Home tour focuses on one of Claremont’s oldest neighborhoods

For Claremont Heritage board members, the architecture that defines the city’s homes is as notable as the culture and history of the people living within them. From the historic Arbol Verde to modern Claraboya, Claremont’s neighborhoods are an integral part of its heritage.

This year’s Claremont Heritage Home Tour, set for Sunday, October 14, looks to capture the essence of close-knit Claremont by providing a glimpse into its early homes and inhabitants. Focusing on Indian Hill, one of the city’s first and most notable neighborhoods, the Heritage board hopes to help guests relive some of that history.

“Indian Hill is the backbone of Claremont,” said David Sawhill, Heritage board member and co-chair of this year’s home tour. “When people think of Claremont, they think of Indian Hill.”

Each year the board’s president selects a theme, or area of focus, in which to carry out Claremont Heritage’s mission of educational outreach. “Neighbors and neighborhoods” was selected as Claremont Heritage’s overarching theme this year in an effort to strengthen its community profile and relationships.

“Our goal is to be more involved and have a higher profile in the community,” Mr. Neiuber said of Claremont Heritage in a March interview.

Focusing on different neighborhoods throughout the year, Claremont Heritage’s educational programming culminates with a history lesson on Indian Hill.

“In many ways, Indian Hill Boulevard is the quintessential Claremont neighborhood: the walkability, the stately elms, the parks and perfect sampling of early 20th century residential architecture,” states this year’s Home Tour brochure.

In keeping with this year’s concept, each house on the home tour—located between Harrison Avenue and Foothill Boulevard—will be within walking distance in an effort to have guests interacting like neighbors, “walking over and knocking on the door,” said Mr. Sawhill.

Six homes on historic Indian Hill Boulevard will be opened for this year’s tour, each with its own unique story. Among them is the Stover House, built by one of early Claremont’s master builders Clarence Stover, who would later build many of the commercial buildings found along Harvard Avenue in the Village. Many of the houses played host to similar key historic players in Claremont’s development. One home on this year’s tour, for example, was the residence of the founder of Claremont McKenna College.

 “The tour is a combination of entertainment and education,” said Denny Gambill, home tour co-chair along with Mr. Sawhill.

To further education and interaction among guests, a highlight of this year’s tour will be an exhibit of historic aerial photos and maps of the Claremont community in the Ginger Elliott Exhibition Space, located to the rear of the Garner House.

“The result is a timeline that moves from the 1800s to the 1980s with bios along the way,” said archivist Amy Berssen.

Features of the exhibit include a Claremont cityscape and a restored map of Pomona and Claremont from the 1930s. Ms. Berssen also hopes to have an interactive map where exhibit visitors can place a sticker on their neighborhood.

A first look at this year’s exhibition will be granted on Tuesday, October 9, when Ginger Elliott gives a presentation on Claremont’s history with the maps and photos as a guide. The lecture takes place at 5:30 p.m. The exhibit will open again during the home tour and is expected to remain open during Claremont Heritage’s operating hours—Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.—through October.

Whether residents take part in the tour or venture over to the Garner House for a glimpse of the exhibition, Heritage board members hope guests leave with a new sense of understanding about the vast history behind Claremont’s varied neighborhoods.

“Claremont is a petri dish of architecture and culture, from beginning to end,” said Margaret Russell, Heritage board member and home tour committee member,  encourages Claremont families to take advantage of educational opportunities provided through the town’s historical society. “[Claremont Heritage] is such a rich resource.”

Home tour tickets are available at $25 for members and $30 for non-members at a number of Claremont businesses. A catered lunch by Buca Di Beppo will be available at the Garner House from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for an additional $10. The Claremont High School Jazz Band will serenade lunch guests. The entire event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Tickets will be available on the day of the event at $30 for members and $35 for non-members.

The event kicks off with an opening reception the night before at the craftsman-style home of Karen and John Neiuber, board president of Claremont Heritage. The evening will feature a tour of the home as well as a talk by Professor Bob Herman. Wine, hors d’oeuvres and dessert will be served. Tickets are $15 for members and students, $20 for non-members.

For more on the 30th annual Claremont Heritage Home Tour, visit www.claremontheritage.org or call 621-0848.

—Beth Hartnett



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