History of Claremont

Much of what Claremont is today is the direct result of actions taken by the community’s founders more than 100 years ago. Trees planted at the turn of the century now compete with nearby mountain peaks for dominance of the local skyline. The Claremont Colleges have become some of the nation’s most highly respected educational and cultural institutions. The historic central core remains a vital residential and retail district, one of the last true “downtowns” in the region. And the spirit of Claremont’s original “town meeting” form of self-governance lives on in today’s active and involved citizenry, citizens who continue to build on the successes of the past in order to ensure an even brighter future.

The first known inhabitants of the Claremont region were the Serrano Indians. Evidence of a Serrano village was discovered on a mesa a few hundred yards northeast of the intersection of Foothill and Indian Hill Boulevards. In 1771, as the Spanish period in California began, Mission San Gabriel was founded. The lands owned by the mission stretched from the San Bernardino Mountains to San Pedro Bay. Claremont was part of this vast tract, and many of the Serranos were employed as shepherds for the padres.

After the missions were secularized by the Mexican government in 1834, most of the land within the present city limits became part of the Rancho San Jose owned by Ricardo Vejar and Don Ygnacio Palomares. Ygnacio’s sister, Maria Barbara, lived with her husband and family in an adobe house in the area now known as Memorial Park. The Serranos continued to work for the Spanish settlers until smallpox took a heavy toll on the indigenous population in 1862 and 1873. By 1883, the few remaining Serrano Indians had left the area.

Jedediah Smith, the first European man to enter California overland, passed through the Claremont region in 1826. W. T. (“Tooch”) Martin, the first anglo-European resident of Claremont, filed a claim on 156 acres near Indian Hill Boulevard in 1871. Martin lived by hunting game and keeping bees but eventually moved on as the population grew around him.

The Santa Fe Railroad provided the impetus for the creation of a community named Claremont in January 1887. It was one of about thirty town sites laid out between San Bernardino and Los Angeles in anticipation of a population explosion resulting from the arrival of the railroad. However, the real estate boom was short-lived and Claremont would have become one of a long list of local railroad “ghost towns” if not for the decision of the local land company to transfer its Hotel Claremont and 260 vacant lots to the recently-founded Pomona College in 1888.

The founders of Pomona College wanted to establish a school of “the New England style” and the community that grew up around it also reflected the founders’ New England heritage. Even the form of local government they used, the Town Meeting, was brought with them from their hometowns in the East. The citizen involvement and volunteerism on which the town meeting form of government is based continue to be hallmarks of Claremont today.

Beginning in 1904, there was talk of incorporating as a city. Proponents didn’t want to rely on Los Angeles County for services. Opponents warned the community’s weak tax base would result in bankruptcy in less than a year. Finally, after much debate, an election on the incorporation question was held on September 23, 1907. Ninety-five percent of Claremont’s 131 eligible voters went to the polls. Incorporation was approved by a vote of 73 to 49, and the City of Claremont was officially incorporated on October 3, 1907.

At the same time the colleges were growing and expanding, so was the local citrus industry. Citrus ranches spread out across all the foothill communities. Claremont growers established one of the earliest citrus cooperatives for marketing and shipping citrus fruit, a model that led to the organization of the Sunkist cooperative. At its height, the industry supported four citrus packing houses, an ice house, and a precooling plant along the railroad tracks in Claremont.

Labor for the citrus industry was predominately provided by Mexican-Americans often new arrivals from Mexico. Men served as pickers while women worked in the packing houses. By 1920, two Mexican-American neighborhoods had developed in Claremont; one in the area of El Barrio Park and the other near the packing houses west of Indian Hill Boulevard and north of the railroad. In addition to working in the citrus industry, Mexican labor contributed greatly to the early construction of the Claremont Colleges, including skilled crafting of many stone structures and ornamental features.

Citrus continued to flourish in the area until after the Second World War. That’s when the pressure for residential development caused many growers to sell their land for housing tracts. The opening of the San Bernardino Freeway in 1954 made it much easier for people not associated with citrus or the colleges to live in Claremont. The city, which covered about 3.5 square miles at its incorporation in 1907, now covers more than 12 square miles with a population of just under 34,000 residents.

The early Spanish, college, and citrus industry influences can be seen in the community today. There are lush remnants of citrus and oak groves and a physical character reminiscent of Claremont’s Spanish heritage and college-town influence. Claremont has many fine representatives of various architectural periods, particularly Victorian, neo-Classical Revival, Craftsman, and Spanish Colonial Revival. This diversity, sense of scale, and continuity singles it out as a unique community in Southern California.

Local Economy

Number of Businesses in Claremont: 1,555

Top Employers

Company Name — Product — # of Employees
Claremont Colleges — Education — 3,000
Clmt. Unif. School Dist. — Education — 738
Hi-Rel Connectors, Inc. — Mfr. aerospace connectors — 300
City of Claremont — Local government — 260
Claremont Auto Center — Automobile sales — 220
Claremont Manor — Retirement home — 201
Technip Coflex — Engineering/consultants — 205
Pilgrim Place — Retirement home — 180
Webb Schools of Ca. — Education — 130

Local Retail Sales (1st Quarter – 2009)


Revenue % by Business Group
Autos and transportation — 37%
General consumer goods — 14%
Restaurants and hotels — 20%
Fuel and service stations — 12%
Food and drugs — 9%
Others — 7%
(source: HdL Companies 2009)


Total number of employees living in Claremont: 17,684

Occupation — Percentage
Management, professional, and related — 17%
Professional and Related Occupations — 40%
Service occupations — 10%
Sales and office occupations — 22%
Construction, extraction and maintenance — 5%
Production, transportation, and other related — 5%
Farming, fishing and forestry — 0.06%
(source: Claritas 2009)

Claremont Facts and Figures


37,780 (source: Claritas 2009 & Dept. of Finance 2009)


14.14 square miles


April 1887


October 3, 1907

Form of Government



  • Annual average temperature (degrees F) = 63
  • Annual average rainfall (inches) = 17.3
  • Elevation (feet above sea level) = 1,150

Natural Amenities

  • 23 City-owned parks and sports fields with 1,788 acres of public parkland of which 1,769 is wilderness. Also included is Thompson Creek Trail, a linear park following a 2.8-mile paved trail.
  • Claremont has been a winner of National Arbor Day Association’s Tree City USA award for over 20 years.


  • 128 miles surfaced streets
  • 117 miles sewer lines
  • 231 miles sidewalks
  • 127 street medians and parkways
  • 23 public buildings
  • 110 City vehicles
  • 4,000 street signs
  • 2,596 street and park lights
  • 24,187 city trees



  • Median Age – 37.38 years

% of population by age group

  • Under 18 – 17.4%
  • 18-24 – 19.80%
  • 25-44 – 20.40%
  • 45-54 – 13.40%
  • 55-64 – 12.40%
  • 65-84 – 13.60%
  • over 85 – 3%


  • White: 49.40%
  • Hispanic: 19.6%
  • Asian: 13.5%
  • African American: 5.3%
  • Two or more races: 4.7%
  • Native American: 0.5%
  • Native Hawaiian: 0.2%
  • Some other race: 6.8%


  • Average household income: $107,088
  • Median household income: $83,073


  • Median housing value: $476,100
  • Households: 12, 323
  • Average household size: 2.54

(source: Claritas 2009 & Dept. of Finance 2009)


Highest Level of Education — % of Population 25 Years and Older

  • High school graduate — 14.8%
  • Some college, less than 4 years — 16.3%
  • Associate degree — 6.8%
  • Bachelor’s degree — 25.70%
  • Master’s Degree — 18.4%
  • Professional Degree — 3.3%
  • Doctorate Degree — 9.3%


Blaisdell Park (1964)

440 S. College Avenue


This park is located in the southeast corner of the city. It houses the Blaisdell Community Building where hot lunches are served to seniors in the area. The park also contains a handicapped- accessible playground, tennis court, restrooms, and group picnic facilities. Blaisdell is fully ADA compliant.

7.5 acres
Blaisdell Community Building
1 large multi-purpose sports court
1 tennis court
1 softball field
1 playground (handicapped-accessible)
2 picnic areas (one handicapped-accessible)
1 restroom building (handicapped accessible)
Parking lot

Blaisdell Preserve (2006)

Grand Avenue and New Orleans Court

This passive neighborhood park features turf areas, natural plantings round the perimeter and a decomposed granite walking path. Park goers can bring a blanket and enjoy a picnic. Blaisdell Preserve is 7.4 acres.

Cahuilla Park (1971)

Indian Hill Blvd. & Scripps Dr.


This park is located north of Claremont High School on the west side of Indian Hill Boulevard. It is the largest improved park in the City and contains the Youth Activity Center (YAC) and Taylor Hall, a large building used for meetings, classes, and available for rent. The park is frequently used for community events such as the City’s teen concerts, adult sports leagues and large group picnics.

18.2 acres
8 tennis courts
1 baseball field (lighted)
2 softball fields (lighted)
1 basketball court (lighted)
1 skate park
1 large playground
1 large group picnic area
1 family picnic area
1 restroom building
Parking Lot

Chaparral Park (1976)

1899 Mills Ave.


Chaparral Park is a small neighborhood park located adjacent to Chaparral School. It is used primarily for passive recreation.

3.0 acres
1 playground
Soccer is played on School District property

Claremont Hills Wilderness Park (1997)


This wilderness park is located north of the city, with an entrance at the north end of Mills Avenue. It is primarily a wilderness preserve with rugged inaccessible terrain. A system of fire roads provides for hiking, biking, walking leashed dogs, and horse riding. There are no other improvements within the park.

1,693 acres
Roads for hiking, biking, walking leashed dogs, and horse riding.

Current Status: Open

During periods of extreme brush fire danger, the City will close the park to public access. During periods of very high and high brush fire danger, the City may partially or entirely close the park to public access. Closure of the park for fire prevention purposes will be done based on information and recommendations from the Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACFD) and/or the United States Forest Service. The LACFD uses five categories of brush fire danger: 1) low, 2) medium, 3) high, 4) very high and 5) extreme.

College Park (1965)

100 S. College Ave.


Located just south of the Metrolink tracks on S. College Avenue, it is the home to the Claremont Little League. It also contains Claremont’s first Pooch Park, which opened in July 1996.

8.2 acres
3 baseball fields
1 family picnic area
1 playground
1 off-leash dog area
1 restroom building
1 snack shack
Parking lot

El Barrio Park (1972)

400 block of Claremont Blvd.


This neighborhood park is located on property leased from Claremont McKenna College. El Barrio has a large open area which is frequently used for “pick-up” soccer games.

3.7 acres
1 basketball court
1 playground area
1 restroom building
1 wading pool (summer only)

Griffith Park (1961)

1800 Woodbend Dr.


Located at the northwest corner of the city, adjacent to Sumner School, Griffith Park is home to the Claremont Pony- Colt Baseball League. Soccer games are also played on the soccer field.

9.7 acres
2 baseball fields
1 basketball court
1 playground
2 picnic areas (one large group)
1 restroom building
1 soccer field
Parking lot

Higginbotham Park (1976)

Mt. Carmel Dr.


Located in the northern part of the city, this natural -looking park is used primarily for passive recreation. It contains a very popular “steam train” playground area and serves as a rest stop along the Thompson Creek Trail and as the entrance to Sycamore Canyon.

5.4 acres
1 playground area
1 restroom building (handicapped accessible)

Jaeger Park (1978)

Monticello Rd. & Sweetbriar Dr.


This neighborhood park is located in the northeastern section of the City. It has a large open turf area which is frequently used by the local youth soccer groups. The park contains an innovative playground area and a family picnic area.

4.5 acres
1 playground area
1 picnic area

June Vail Park (1982)

Grand Ave. & Bluefield Dr.


A neighborhood park located in the northeastern section of the city. This park contains Claremont’s only equestrian ring.

5.8 acres
1 softball field
1 equestrian ring
1 playground
1 soccer field
1 restroom building

La Puerta Sports Park (1982)

2430 N. Indian Hill Blvd.


La Puerta Sports Park is the city’s primary soccer park and is built on land leased from the Claremont Unified School District. It is used nearly year-round by organized soccer groups within the city.

10.0 acres
2 soccer fields (lighted)
2 softball fields
1 restroom building (handicapped-accessible)
Parking lot

Larkin Park (1962)

660 N. Mountain Ave.


Larkin Park is bounded on the east by Pilgrim Place and is within walking distance of Claremont Manor. It is the home of the Joslyn Senior Center and serves as the community’s base for most of its senior citizen activities. It also is the site for a K-squad soccer program, which is played on former lawn bowling greens.

9.0 acres
Joslyn Senior Center & Annex
Larkin Community Building
2 family picnic areas
1 softball field
1 half-court basketball court
2 playground areas
2 mini K-squad soccer fields (lawn bowling greens)
1 croquette court (horseshoe)
1 restroom building
2 parking lots

Lewis Park (1966)

881 Syracuse Dr.


This neighborhood park is located just south of the site of the Alexander Hughes Community Center.

3.2 acres
Day camp building
2 playgrounds (1 handicapped-accessible)
1 family picnic area (handicapped-accessible)
basketball courts
1 restroom building (handicapped-accessible)

Mallows Park (1926)

520 N. Indian Hill Blvd.


Mallows Park, the City’s oldest park, is located on the northeast corner of Indian Hill Boulevard and Harrison Avenue.

1.1 acres
1 tennis court
1 restroom building
1 recreation program building

Memorial Park (1946)

840 N. Indian Hill Blvd.


Centrally located on Indian Hill Boulevard, Memorial Park is Claremont’s primary community park. It contains the historic Garner House, the current home of Claremont Heritage. Memorial Park is the site for many community events such as the annual Fourth of July celebration, and summer concerts-in-the-park. The park is also the site of the City’s tiny-tots program, a summer day camp program, and many large group picnics.

7.2 acres
Garner House
Memorial Park Building
1 softball field
1 playground area (handicapped accessible)
1 wading pool (summer only)
1 basketball court (lighted)
1 sand volleyball court (lighted)
1 tennis court
1 large group picnic area
1 restroom building (handicapped-accessible)
Parking lot

Rancho San Jose Park (2001)

600 block of West San Jose Ave.


This park is a small neighborhood park specifically designed to meet the needs of nearby residents, most of whom live in multi-family residential units.

1.3 acres
1 basketball court
1 playground area
1 covered picnic area (handicapped accessible)
Walking path
Off-leash dog area

Rosa Torrez Park (2006)

First Street


Located at the west end of First Street, Rosa Torrez Park is the City’s newest neighborhood park. The park includes amenities for having a picnic and enjoying passive recreation.

0.9 acres
Play station for children between the ages of two and five
Spring riders and swings that are ADA accessible
Picnic area including benches, tables and barbeques

Shelton Park (1997)

Harvard Ave & Bonita Ave.


This pocket park is located in the City’s downtown Village shopping district. It includes a public art piece sculpted by former Claremont resident, John Fisher.

Sycamore Canyon (1972)

Sycamore Canyon is a natural area located north of the Thompson Creek Trail. The entrance to the park is east of Higginbotham Park. The park is currently closed for refurbishment. Please call the Community Services Department at (909) 399-5431 for park updates.There are no improvements in the park.

144 acres

Thompson Creek Trail (1977)


This linear park lies on the northern end of the city. It runs parallel to the Thompson Creek flood control channel maintained by the County of Los Angeles. The paved trail is popular with walkers, runners, bicyclists, and leashed dogs. The native vegetation that grows alongside the trail adds to the feeling of “being out of the city” for the users of the trail. The 2.8-mile trail is accessible from many points along its route including Base Line Road, Higginbotham Park, North Indian Hill Boulevard, several cul-de-sacs and Pomello Drive. The park has a parking lot located on North Indian Hill Boulevard across from La Puerta Sports Park.

24.9 acres
Parking lot

Wheeler Park (1957)

626 Vista Drive


The southern most park in the city, Wheeler Park is located west of Valle del Vista School. The park is home to Claremont’s only roller hockey court.

7.0 acres
Wheeler Park Building
1 family picnic area
1 baseball field
1 playground area
1 roller hockey rink (lighted)
1 basketball court
1 restroom building (handicapped accessible)
1 wading pool (summer only)

Map of ClaremontParks_and_Facilities_Map_2009