Alhambra is located in the western San Gabriel Valley region of Los Angeles County, California. Alhambra is named after Washington Irving's book Tales of the Alhambra, not after the Alhambra palace itself. Alhambra was founded as a suburb of Los Angeles in 1903.
There are also a large number of condominiums, rental apartments, and mixed-use residential/commercial buildings, especially in the Downtown area. The main business district of Alhambra — at the intersection of Main & Garfield — has been a center of commerce since 1895. By the 1950s, it had taken on an upscale look and was "the" place to go in the San Gabriel Valley. While unfortunately, many of the classic historical buildings have been torn down over the years, the rebuilding of Main Street has led to numerous dining, retail and entertainment establishments. Alhambra has experienced waves of new immigrants, beginning with Italians in the 1950s, Mexicans in the 1960s, and Chinese in the 1980s. As a result, a very active Chinese business district has developed on Valley Boulevard, including Chinese supermarkets, restaurants, shops, banks, realtors, and medical offices. The Valley Boulevard Corridor has become a national hub for many Asian-owned bank headquarters, although there are other nationally-recognized retailers.