Monday, July 25, 2011

First Home of Pomona College

Los Angeles County, October 1, 1994

If nothing else, this somewhat questionable landmark answers the question of why Pomona College isn’t in Pomona, but instead down the road in Claremont. The original college site was a rented house here on the corner of Mission & White, which is now long gone and current longtime home to Angelo’s Burgers. “Awesome food Looks like they are fixing up the place little by little, beats bravos and ox burger even toms” - a review.

A keen eye looking at the two photographs (1994 and 2008) will notice that the marker has moved, and careful study of its two locations beg the question, why? Was it the ghost of Gwendolyn Rose?  

It was Gwendolyn’s suicide in the basement of an unfinished hotel in Claremont that caused deferment of finishing its construction and paved the way to the subsequent sale to Pomona College. After the move, they simply kept their original name. The hotel became Sumner Hall and is the current office of Admissions and Office of Campus Life, complete with embellished tales of the supernatural to properly induct a freshmen.   

Sumner Hall 1907

It seems like strange times we live in when a ghost has a facebook page, here’s Gwendolyn’s ‘personal information’:

Since her tragic suicide there over a century ago, Gwendolyn Rose has continued to grace the corridors and stairwells of Sumner Hall. Although the details of her earthly life are elusive, it is known that she and her husband moved to Claremont from Chicago. While searching for a home, the Roses stayed in a local hotel that— following her suicide there—would be sold to Pomona College and renamed Sumner Hall. Her husband's infidelity and stress from the move likely led to her taking her life, generally thought to be in the women's bathroom in the basement. Housekeepers, students, and deans have said that they have felt the presence of Gwendolyn Rose. Some speak of a crying voice in the basement at strange hours, and others say that they have seen a woman—lit by her own glow—crying on the stairwell during the darkest hours of the night. Still others describe a slender young woman in a white dress and veil, who is variously described as lost or resolute, though invariably tragic.

Plaque inscription: NO. 289 FIRST HOME OF POMONA COLLEGE - Pomona College, incorporated October 14, 1887, held its first class in this small frame cottage on September 12, 1888. Those in attendance consisted of a mere handful of eager students, five faculty members, and the president, Professor Edwin C. Norton. Five months later, in January 1889, the college moved to an unfinished boom hotel on a plot of land in the town of Claremont.
Location: SW corner Mission Blvd and S White St, Pomona
USGS Quadrangle Sheet Name: ONTARIO
Google 34.054739,-117.758937

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