Column: HUD audit raises roof at Pomona meeting

In the final meeting for six weeks of the Pomona City Council, a HUD audit comes to light that doesn’t look good for Pomona or a council member. But the city says the 2-year-old findings should work out okay. Also, another council member is said to be able to balance bulky objects on his face. It’s never dull in Pomona, as those news items and more make up Wednesday’s column.

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Plaque installed on Pomona College’s first home (in Pomona)


Pomona College really was once in Pomona rather than Claremont — if only for one semester in 1888. The original campus was a single house on the corner of White Avenue and Mission Boulevard, later moved to a residential neighborhood. (The original site is now a taqueria, with a plaque out front noting its place in history.)

This was all explored in my column in 2012, on the 125th anniversary of the college’s 1887 founding. College president David Oxtoby and I had lunch at Angelo’s, then located the house with the aid of the college’s unofficial historian, Don Pattison. It’s at Phillips and Hamilton boulevards in south Pomona.

Homeowner Maria Barajas welcomed we three strangers inside and was delighted to learn about her home’s history. Ever since she’s been seeking some kind of historic recognition.

Now she has it: a plaque in her front yard courtesy of the college, denoting her house as City Historical Landmark No. 289.

I see from that 2012 column that when we arrived, Oxtoby remarked lightly, “I don’t see a plaque.” That won’t be the case if he returns.


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Sword reveal in Pomona


A World War I re-enactors group, the Great War Historical Society, lined up Monday prior to the sword unveiling at Pomona’s Garfield Park. Below, Rubio Gonzalez of the Historical Society of Pomona Valley gets the cloth off the sword. And below that, the re-enactors file past the reconstituted statue. Can you say “photo op”? After all, the statue was dedicated in 1923 to those who lost their lives in the Great War.

The bottom portion of the original sword was broken off by 1975, based on a photo in the Pomona Valley Historian publication, and later was stolen completely. A new sword was made nearly a decade ago but has been kept in storage. It was put up Saturday night, covered, lasted until the unveiling (whew), and is due to be removed Tuesday, to return to storage.

And by the way, what we had all thought was a bottle of water that some jokester had placed in the Goddess’ hand was actually a votive candle, which is more fitting for a war memorial than it had seemed.



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Garfield Park World War I memorial, Pomona


The dedication on Nov. 11, 1923 of the memorial for the then-recent first world war drew 5,000 people. The monument is intact nearly a century later, other than the sword loosely held by the Goddess of Pomona, which has been stolen or broken and missing for some three decades. In recent years, she’s usually been handing the young worker a bottle of water. Heh.

Below is the plaque on the base listing the war dead from Pomona. “Some gave much. Others gave all.”


Claremont artist Burt Johnson sculpted the memorial. Below is a photo of him at work on the piece. It gives a good idea of the scale. It’s hard to judge the figures’ height in person because they’re elevated on a base.


Mickey Gallivan, executive director of the Historical Society, is shorter than the 5-foot-6 sword, which has been cast by Glendora artist Richard Myer from photos.



I’m not much taller than the sword myself. It’s heavy! Obviously it’s not a real sword or my severed fingers would have fallen to the ground, one by one. The stance was about the only way to be sure I wouldn’t drop the ($3,500) sword.

In retrospect, I should have tried poking the bottle of water free.

My Wednesday column will have more about the memorial. A service will take place at 1 p.m. Monday in which the sword will be briefly mounted.

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