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Toponymy of Alhambra. Mr. Sanchez, Alhambra High School. Why is Each Point on Earth Unique?. Humans possess a strong sense of place—that is, a feeling for the features that contribute to the distinctiveness of a particular spot on Earth, hometown, vacation, country.

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Toponymy of Alhambra


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  1. Toponymy of Alhambra Mr. Sanchez, Alhambra High School

  2. Why is Each Point on Earth Unique? • Humans possess a strong sense of place—that is, a feeling for the features that contribute to the distinctiveness of a particular spot on Earth, hometown, vacation, country. • Geographers describe a feature’s place on earth by identifying its location, the position on the Earth’s surface. • Location includes: place name, site, situation and mathematical location.

  3. Who influenced Alhambra? And, why Alhambra?

  4. Place Name: Alhambra • Toponym is the name given to a place on Earth. • So, how did the City of Alhambra get it’s name? • Who influenced the names of streets, schools, roads, buildings, etc.? • Remember, every point on Earth is unique and its names reveal much of its history, people, culture, language, etc.

  5. Benjamin Davis “Don Benito” Wilson • In 1841, Benjamin D. Wilson (1811-1878), a trapper and trader originally from Tennessee had already accumulated a fortune. • “Don Benito” married Ramona Yorba, a daughter of the owner of Rancho de Santa Ana. • “Don Benito” became a powerful landowner whose properties included Westwood, UCLA, Pasadena, Alhambra, San Gabriel, and San Pedro, etc. • With the admission of California to the Union in 1850, Wilson took an active part in local and state politics. • At age 39, he was elected the first Los Angeles County clerk. • In 1852, he became the second-elected mayor of Los Angeles.

  6. Garfield Elementary School • The first school built in Alhambra (after the Arroyo School) was Garfield, which had a cupola that could be seen from far and a bell with a tongue that reached beyond the district's boundaries. The building had no electricity, heat, plumbing or window screens.

  7. The Naming of Alhambra • In 1874, Benjamin Wilson bought 275 acres of state-owned land between the Arroyo and the Old Mill Wash paying $2.75 an acre. • He divided the tract into 5 and 10 acre lots. • Wilson named his venture "Alhambra" at the urging of his youngest daughter, 10-year old Ruth, who along with Sister Anne had been reading Washington Irving's book about the legends of the Moorish palace in Southern Spain called “The Alhambra.”

  8. Hot Days in Alhambra On hot days, Alhambra children would run to the "Ice Wagon" to ask for slivers of ice, a "luxury" in those days.

  9. The Alhambra Tract • The Alhambra Tract was the first tract of homes in Southern California to have water piped in iron pipes to each lot. . • He knew such an improvement would attract settlers because water was always a determining factor in the choice of settling. • In keeping with the theme of Irving's book, the five streets of the subdivision were named Granada, Almansor, Alhambra Road, Vega (for the wide plain in the province of Granada), and Boabdil (the last Moorish king to live in the Palace of the Alhambra).

  10. Alhambra Tract Map

  11. Main Street View, 1890

  12. Heavy traffic flow on Main Street at Garfield Avenue (1923).

  13. Street Names from the Alhambra • Almansor (Street) is from Al-Mansur meaning victorious. It is a surname assumed by a large number of Arabian princes who were part of the Moorish dynasty. • Boabdil - previously the name of Main Street. The name was changed in 1902, reportedly because people could not pronounce Boabdil. Boabdil was the last Moorish king to occupy the palace named "The Alhambra" in Granada, Spain. • Granada Street was named for the place where The Alhambra is located in Spain. • Lindaraxa - a lovely garden at The Alhambra named for the beautiful Lindaraxa, daughter of Muhamed's faithful adherent, the alcayde of Malaga. Originally, the street called Court Lindaraxa was changed to Lindaraxa Park in 1902. • Valencia Street had been Court Delora until 1909 when the name change conformed more with the surrounding streets of Spanish names. • It would seem that the street names Washington and Irving deserved more importance than assigning them to merely one-block long streets off Wilson (Atlantic), but such was their fate. Other streets in the first Alhambra subdivision were also given names from "The Alhambra."

  14. Postcard of Granada Avenue in Alhambra, California (1906).

  15. Alhambra High School • The original cost of the new high school was $49,500 raised from an increase in property taxes in the city. Alhambra City High School was built for a capacity of 500 students although there were actually only 100 students at that time. By 1924, the enrollment had increased so substantially that the building was replaced with a new school. .

  16. The Shorb Family James DeBarth and Maria DeJesusShorb had the following children: 1. 1868 Maria Inez “Ynez” Shorb (1868-1933) 2. 1870 James DeBarth “Barty” Shorb, Jr. (1870- 1907) 3. 1871 Margaret Nina Shorb (1871-1875) 4. 1872 Edith Octavia Shorb (1872-1954) 5. 1874 Ramona Yorba Shorb (1874-1921) 6. 1876 “Benito” Shorb (1876-1877) 7. 1878 Joseph Campbell Shorb (1878-1919) 8. 1880 Ethel Rebecca Shorb (1880-1959) 9. 1883 Donald McNeal Shorb (1883-1933) 10. 1887 Norbert Newland (1887-1951) 11. 1888 Bernardo Yorba Shorb (1888-1928) • James DeBarthShorb was born in Frederick County, Maryland, the seventh child of Dr. James Aloysius Shorb and Margaret McNeal. • He was married in 1867 in California to Maria DeJesus “Sue” Wilson, (1844-1917) daughter of Benjamin David Wilson and Ramona Anselma Yorba. • Together they had eleven children. • James Shorb had a tremendous effect on the development of Alhambra.

  17. Schools Named after Don Benito’s Family Ramona Elementary School was named after Don Benito’s first wife, Ramona Yorba and his granddaughter Ramona Yorba Shorb. Ynez Elementary School was named after the grand-daughter of “Don Benito,” Maria Inez “Ynez” Shorb who was the daughter of James de Barth Shorb and Maria de Jesus “Sue” Shorb [Wilson].

  18. Schools Named after Don Benito’s Family Marguerita Elementary School was named after Don Benito’s granddaughter Marguerita Nina Shorb. Don Benito Elementary School in Pasadena was named after Benjamin “Don Benito,” Wilson.

  19. French Pyrenees Castle in Alhambra? Alhambra's famed French chateau, located on the hill south of Valley Boulevard and west of Fremont, is similiar to those in the Pyrenees Mountains was built by Sylvester Dupuy at a cost of $250,000 in 1926.

  20. Street Names of Don Benito’s Family • When James De Barth Shorb was subdividing the area south of his vineyards and the Southern Pacific tracks, he named the streets for his family members - Marguerita, Edith, Ethel, Benito, Campbell,Ynez. • Newlands, the middle name of his son, Norbert, was given to the street we now know as Glendon Way. • Ramona Avenue was changed to Shorb Street in 1908 and the name given to a more important thoroughfare, Ramona Boulevard that became Ramona Road after the freeway construction.