Monday, October 20, 2008


To all of those who volunteered, purchased tickets, or opened up their homes for the Pomona Heritage Home Tour, I'm throwing out a huge thank you.

Sunday marked my first glimpse of the historical artifacts at the Ebell Museum of History. It's a little embarrassing to admit that I haven't stopped by earlier in my five years in Pomona. With all that the city and Pomona Valley has lost, my hat is off to the handful of volunteers who really work tirelessly (but I'm sure they're a little tired) to preserve some remnants of the area's past. If anyone is interested, they do accept donations and I doubt they'll turn away a volunteer or two if you're interested in helping out. Pomona Valley Historical Society

Other buildings:
So cool to go beyond sneaking a peak or two from the sidewalk as I walk by. Special thanks to the other owners who let my wife and I explore your buildings.

For those who visited our home, I hope you enjoyed it as much as we enjoyed showing it to you. Pomona has a wonderful history and we appreciated the opportunity to show you a small fraction of it.

Pomona Heritage:
Without a voice for preservation in the community, the onslaught of 'progress' can quickly overwhelm the history that we take for granted. At times that voice may be annoying, it may slow 'progress', and you may think it impinges on a property owner's desire to change their property, but no one should doubt the huge volunteer investment that goes into putting on a city-wide home tour, the proceeds from which will go on to fund additional community efforts such as the Restoration Workshop. And the 6 hours of the tour is dwarfed by the immense time required to plan such a huge endeavor, so a special thank you to Kathleen and all her volunteers.

It was cool to meet Primo Castro and talk to Paula Lantz, but to be honest, it was even cooler to meet Goddess of Pomona and the Pomona's Art Colonists blogger. Wow, I love living in Pomona.


pomona's art colonists said...

It was a pleasure to meet you also! I enjoy your postings very much. I think that I'm becoming addicted to the blogging world, but I love it. Tibbi and I talk about the stories that we read all the's nice to be up to date on the happenings in our GREAT city, makes me proud of our town. By the way, where was the Goddess of Pomona? I would love to meet her!

Anonymous said...

I wonder if someone might be able to provide a few answers about the City Historic Districts?

Are the Districts formed under a particular California law or are they simply city formed districts?
I understand the Parks Dept. reviews the property in these areas prior to formation of the district - does this somehow qualify these districts under either County, State or Federal guidelines or again is it simply a city district?

Are the owners residing in these districts allowed to approve the formation or is it simply invoked by the City?

If you own a property within one of the city Historic Districts, isn't the City mandated under State Law to utilize the Historic Building Code when reviewing renovations being performed on the property?

Thanks in advance - I know many of the readers here know a great deal about the historic districts and I look forward to getting some good information.

John Clifford said...

The city of Pomona has a number of different kinds of historic resources. There are two kinds of historic districts.

The first is the city's historic districts. The city has three of them, Lincoln Park*, Hacienda Park, and Wilton Heights. These are contiguous areas that share a common historic era of significance.

In addition, there are two National Register Historic Districts, Lincoln Park (on both rolls) and the Edison Historic District which is the commercial buildings on either side of the 500 block of West Second Street.

In addition, there are single city landmark historic structures such as the Huges Winery, and some of the homes in Ganesha Hills. We are also home to a number of National Register historic landmarks, including our Adobes, Phillips Mansion, and Fox Theater, among others.

Inclusion on the city's landmark roles as a district or individual structure is governed by the Pomona Historic Preservation Ordinance. You can view the ordinance on the city's web site or on the Pomona Heritage web site. Designation is made by the Historic Preservation Commission and approved by the city council. The parks department has nothing to do with historic designation.

National Register designation is a separate process and is governed by the National Parks Service of the US Department of the Interior. All applications go through the California state historic preservation officer (SHPO), so national register designation is also state designation. As noted, structures or districts can be on one or the other or both.

As far as property owners rights and requirements for renovation and construction within districts, both the National Register and the local ordinance require review for conformance to standards. The basic standard is the Department of the Interior standards. However, the city is free to create its own standards within the ordinance. The basic tenant of preservation is to repair whenever possible, and if replacement is required for safety or other reasons, that the original is replicated as closely as possible using like-for-like materials.

The like-for-like materials is the greatest challenge to us in the preservation community, as many homeowners want to use cheaper methods.

I hope that this answers your question.

Anonymous said...

Thanks John for the good information...much appreciated.

I am still not sure I understand, so bear with me-

I know that the National Parks Service reviewed each property that was to be included in the local historic districts - was this simply a "service" provided to the city or does it mean that the districts are also recognized by the state and federal government?

So folks owning property in these city districts were NOT given an opportunity to approve the district, instead it was simply imposed upon them by the city?

Again, doesn't the city have to follow the state mandated historic building code for properties located within these city districts?

Not trying to push, just want to get as much information as possible. Many thanks for your input.

calwatch said...

Like any other zoning restriction, the City Council approved the restriction through their role in a representative government. Individual property owners were able to opt out of the restrictions and be subject to the existing zoning regulations, as well as those structures which were considered non-conforming (i.e. stuccoed over already). But, that option was only given to the original property owner. Once the property was sold, then it must comply with the historic district rules. Please see page 454 of this link.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Calwatch....I think I have the answers I was seeking, except for the city being required to follow the State Historical Building Code vs. current building codes? I do appreciate the help.

John Clifford said...

The state was never involved in the process, with the exception that Pomona is considered a "certified local government" for historic purposes. Only Lincoln Park (residential) was reviewed by National Parks in order to receive the National Register designation. There is only a "requirement" to follow the Secretary of the Interior (SOI) rules when there is federal money involved. The state does not have a separate historic designation (the National is also state) so there are no state historic building codes separate from the SOI rules.

Hope this helps more to clarify.

Ed said...

Nope, now I'm confused!! lol

John Clifford said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Clifford said...

Figures . . . A definite case of information overload.

Basically, anon keeps asking about state historic standards. State historic building code is just part of the regular building code which allows for some exceptions in the case of historic buildings. That is, historic buildings, in order to remain historic can be exempted from some of the state-wide health and safety building standards. Thus some ADA things, where they would negatively impact the historic nature of the structure can be mitigated. Some building features like size of windows, etc. can be mitigated to ensure historic preservation.

Now I'm really sure everyone is confused.

Ed said...

Actually, that helped. I was too lazy to look up anything on the state historic building code. But John, you keep bringing up that "mitigate" word. Can't the world just be black-and-white?

I'm just having some fun folks!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Mr. Clifford for your input. I was glad to learn that only the Lincoln Park District is listed on the Federal/State Register, however I believe the Park Service conducted a survey of the other districts as least the Hacienda District. Actually I reviewed the report they filed for a particular property with the city? I am confused as to what their role might have been in the formation of the Hacienda District?

As for your observations about the State Historic Building Code...yes it is part of the overall code. However, it provides an alternative to current standards in almost every category of building/construction systems. Renovating a historic property under the Historic Building Code is a wonderful asset for those involved in the process. However, it appears the City is unaware of it's obligation to use the Historic Building Code or to help owners with alternatives when renovating these "historic" homes. Using the Historic Building Code is not an option, but instead is required under State Law.
I find it troublesome that the City is unaware of it's obligation?

me said...

It was fun to finally meet you as well. And your house, well it made my own castle seem a bit shack-like in comparison! I think the curved benches were my favorite.

Sorry I didn't get to meet "the pomona's art colonists," (yet another Pomona blogger!!!) but with Mr. Big in tow, I didn't quite make it to 2nd Street, or up on Towne for that matter.

The home tour always beats walking at night and looking in windows.

G of P

Ed said...


Could you provide some specificity? A simple hypothetical might maintain your anonymity, but give us a little more info. Do you know of a situation where the city didn't adhere to the State Historic Building Code?

I finally read it and I agree with Anon that owners of historic buildings should take a few minutes to become familiar with it. My reading is consistent with John's earlier comment, in that it allows owners an end-around to current building codes, except in the presence of an unsafe condition.

Anonymous said...

Dear Ed,

I would love to share more details with you, however I simply can't at this time. However, it is my contention that city staff has been regularly imposing the liabilities associated with inclusion in a historic district, while failing to offer the benefits...especially renovation review under the Historic Building Code. Senior City officials seem unfamiliar with the Historic Building Code and have falsely stated that it does not apply to properties located in city designated historic districts? These regulations are important to owners doing renovation because they are performance oriented rather than prescriptive, thus allowing a variety of options for owners.

I am sorry that I can not be more specific, hopefully I will be able to "come out of the closet" in the future.