We grew up in Alhambra!

Philip Pisano's high school pictureOriginally Published 10/03/2010

In less than a month the “I Grew Up in Alhambra” Facebook group attracted more than 1,000 members. It now has more than 2,400. For months members have been sharing memories such as eating a ham sandwich at Grant’s Department Store or selling underwear at Lieberg’s on Main Street, and visiting favorite spots such as Club 88, Sara’s burritos, and El Rey Theater. Most of these places are long gone. And many of the members of the group also moved away from Alhambra long ago. “Wish I could live there still. ♥,” wrote one. “THIS ALL TRIPS ME OUT. Been in the NW so long it sounds so strange to hear those names,” wrote another. Youth Feed writer Stephanie Lee (Alhambra High ‘10) caught up with group creator Philip Pisano (Alhambra High ‘70), and asked about why the concept has been such a success and how growing up in Alhambra has changed.

What made you decide to start the group?

Patty Yano's 8th Birthday Party in 1960 in the Midwick TractTwo of my friends from growing up in Alhambra, Charlie Rizzo and Mark Jebbia, passed away. We’d always tried to stay in contact after high school, but we just lost touch. So I started the group on February 15 for people who are from Alhambra, but may no longer live there, to reconnect. A few of the people I know from growing up in Alhambra remained there, but for the most part they moved away. My closest friends from Alhambra have moved to Orange County, which is where I live now. That small group stayed in touch. But others have spread all across the United States.

Did you expect the group to take off the way it did?

I was very surprised. It was all done by the word of mouth. Since then, not only has the Alhambra site taken off, but many other cities have adopted ones:

1. Tustin
2. La Mirada
3. Saratoga, Springfield, VA
3. Live Oak Park, Temple City
4. Hyderabad
5. Wynnefield
6. Newport Beach
7. Dover Shores, Newport Beach
8. Bayshores, Newport Beach
9. Queens, New York

What type of information are users in Alhambra sharing?Class of 1969 Alhambra High Senior Prom Court

Mostly memories. There are posts about Little League games at Granada Park, or going to Midwick Tract—people are also posting about restaurants they liked and cruising down Valley Boulevard. A lot of people are reconnecting whether they played baseball together, football together. They’re making plans to get together.

I grew up in Alhambra and go to Alhambra High, but don’t recognize a lot of the places that people were saying they remembered. Do you feel Alhambra has changed a lot since you grew up here?

Many of the restaurants and the things that you’re seeing on the website are no longer there. Everyone had his favorite place to go. But there are very few that are still there — Pepe’s restaurant and a few others. The Hat is one of them. That’s one of the one’s that everyone still talks about. Also Jay-Dee’s, that’s a bar. That’s been there for 60 years.

Sophomore Council 1967 - 1968Do you ever come back to visit Alhambra?

Every time I go to Los Angeles. Very rarely do I not drive through the area and not visit the Granada Park area.

What else would you like to see happen with the group?

A lot of the users went to Alhambra High School and for most it’s such a long time between when they get an opportunity to see each other. So with the group they can share events between reunions. The idea is everyone will know what’s going on. And there’s already a lot of exchanging of photos between members – but not with the entire group. People are e-mailing pictures of their kids, grandchildren, or pets. On the group page, we’ll have a place for people to upload photos and share with everyone.

The original interview was conducted in March, 2010. Since then, Philip Pisano said the group has grown, as have the activities: " We recently had a 40th year reunion for the AHS graduating class of 1970. We have been able to locate many of our friends through our site, but there are so many more that we have not been able to locate. We recently added a discussion topic called the Midwick Tract Log IN. We are trying to locate people that grew up in the Midwick Tract."

Interview was condensed and edited.

18 thoughts on “We grew up in Alhambra!”

  1. My husband and I grew up in alhambra and Monterey park. Try to remember when they closed main street one night of the year for shopping and they had music on the street. The one my husband remembers the turtles playing. Does anyone know of this event ?

  2. Hi, I am looking for some info or photo of a Mexican restaurant called elburrito on valley Blvd. I am doing some research for my brother john reynolds who went to Vietnam in 1965. When he came back the owner of the restaurant gave our family about 20 burritos and was very glad to see john. Thank you for your time. Jeff. I enjoyed reading your posts.

  3. Born & raised in Alhambra. Graduated AHS in 1960 Was on the Debate team & won awards for Original oratory Saw a post that Corky owns the Hat now A good friend hope, he is well

  4. To put things into perspective I am 75 years old. I moved to Alhambra to live with my grandparents in 1944. We lived on Orange Steet north of Mission. I started school at Marengo, attended Northrup junior high, and spent four years attending Alhambra High School. Not to be repetitive, like others who posted here these are my recollections: Star Market on west Main Street, the train station, Red Car to downtown LA, Alhambra park and plunge, the Felt factory in west Alhambra, CF Braun, Winchills donuts on Main Street, Alhambra Theatre and annex (they had an organist who played in between movies), the main library next to the high school, McKay’s Drug Store, El Rey Theatre, Pedrini’s music store, a bowling ally in a downstairs location where the pins were hand set (I used to set them to earn enough money to see a movie), Penny’s Department Store for school clothes, Henry’s Drive-in, Dick’s Drive-in, Too-eys, The Hat (best pastami in the world), the Army airfield on Valley Blvd, eating my first pizza at Petrillos, First Christian Church at Fourth street at Commonwealth, roller skating somewhere east of Alhambra. I lived several places: Raymond Avenue south of Main Street, 32 1/2 Elm Street, on Margarita Ave. I was fortunate to spend my formative years in Alhambra.

  5. I was born in the Alhambra Community Hospital in 1947. Lived on Elm St between Poplar and Commonwealth, went to All Souls grammar school and graduated from AHS in 1965. I remember things like the Alhambra Foundry, Pat & Blinn Lumber Company, Dorney’s liquor, Leo’s ice cream,Sarah’s burritos, The original Hat, Farmers Boys, Taco Pete’s, Henry’s and of course, cruising Valley Blvd. When I am in Alhambra I still go to Pepe’s, which opened on Valley by Fremont in 64 or so. moved to a couple of other locations and eventually ended up taking over the drive through dairy on valley near sixth st and is still there.

    there was the Alhambra theatre, El Rey Theater and a smaller theater on Main heading toward San Gabriel. Right in that area on Main St there was also a small bowling alley where they hand set the pins. And by the way,I also remember the annual Hi Neighbor Parade.

    it was a great place to grow up but the small town,pulling together, independent spirit does not appear to have survived. pretty sure I wouldn’t like the politicians.

    1. Hi, I am looking for some info or photo of a Mexican restaurant called elburrito on valley Blvd. I am doing some research for my brother john reynolds who went to Vietnam in 1965. When he came back the owner of the restaurant gave our family about 20 burritos and was very glad to see john. Thank you for your time. Jeff. I enjoyed reading your post.

  6. deanna biro guenveur

    Hello,

    I grew up in the San gabriel valley and attended Margarita and Fremont school as a youngster, lived on meridian Ave in alhambra. Moved to temple city in Jr high and attended temple city high, graduated in 1971. Just wondering if there are any sites that contain film footage or photos of cruising on valley blvd in 1969 era. Would be interesting to know if any others cruised valley blvd in those years. I used to cruise in my parents 60’s vintage Plymouth fury, what a hoot…..I think gas prices were about .29 cents a gal, good memories…..

  7. Moved with family to Alhambra,CA from Cleveland, OH in 1952!
    Lived on Edith (2). Commonwealth and 2nd streets. Went to Alhambra High from 2nd street. Graduated in 1964.

    My brother and his daughter as I went to Northrop School!

    There is a reunion site for the year you graduated from AHS. I clicked on and mine is in 2019. Just missed the 2014 reunion!

    I remember Grants, Woolworths, Leos, Probers (still there) El Rey.

    Alhambra Library has a copy of the signing of the end of WWII. The beauty School is still there with Pro Cut across the street.

    Best to all!

  8. I hope Stephanie Lee takes note of all the comments. They are true! I never lived in Alhambra, made a lot of friends there and spent a lot of time in Alhambra through the years. It was the place to go during the pre and postwar years. It had a lot of original landmark places to visit and had real diversity then as well as more character and pizzaz. As you can see many business enterprises were so distinctive that people still express admiration for them years and years after they have disappeared. What could one say now about Alhambra that will standout for the next half century? I attended Mission High for one year before transferring to Rosemead.
    Later at Santa Ana College I had the privilege of playing on the same football team with Duane Allen, an all time athlete from Alhambra HS and had Bob Boyd as my math teacher. The same Bob Boyd who coached championship basketball teams from Alhambra High then later at USC. When I was a little boy my baby sitter would take me to Leo’s for ice cream (the best). Got to compare it with the best elsewhere for the rest of my life. Tried them all including the original Howard Johnsons in Massachusetts, Superior Dairy in Hanford (still there), the famous White Mountain Ice cream parlor in Irvine which was next to Twoees #2 across from UCI; CC Browns in Hollywood; and, of course, the fabled Curries “Mile High” ice cream at the corner of San Gabriel and Las Tunas (Main). Oh yes, met Wil Wright at his ice cream parlor in Newport Beach where I eventually lived.
    Yes, Alhambra was at one time the place to go for serious shopping for folks from all over San Gabriel Valley and parts of LA. Great stores, great clothing shops…..and memories.

  9. CLASS OF 59
    THE HAT IS NOW OWNED BY CORKY CANZELARI CLASS OF 60!
    I WENT TO EMERY PARK GRAMMER SCHOOL
    LIVE IN TEMPLE CITY NOW. I KNOW OTHER PASINOS-KAY PASINO (MISSION HIGH) SHE ALSO HAD A CUSIN THAT LIVED BEHIND HENRYS DRIVEN ROSS PASINO WAS ALSO IN THE CLASS OF 59 BUT GUESS NO RELATIVE OF YOURS?
    SINCERLEY
    FRANK GIOIA CLASS OF 59 GREW UP IN ALHAMBRA

  10. Kanta Masters (Karen Kingto)

    Announcing the AHS Class of 1964 FIFTIETH Reunion on Sept. 6, 2014. We are happy to invite other ’64 grads assist in planning this fabulous event! We are underlining INCLUSION (having as many grads attend as possible) JOY; INSPIRATION (all feeling great about themselves and their class during and after the event). Please let other ’64 grads know and save the date: SEPT. 6, 2014 We hope you will be in touch!

  11. People are Passionate about a few things like religion, sports and difinetely where they grew up, old memories, maybe the first boy friend /girl friend or the first date, restaurants etc,…

    So I created a site as well since i was born in Alhambra

    http://www.welovealhambra.com

  12. Trying to remember someones name…

  13. Remembering Alhambra High during the IIWW, graduated in 1947.
    Remembering I blew the salute to the flag every morning in front of the Old Alhambra High. Good memories are starting to fade at 83…
    Hal Rowden

    1. deanna biro guenveur

      Is this the same Harold rowden who is married to Lynn and attended Bethany church in alhambra? If it is, I am Bob and johann biro’s oldest daughter, dee dee…..

  14. Shirley (Lawrence). Leibovitz

    Lived in Alhambra went to Alhambra high , I remember Leo,s ice cream malts also going to. Henry,s drive in on valley blvd also pizza at Petrillo,s I remember wanting to go down to San Diego one time to meet Avery good friend who was coming home from Navy(Robert Wallace) who also went to Alhambra high but parents would not let me so after few months we broke up Worked at phone company in Alhambra where met my husband (Joe leibovitz). Now live in Golden Colorado and married going on 57 yrs this year have some really great. Times an memories while living in Alhambra

  15. Growing up Midwick is cool, plus Alhambra.
    My grandparents came to Alhambra in the early ’20’s. My Grandmother had my mother @16, so I guess it’s safe to say, 3 generations of us grew up there.
    Club 88-geez, I should apologize on the site to the guys that climbed the rock chimney to the ladies room & I locked the window when they got up there. Or not….
    About 27 yrs ago, I was rec supervisor for Alh. Boy, was that wierd-keys to city hall & all the parks! In charge of 45 rec leaders, 5,000 kids & 9 sites.
    I lived on Baltusrol. Did preschool at Granada, then 1st kiss there, then 1st french kiss…. Always a favorite place.
    I had to staff all night guards when they were remodeling the pool. At 30, I felt too old to go party with my rec leaders, but was never short for volunteers!
    I live in Tonopah, Nv. now, & I doubt anyone here would believe the cookie cutter subdivision I grew up in.

    1. Interesting.

      Andria, you were a friend of my sister Bonnie’s right? I just happened to take a trip down Memory Lane and there you are!

      So whatever happened to you?

      I live in Laguna Niguel, Ca. with my wife and daughter. I got into the real estate game and have been at it for over 30 years now.

      I still see Buzzy once in a while. Phil Stone and I have drinks now and then.

      Write when you get the chance.

Leave a Reply