The home of the Los Angeles County Fair since 1922, Pomona is probably better known for agriculture than architecture. But this east San Gabriel Valley city of 143,000 has a stock of more than 2,700 historic homes and buildings that rivals even Pasadena.
Pomona boasts two Landmark Historic Districts: Lincoln Park and Wilton Heights. Many homes' original features, such as dark wood molding and hardware, have remained untouched.
Pomona offers architectural homes in historic neighborhoods at about 40% below comparable neighborhoods in Pasadena. (A turnkey condition, 4,200-square- foot Craftsman on a half-acre lot in Lincoln Park recently sold for $575,000.) As a result, the city has been capturing "displaced arts professionals who can't afford Pasadena or Silver Lake," according to Ed Tessier, former city commissioner who developed the Pomona Arts Colony.
Antiques and art share the limelight with architecture in Pomona. Garey Avenue, the town's main drag, is the unofficial line of demarcation between the two. On the eastern side of the street is the Pomona Antique Row; on the other side is the Arts Colony, a thriving arts area that displays the works of more than 200 artists in eight galleries.
Good news, bad news
The comparisons between Pomona and Pasadena continue. Both cities were incorporated in the late 1880s, have similar size populations and cover about 23 square miles. Pomona, however, reported 21 homicides in 2001, compared with four in Pasadena. In spite of the higher overall crime rate, residents of such neighborhoods as Lincoln Park feel their community is safe.
The Pomona Unified School District is made up of 34 elementary and middle schools (25,942 student enrollment) and four high schools (6,877 student enrollment). The Academic Performance Index for these 38 schools varies wildly from lows in the 400s, on a scale of 1,000, to highs in the 800s. Three of the four high schools scored in the 400s on the API.
The four most desirable neighborhoods in Pomona are the Lincoln Park and Wilton Heights neighborhoods; Ganesha Hills, where 1930s homes and newer custom homes share a panoramic view of the San Gabriel Valley; and the Yorba District, which offers well-maintained '50s and '60s tract homes and a highly regarded neighborhood school.
On the market
In late January, 229 homes were for sale, according to Margaret Ruecker of Century 21 Prestige Properties. They ranged from a two-bedroom starter home for $134,900 to a 3,714-square-foot home in Phillips Ranch listed for $675,000.
Single-family detached resales:
Resources: Pomona Police Department; Pasadena Police Department; City of Pomona Web site; DataQuick Information Services; Ed Tessier; Margaret Ruecker, Century 21 Prestige Properties; Mickey Gallivan, Pomona Historical Society; California Academic Performance Index Web site, api.cde.ca.gov.