LocationAlhambra , CA United States
The questions of preserving trees dominated the conversation surrounding the Camellia Court development. Yet the controversy also touched on another issue, historic preservation.
The small church on the property was originally targeted for demolition. In City documents, the church was deemed to have no historical or cultural value.
It turned out however that the Chapel of Saint Simon and Jude was over 90-years-old, and was built by famed Southern California architect Reginald D. Johnson. A 1984 historical survey of Alhambra identified the church as a structure to further study.
“The Chapel of Saints Simon and Jude is the perfect example of why a citywide inventory is so important and so needed,” said Joyce Amaro, president of the Alhambra Preservation Group, in a email to the Alhambra Source.
The Alhambra Preservation Group is advocating for a historic preservation ordinance, to identify, protect and incentivize owners to preserve Alhambra’s many historic homes and buildings. Many surrounding communities have such an ordinance, including South Pasadena and San Gabriel.
Last week, around 50 people attended a public meeting to give input on considerations like which types of buildings would be eligible, whether there would be a dedicated committee for historic preservation and how extensive a survey to document historic structures would be. They were also asked what kind of incentives homeowners should have to preserve the historic characteristics of their home, such as tax incentives from California’s Mills Act.
The Department of Development Services will work on finalizing the data from this meeting after the holidays. They are also building a webpage that will allow people to submit feedback about this topic.