Alhambra 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).
Alhambra’s roots begin with the San Gabriel Mission, founded on September 8, 1771, and the native people, Tongva, who inhabited the area before the arrival of the Spanish. The land that would later become Alhambra was part of a 300,000 acre land grant given to Manuel Nieto by the Spanish. In 1820 Mexico won its independence from the Spanish crown and lands once ruled by them became part of the Mexican Republic. These lands then transferred into the hands of the United States following the defeat in the Mexican–American War. A wealthy developer, Benjamin Davis Wilson, married Ramona Yorba, daughter of Bernardo Yorba, who owned the land which would become Alhambra and with the persuasion of his daughter Ruth named the land developed after a book she was reading. 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. 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. 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.