of 300,000 acres from the Mexican government to Manuel Nieto. After the Mexican- American war the land became part of America and a wealthy developer, Benjamin Davis Wilson and his wife bought the spot where Alhambra is located and named the land Alhambra after their daughter, Ruth, convinced them to name it after a book she was reading at the time, Tales of Alhambra.

Wikipedia explains how modern day Alhambra developed in 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. Twenty-six single-family 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. There are also a large number of condominiums, rental apartments, and mixed-use residential/commercial buildings, especially in the downtown area.”

Today, many of the original buildings, including on Main Street, have been torn down and replaced with new ones that form the core of the commercial district. Here you will find many businesses, big and small, as well as many restaurants that serve different cuisine. Alhambra has seen many waves of migration – in the 1950s came the Italians, Mexicans arrived in the 1960s and the Chinese in the 1980s and created an Asian hub that bustles with activity and serves as the headquarters for many Asian banks.

One notable event happened in Alhambra in 2003, as explained on Wikipedia: “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. In 2009, Spector was convicted of second-degree murder in connection with Clarkson’s death.”

Alhambra has a livability index of 72, which makes it one of the more livable places in California. It has a cost of living that is 8% higher than California, while median household incomes are 13% lower than the state average. It is a relatively safe community with crime rates 20% lower than the state average while the high school graduation rate is 1% lower. The city is served by the Alhambra Unified School District which oversees a number of elementary and high schools. The city is also home to the LA campus of Platt College, the LA campus of Everest College, the LA campus of Alliant International University and the University of Southern California’s Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research Center. The city is home to one of the oldest schools in California, according to Wikipedia: “Historic Ramona Convent Secondary School is a Catholic all-girls college preparatory school for grades 7-12 in Alhambra. Its first building was dedicated at Ramona Acres on January 29, 1890.”

If you want to buy a home in Alhambra you should be prepared to pay quite a bit for it – home median values are 30% higher than the state average. A 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom home will cost you around $890,000, while a small 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom home will cost you around $650,000. If, however, you don’t have this kind of money do not be discourage – you can still make Alhambra your home if you find a realtor who is willing to help you find a home that you can afford.

There is plenty to do in the city of Alhambra. Visitors and residents alike visit the historic buildings around the city which are in Craftsman, Bungalow and Spanish styles. The best place to start your tour of historic buildings is Bean Tract because there are plenty of them to be found here.

If you are a fan of craft beer you should schedule a visit to the Ohana Brewing Company. Although it is just a small brewery it supplies beer to bars and restaurants all over the city. You will be learn to get down to basics on how craft beer is made and also how the owner, an entrepreneur, has managed to become so successful. The Mosaic Lizard Theater, the Burke Heritage Park and Alhambra Historical Society Museum and the Romana Museum of California History are also good places to visit. There is plenty for kids to do as well, and when you want to relax you can head to one of the parks where you will find families that you can make friends with!