The 2005 Historic Home Tour featured the Ramona Park Tract, located in southern Alhambra. Originally owned by Alhambra’s founder, Benjamin “Don Benito” Wilson’s son-in-law James De Barth Shorb, the neighborhood was named after Shorb’s own daughter, Ramona.
In 1907, the land was sold to Robert and John Althouse of the Ramona Park Building Company, whose ambition was to create a premier subdivision of Arts and Crafts-styled homes in Alhambra. Contemporaries and associates of Charles and Henry Greene, the Althouse brothers collaborated with the Greene brothers on at least one home, which is located in South Pasadena. Robert and John Althouse would go on to build many fine residences in Los Angeles’ West Adams district.
During the mid to late 1920’s, another phase of home building occurred in Ramona Park with Spanish, Mission and Colonial Revival-styled homes becoming the style du jour. Sadly, many of these elegant homes with large lots and extensive gardens, have been torn down and replaced with apartments and condominiums just within the past two decades.
This tour featured six homes, representing a variety of architectural styles from Arts & Crafts to Mission Revival to Spanish Colonial Revival. The 2005 Home Tour also showcased a number of historic automobiles, which were parked outside several of the homes.
The homes featured on the 2005 Historic Home Tour are those few that remain, standing as a reminder and a tribute to an era long gone – a time before the San Bernardino Freeway, when a horse-drawn trolley lumbered its way along Ramona Boulevard between Sixth Street and Garfield Avenue delivering goods door-to-door, or shuttling residents to conduct their business in the small village of Ramona Park. It was a time when Alhambra was a proud young city, boasting electricity, phones, its own water source and elegant homes that rivaled those in Pasadena and Los Angeles.