Celebration set for historic Alhambra Ward in California's San Gabriel Valley

The Alhambra Ward, the Church's first outpost in California's San Gabriel Valley, will observe its Diamond Jubilee Oct. 9th. This year marks the 90th anniversary of the ward and the 75th anniversary of the dedication of the Alhambra Ward building.

The Alhambra Ward began as a branch in the California Mission in 1920; it later became part of the first stake in California. The Alhambra became a ward in 1923.

Construction of the current Alhambra Ward building began in March of 1931 during the depth of the Great Depression. The tile-roofed Spanish Mission style building was constructed by the members themselves. For many of the unemployed men working on the building, the meal provided each day by the Church's Relief Society sisters was the only meal of the day. The building was completed in 1935; President Heber J. Grant dedicated it on Dec. 1 of that year. It is located at 1212 South Eighth St. in Alhambra.

Mary Simmons of the Alhambra Ward was there at the dedication; she was 8 years old. Her most vivid memory was when President Grant invited all the children to come up and shake his hand. She thought shaking the prophet's hand was very special. One child said that she would never wash her hand again.

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