Alhambra: Place of Pride
For the rest of us, we just dream. We always have. Every homeowner has some level of pride bringing style and comfort to the place they live. We all want a Cleaver family home, but where can we affordably look?
An informal study on my part concluded that Los Angeles is not creating more land for real estate. We are currently in a phase where we’re building upward, not outward. It’s a trend that’ll continue until whenever we hit our next economic downturn.
For those looking for single family homes, there’s less and less of them meaning people are looking outside many of the traditionally affluent neighborhoods. If you look at a map of Los Angeles, no place is safe. Traffic is getting worse and the backbone of our transit system is improving causing most to tighten their scope.
People are rediscovering older areas that were previously fled in search of modern amenities, swimming pools and somehow longer commutes. Alhambra may not come to mind as a place you may find value on return, but you can easily find many nooks containing the appeal and character that makes the homes highly desirable.
Alhambra’s allure is rooted in its long history. While initially developed by Benjamin Wilson in the late 1800’s, the city hit its boom after the turn of the century. Many neighborhoods began to take shape, but not in the same manner as others today.
We now build entire suburbs in one clean swoop with every dwelling having a similar floor plan and styling to pass the savings onto you. What you get are homogeneous offerings that lacks the very basis of character. This probably explain the reasoning behind building wider streets to accommodate higher speed to keep from noticing these eyesores.
Fortunately, Alhambra’s homes are doted with individuality. Even within every separate neighborhood, there are a variety of architectural styles, such as Craftsman, Colonial, Monterey, Tudor and Victorian. It’s hard to find a pair of homes that are cookie-cutter and each seems to have a unique color palette of its own.
Being unique is one thing, but you can easily tell with the pride people put into their homes. You may take a fresh paint job and floral landscaping for granted, but I notice the advancement in home improvement every time I revisit the area.
Four years ago, my wife and I toured an open house for a hundred year old Victorian. Even with years of neglect, you couldn’t help notice all the unique design elements that set it apart from any other home. The price was low enough that it made you take interest, but the idea of doing the house any justice burned a hole in my brain.
We would continue to pass the house from time to time, seeing the for sale sign up with a new reduced tag to bring our attention, but still no dice. Eventually, we forgot about it entirely to the point that when we recently passed the home, we didn’t know where it went! Apparently, the owners did such an incredible restoration job that we had to go up and down and up to relocate it. In today’s world we expect a tear down, but instead we got a pulse on where this neighborhood is headed.
Alhambra may not get the recognition it deserves situated adjacent to San Marino and South Pasadena, but I definitely suggest taking a trip. It may be a place you’re unfamiliar with. It may be a little to far from the freeway to venture. It may be the reason to look.