Bring life back to the Village with walking tour
by John Neiuber
Our walking tour of Claremont continues. In part one, we started at the Depot, zig-zagged our way through the east Village, and explored the west Village, ending at The Packing House on First Street. Part two begins there.
Cross First Street and proceed north on Oberlin.
THE BACK ABBEY, 1907, 128 N. OBERLIN
Just to the north on Oberlin Avenue is a restaurant in the surviving office of the 1907 Union Ice Company building. The original facility provided ice and cooling services for the citrus industry. Underground tunnels connected the ice company to the packing houses.
Proceed north on Oberlin and turn right on Bonita to Indian Hill.
JACOBSEN BUILDING, 1929
SOUTHEAST CORNER OF INDIAN HILL BLVD
& BONITA AVENUE
Dr. Arthur L. Jacobsen had this English Tudor Revival style office built for his dental practice. It has become a corner anchor for the Village, and is unusual in Claremont because of its use of “clinker” brick, steeply pitched roof lines and slate shingles. Today it houses Jeff Stark & Associates Financial Services.
Proceed east on Bonita and turn left at Yale.
WALTER’S RESTAURANT, 1954
310 N. YALE AVE.
This Claremont institution of gastronomy, art, culture and community has been in continuous operation since 1957 when it opened as Walter’s Coffee Shop. It was purchased in 1973 by the Ghafarshad family and became Walter’s Restaurant. Of special note is that the building was designed by renowned architect, Foster Rhodes Jackson, having worked for and studied under Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin. The restaurant also expanded north into what was once a bungalow court.
From Walter’s proceed north to Harrison.
CLAREMONT UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST
233 HARRISON AVE.
Once called the community church, this was the only Protestant church in town from 1891 to 1949. It was the center of much of the academic, social and philanthropic activity of the early town. The original church building, built in 1891, was demolished in the 1960s. The Guildhall, facing Harrison Avenue, was built in 1928 and is the oldest remaining structure on the property. This church defines the northern end of the Village.
From the church, proceed north on Harvard and turn west on Sixth Street.
PILGRIM PLACE, 1924, 660 AVERY RD.
Begun in 1914 on the site that is now Scripps College as the Claremont Missionary Home, this retirement home for Christian workers moved to its current location in 1924. Over 150 homes, many historic, on winding streets with names like Mayflower and Bradford give this complex the look of a small village of the 1920s.
Enjoy Pilgrim Place from the exterior on Berkeley, then head north to Eighth Street and east to Indian Hill.
THE GARNER HOUSE, 1926
840 N. INDIAN HILL BLVD.
Built for Bess and Herman Garner and their three sons, this 15-room house was the center of a six-acre citrus grove. Mr. Garner owned Vortox, one of Claremont’s few industrial plants. The Garners also built the Padua Hills Theatre. Bess Garner was an author, a newspaper columnist, a member of the Claremont School Board and a moving force in the restoration of the Palomares Adobe in Pomona. In 1946, the Garner house and grove was purchased to become the city’s central park and a community house. It is now home to Claremont Heritage.
Proceed east on Eighth Street to College Avenue.
THE DARLING/WRIGHT HOUSE, 1903
NORTHWEST CORNER OF COLLEGE AVENUE
AND EIGHTH STREET
Built in 1903 for Mary Reeve Darling and her two sons attending Pomona College, this home has the distinction of being the only house in Claremont designed by Charles and Henry Greene. It predates the brothers’ more famous projects, such as the Gamble and Blacker houses in Pasadena. The home was their first to be built outside of Pasadena. It was extensively restored and renovated in 2008 by the current owners.
From here proceed south on College Avenue. (Note: The Claremont Colleges campuses have been closed to visitors because of the pandemic. This tour will not include the Colleges, but since College Avenue is a public street, continue south.)
As you proceed down College Avenue, you will walk through the gates of Pomona College. Founded in 1887, it is the oldest and largest of the Claremont Colleges and was established as a coed liberal arts college of the “New England style.” Its location and early growth established the site of the small village and residential town of Claremont.
CARNEGIE HALL (LIBRARY), 1908
425 N COLLEGE AVE.
The iconic Classical Revival style Carnegie Library located at Pomona College on College Avenue is one of the most recognized, photographed and beloved buildings in Claremont. The building was designed by Franklin Pierce Burnham. Burnham designed three Carnegie Libraries that stand today—Claremont, Colton and Oxnard, the last two being on the National Register of Historic Places.
Visible from College Avenue is Bridges Hall of Music on the south side of the quad.
BRIDGES HALL OF MUSIC, 1915
150 E. FOURTH ST. A PEDESTRIAN MALL
ON THE POMONA COLLEGE CAMPUS
The concert hall often called “Little Bridges” was designed by Pasadena architect Myron Hunt and was a gift of Mr. and Mrs. Appleton Bridges of San Diego, whose daughter died in 1907, a year before her graduation from Pomona College. Hunt chose a style that included classical elements in a Roman Basilica exterior and an interior noted for its beautifully painted wood-beamed ceiling reflective of the Mexican heritage of this area. Hunt went on to develop the master plan for the Pomona College campus.
From Carnegie Hall, look east across the Marston Quad.
BRIDGES AUDITORIUM, 1931
The Art Deco concert hall, called “Big Bridges” to distinguish it from Bridges Hall of Music, was a second gift from the family of Mabel Shaw Bridges. For many years it was the largest concert hall east of Los Angeles, seating 2,500. It is the eastern anchor of Marston Quadrangle, one of the beautifully landscaped green spaces that mark all of the Claremont Colleges. The auditorium is used for theatrical productions, speakers, graduations and concerts.
The tour continues in the next installment.