Claremont Architecture Documentary

Part 1

Architecture exemplifies the mood of the times and this documentary explores the legacy of residential architecture in Claremont.

Before the incorporation of Claremont in 1907, there weren’t many homes in the region. Claremont was part of the boom town that went bust and it wasn’t until Pomona College took over the abandoned Claremont Hotel in 1888 that things started to turn around.

The earliest houses in Claremont were Victorian style homes which emphasized vertical lines and flat wall surfaces. When we say Victorian, it literally describes the era of sixty-four years from 1837 to 1901 when Victoria was Queen of England. The Sumner house, built in 1887, one of the oldest house in Claremont exemplifies this style. Sumner is considered the godfather of Pomona College and his beautiful home still stands today. Victorian style architecture typically has towers and bays projected upward and outward, wraparound porches and various window sizes to define it. They are also tall by nature. The Renwick House is also a Victorian style house.

From the history book, The Claremont Hall, the first location of Pomona College was a beautiful Victorian building. Great prosperity and invention happened during Queen Victoria’s rain which contributed to these fashionably adorable houses. College Street between 1st and 2nd street exemplifies the Victorian era in Claremont.

These survivors are only represent dozens or so victorian structures, which once lined the streets of the village area.At the turn of the 20th century, Claremont was gradually expanding.

The Claremont Citrus industry was starting to take off and homes being built were taking part of the Arts and Craft Movement. The movement was called for simple, honest, and a natural life style. The architecture is best exemplified with Craft mans Bungalows. Craft mans architecture rejected the big ornamentation of the Victorian era in favor of a more simple house for the common man. The architecture for this home is a simple one or two story house with a gently pitched broad gabled roof with rafters which often extend beyond the roof line. A front porch is usually help up by flared posts of rock or brick. Dark wood shingles are a favorite exterior materials used and windows are either slash or casement with many fixed pane panels. The house is horizontal shape with the living room at the center. Thousands of bungalows were built all over Southern California and Claremont was graced with one of the most famous craftsman-architects, Greene and Greene, who designed and built the Darling home. This home was a big deal for Claremont as it got international recognition as well as the first home the Greene brothers demonstrated elements that would mark their signature style. If you pass up North College Ave you can see this beautiful house on full display.Stone architecture was also popular during this time where whole houses were built with Claremont Potatoes.

Source: Matt Weinberger