If you’ve spent any time cruising the surface streets of Alhambra, you’ve encountered the gorgeous Art Deco neon pole signs that mark the city boundaries.You see ALHAMBRA when entering town and COME AGAIN SOON on your way out.
One of these 1930s-era signs is located on East Main Street at the border with San Gabriel, with the second and third on West Huntington Boulevard and West Valley Boulevard by the 710, at the Los Angeles border. (The fourth sign, at Valley and New at the San Gabriel border, was lost to redevelopment in the early 1980s. We hope it will one day be replicated and restored.)
Last October, Alhambra’s Arts Commission spent $10,000 for local company Sign Crafters to restore the three surviving neon signs, and we applaud the city for branching out from funding the ephemeral and expensive Rose Parade floats to improve something that’s a part of citizens’ daily experience.
But on Monday evening (8/24/2020), Alhambra City Council will be voting on a matter that threatens to ruin the beauty of the newly restored neon signs, and we need your help to protect them.
Alhambra is one of more than 3400 communities designated Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation. Justifiably proud, City Council plans to erect signs announcing the honor. But they want to put the flat metal signs right under the historic neon signs.
Frankly, the Tree City USA sign looks like it was whipped up by a civil servant in a couple of hours. Putting these contemporary markers alongside the vintage neon signs will detract from the beauty of the historic landmarks, and make it impossible to frame the time capsule photographs that neon lovers pull over to get.
Here’s how you can help! Please email Alhambra City Council before 5pm Monday (8/24/2020), or call in (via phone or Zoom) to the virtual City Council meeting at 6pm and speak up for protecting the neon signs. To participate in person, you need to send an email before 5pm to let them know you’ll be calling in. Full instructions can be found on page 2 here.
If emailing, send to firstname.lastname@example.org before 5pm 8/24/20, Subject line: Comments for agenda item 5, Tree City USA. Below is a sample email that you are welcome to copy or adapt to reflect your personal opinions:
Dear Alhambra City Council,
Please read my comment into the public record.
I love your newly restored neon welcome signs, and I applaud your dedication to the urban forest with participation in the Tree City USA program. But the two signs don’t mix. Please preserve the historic beauty and integrity of Alhambra’s wonderful neon signs by letting them have a little room to breathe, and install the modern “Tree City USA” signs somewhere other than “under the neon Alhambra welcome signage,” as proposed. Thank you!
Sincerely, (your name and city)
Please join us in speaking up for these beautiful signs which have brightened the roadside experience of generations of Alhambrans and visitors!