Claremont Heritage aims to have Renwick House listed in national registry

The State Historical Resources Commission (SHRC) approved Renwick House for historical significance on April 18 despite requests by Pomona College to delay the vote.

The unanimous decision is another chapter in the dramatic saga involving the college’s plan to move the 1900 Queen Anne house across the street to make room for the proposed Pomona College Museum of Art.

According to Claremont Heritage’s Denise Spooner, who was present at the meeting, the SHRC approved the item, which was pulled from the calendar for discussion due to a request for delay by Pomona College.

Amy Minteer, an attorney working with a group called “Citizens to Save College Avenue,” accompanied Ms. Spooner, as well as Susan Brandt-Hawley, an attorney specializing in preservation issues.

Pomona College Vice President and Treasurer Karen Sisson represented the college. She urged the commission to delay the vote until the next SHRC meeting on July 29, citing the college’s need for more time to review the nomination and determine if it met the appropriate guidelines.

The next step is a 30 to 45 day processing period until Renwick becomes part of the National Register of Historic Places, according to Claremont Heritage Director David Shearer.

“The keeper of the national register reviews all the nominations and then enters them into the record,” Mr. Shearer said.

Despite the upcoming historical distinction, Mr. Shearer said it ultimately does not save Renwick from getting moved for the new museum.

“[The college] would maybe have to have more of an environmental impact review done,” Mr. Shearer said. “They have to jump through a few more hoops.”

But the main reason for the historical designation is just that—historical.

“It’s more of an issue of recognizing an honoring our historic architecture, either for events that happened there or the people who lived there,” Mr. Shearer said. “It’s about preserving our cultural and architectural history.”

—Matthew Bramlett


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