City of Alhambra
Alhambra welcome sign
Alhambra welcome sign
Official seal of City of Alhambra
Location of Alhambra within Los Angeles County, California.
Location of Alhambra within Los Angeles County, California.
CountryUnited States
CountyLos Angeles
IncorporatedJuly 11, 1903
 • MayorSteven Placido (Dist. 4)
 • City councilStephen Sham (Dist. 1)
Gary Yamauchi (Dist. 3)
Luis Ayala (Dist. 5)
Barbara Messina (Dist. 2)
 • Total7.6 sq mi (19.7 km2)
 • Land7.6 sq mi (19.7 km2)
 • Water0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
492 ft (150 m)
 • Total85,068
 • Density11,260/sq mi (4,347.7/km2)
Time zoneUTC-8 (PST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP codes
91801, 91802, 91803
Area code626 323
FIPS code06-00884
GNIS feature ID1660243

Alhambra (Template:Pron-en or /ɑːlˈhɑːmbrə/ despite its Spanish pronunciation of [a'lambɾa]) is a city (incorporated on 11 July 1903) located in the western San Gabriel Valley region of Los Angeles County, California, United States, which is approximately eight miles from the Downtown Los Angeles civic center. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 85,804. The city's ZIP Codes are 91801 and 91803 (plus 91802 for P.O. boxes).


At 34°4′55″N 118°8′6″W / 34.08194°N 118.13500°W / 34.08194; -118.13500 (34.081859, -118.135052).Template:GR It 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.[1] Major thoroughfares include Atlantic and Valley Boulevards, Mission Road, Fremont and Garfield Avenues, and Main Street. 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.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 19.7 km² (7.6 mi²), all of which is land.


Downtown Alhambra, Garfield and Main, 1890
Alhambra, 1920

Alhambra is named after Washington Irving's book Tales of the Alhambra, not after the Alhambra palace itself.[2] Alhambra was founded as a suburb of Los Angeles in 1903.

Alhambra existed as an unincorporated area during the mid-19th century. The city high school, Alhambra High School, was established in 1898, five years before the city's incorporation. The Alhambra Fire Department was established three years later, in 1906.

Many of Alhambra's homes have historical significance. They include common styles such as Craftsman, Bungalow, Spanish Mediterranean, Spanish Colonial, Italian Beaux-Arts, and Arts & Crafts. There are also a large number of condominiums, rental apartments, and mixed-use residential/commercial buildings, especially in the Downtown area.

The main business district of Alhambra — at the intersection of Main & Garfield — has been a center of commerce since 1895. By the 1950s, it had taken on the upscale look of Wilshire Boulevard's Miracle Mile and was the "in" place to go in the San Gabriel Valley. While many of the classic older buildings have been replaced over the years, the revitalization of Main Street has led to numerous dining, retail and entertainment establishments.

Over the years, 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. Valley Boulevard has become a national hub for many Asian-owned bank headquarters, although it also comprises other nationally-recognized retailers.

The historic Garfield Theatre, on Valley Blvd and Garfield Avenue 1925-2001, 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, but 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.

Annual events

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, broadcasted locally on KSCI-18, and later on worldwide cable and satellite TV.

From 2002 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.


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 USC's master's degree program in public health.

Alhambra also is home to The CAO Institute, a Paul Mitchell beauty school offering cosmetology courses, esthetics courses, skin care courses, and nail technology courses.

Primary and secondary schools

Serving students in Alhambra, Monterey Park, Rosemead and San Gabriel. the mission of the Alhambra Unified School District 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." [3] Alhambra Unified School District's eleven elementary schools, K- 8, are: Martha Baldwin School, Brightwood School, Fremont School, Granada School, Marguerita School, Park School, William Northrup School, Ramona School, and inclues three schools located in Monterey Park: Monterey Highlands School, Repetto School and Ynez School,[4]

Mark Keppel High School

The City is served by three Alhambra Unified School District high Schools which include:

Alhambra Unified School District also includes Garfield Community Adult School, located at 15 W. Alhambra Road, Alhambra, CA

Historical Ramona Convent Secondary School is an all girls college preparatory school, grades 7-12 in Alhambra. Ramona's first building was dedicated at Ramona Acres, on January 29, 1890 on the hillside property that was later called Shorb. The Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary came from Oakland at the request of several prominent San Gabriel Valley families interested in the Catholic education of their daughters. The James de Barth Shorb Family donated 15 acres (61,000 m2) of the 31.5 acres (127,000 m2) of the original property. The groundbreaking ceremony for the major part of the school, took place April 18, 1910. In the years that followed, additions were made, including the boarding school, gymnasium, swimming pool, English Wing, Science Building and stables. In 1967 a Master building plan was developed and implemented, adding the library with computer and language labs. Additions to the Plan included the 16-classroom Dufresne Building and a multi-purpose gymnasium. Those buildings were dedicated in February, 1981. Because of extensive damage caused by the October 1, 1987, Whittier Narrows earthquake, the main buildings built between 1889-1912 were soon demolished. A building to house administrative offices, kitchen/dining facilities, and a chapel was dedicated on November 12, 1989, the beginning of Ramona's 2nd hundred years of excellence. Ramona received Blue Ribbon School of Excellence status from the U.S. Department of Education in 1983 and again in 1998.[6]


As of the censusTemplate:GR of 2000, there were 85,804 people, 29,111 households, and 20,668 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,347.7/km² (11,257.3/mi²). There were 30,069 housing units at an average density of 1,523.6/km² (3,945.0/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 47.22% Asian, 35.49% of the population Hispanic of any race, 16.25% from other races, 13.8% White, 1.67% Black or African American, 0.72% Native American, 0.10% Pacific Islander, and 4.01% from two or more races.

There were 29,111 households out of which 33.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.3% were married couples living together, 16.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.0% were non-families. 22.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.88 and the average family size was 3.41.

In the city the population was spread out with 22.3% under the age of 18, 9.7% from 18 to 24, 34.0% from 25 to 44, 20.7% from 45 to 64, and 13.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 89.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $39,213, and the median income for a family was $43,245. Males had a median income of $33,847 versus $29,122 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,350. About 11.5% of families and 14.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.2% of those under age 18 and 10.6% of those age 65 or over.

Historical figures[7]
Year Population
1900 800
1940 38,900
1950 51,400
1960 54,800
1970 62,100
1980 64,600
1990 82,100
2000 85,804

Government and infrastructure

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

The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services operates the Monrovia Health Center in Monrovia, serving Alhambra.[8]

In the state legislature Alhambra is located in the 22nd Senate District, represented by Democrat Gilbert Cedillo, and in the 49th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Mike Eng. Federally, Alhambra is located in California's 29th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of D +12[9] and is represented by Democrat Adam Schiff.

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

High-speed rail

The California High-Speed Rail Authority is considering proposals to a build high-speed rail system through Alhambra along the I=10, San Bernardino Freeway, corridor from the east city limits to west city limits. In late July 2010, the Authority told the city the options under consideration include 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 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. [10][11]


"The Hat", a local icon, was opened in Alhambra in 1951. It is the original, family owned, outdoor restaurant of what 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 to 15 tons of pastrami per week.[12]

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 recent LA Fitness gym — valued at $190 million.

Top employers

According to the "City Alhambra 2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report", for the year ending in June, 2009, [13] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Los Angeles County Department of Public Works 3,600
2 Alhambra Unified School District 2,136
3 County of Los Angeles 1,500
4 Southern California Edison 800
5 City of Alhambra 650
6 Alhambra Hospital 600
7 Empire Building Maintenance 420
8 Costco 369
9 Southwest Administrators 285
10 Target 130

Famous natives and residents


  1. ^ Regional location map
  2. ^ City of Alhambra
  3. ^ "Alhambra Unified School District | District | About the District". Retrieved 2010-08-04.
  4. ^
  5. ^ City of Alhambra 2008‐2014 Housing Element, June 2009 (PDF), City of Alhambra, p. 77, retrieved 2010-06-25
  6. ^
  7. ^ "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA - CALIFORNIA : urban population". Retrieved 2010-08-04.
  8. ^ "Monrovia Health Center." Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. Retrieved on March 27, 2010.
  9. ^ "Will Gerrymandered Districts Stem the Wave of Voter Unrest?". Campaign Legal Center Blog. Retrieved 2008-02-10.
  10. ^ "HIGH-SPEED RAIL IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD". City of Alhambra. Retrieved 2010-08-14.
  11. ^ Mike Sprague. "Questions bedevil proposed California high-speed rail system". Pasadena Star News. Retrieved 2010-08-14.
  12. ^ "DELI MAY SPREAD TO BURBANK. - Free Online Library". 2000-10-04. Retrieved 2010-08-04.
  13. ^ City of Alhambra CAFR]