Indian Hill Boulevard was never the bright bustling street as it is today. It was once a desert that overlooked a plot of land that was soon to be established as the City of Claremont. The wonderful City of Claremont has not always looked the way that it does today. There is more to it than what meets the eye. For instance, Claremont was built on land that was once inhabited by a group of Native Americans in 1887. With Claremont’s first-ever resident, W. T. “Tooch” Martin, Claremont was on its way to a future no one could have ever predicted.
From 1887-1900, Claremont had developed into a small town that was still growing; this time frame was known as the “Plucky Pioneers.” Claremont was eager to implement a strong educational system straight from the start. After developing their little settlement, they rushed into making Pomona College. The housing place for Pomona College is a building today known as Angelos on the corner of Fifth Street (now Mission Boulevard) and White Avenue in Pomona. The emphasis on education did not stop there, though. With a new college in place, one of the things that were missing was a school for the children. The families of the local college professors wanted to provide a “superior education” for their children.
The Claremont grammar school was started in 1890. It was a general land office building, which was located opposite the original Santa Fe train depot. It was a one-room schoolhouse that held the inventory of one set of maps, two wall maps, one globe, and a library of three volumes valued at $1.50. By 1891, the school had 68 children, 36 boys and 32 girls, from grades kindergarten to eighth grade.
After eighth grade, the children would move onto high school. The town’s high school was held at the Thomas Barrows house in 1891, located at 351 North Alexander (now 405 North Indian Hill). With 100 children attending the high school, the building needed some remodeling. The newly remodeled building is now known today as The Colonial Building, but it did not stop there. With the high school now being changed for a third time, the first-ever Claremont High was born.
An up-and-coming settlement happens to need a lot of renovations, but that did not stop the Claremont citizens. With education still a high priority, they put a 40-year $75,000 bond up for a vote. This bond would fund the creation of the first Claremont High School.
“We should try to do everything at once, because that is the way our children are growing up, and at once we want the best, not third or fourth-rate secondary education for them,” someone who was defending the bond as sighted from “Claremont: A Pictorial History” by Judy Wright said.
With the vote passed, the first high school was now in session. Claremont High School opened its doors to 120 students on September 2, 1911, but sadly the high school was closed down due to not meeting earthquake requirements and was sold in 1971. The old high school now stands to be Griswold’s Old School House (GOSH) located going west down Foothill Boulevard and Indian Hill Boulevard. The now standing Claremont High School began operations in 1963 and was fully constructed by February 1971.
After years of building and shaping the future, the City of Claremont is left in the present, where we have a uniquely defined educational system, along with an inspirational community. Claremont High itself has set records reaching above standardized testing levels in the country along with the local colleges both in Claremont and Pomona. Throughout the decades, Claremont has truly been “the city of trees and PhDs.
Information cited by Claremont: A Pictorial History by Judy Wright.