When most people think of Pomona, CA, they typically know that it’s close to Los Angeles and not a whole lot more. This city, however, is worth getting to know more about and even putting on your travel bucket list. Whether you’re looking for a terrific museum, fabulous dining, or a trip to the LA County Fair, Pomona, CA, has something for everyone.
Long before the bustling urban center that we know today, the Tongva Native Americans inhabited the area and used it as a trade route. Before the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, this portion of the Southwest was part of Mexico, known as Rancho San Jose. The city of Pomona was settled by Ygnacio Palomares and Ricardo Vejar in the 1830s, although the name itself wasn’t decided upon until 1875. In a contest to name the city, a horticulturist named Solomon Gates had the winning entry, and thus the town became named after an ancient Roman goddess. Pomona was the goddess of fruit, but the fruit trees that grow in the area today had yet to be planted.
In 1848, California became part of the United States due to the signing of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Anglo-Americans had inhabited the area before this, but the sale of 12,000 acres of land to Louis Phillips in 1864 began the commercialization of the area and its eventual growth. Phillips was an immigrant who built a grand commercial building called the Phillips Block, which housed Hamburger’s, the largest department store in the West.
The railroad industry was uniting the country in the late 1800s. With the arrival of Coachella Valley water, the next logical step for this land with a Mediterranean climate was the introduction of citrus farming. As of January 6, 1888, when the city was incorporated, it was already established as the anchor of the citrus growing region.
Citrus growers built great wealth over the years, and the area had one of the highest per capita income levels in the country by the 1920s, when Pomona was called the “Queen of the Citrus Belt.” Perhaps it was this wealth that attracted the movie studios from Hollywood in the 1940s. The studios used the town to preview movies to see how they would do with middle-class families. These studios considered Pomona residents to be a perfect example of this demographic across the entire country.
Whether you are new to the city, contemplating a move, or just visiting, there is plenty to do in the area. Consider the following activities and attractions as you plan your itinerary.
Regardless of your background or reason for visiting or moving to Pomona, California, this bustling city is packed with culture, activities, and a diverse population. There are popular colleges, spectacular shopping areas, law firms, restaurants, entertainment, and nightlife. With so much going on in such proximity to Los Angeles, it is no wonder this city is considered a hidden gem in Southern California. So, if you are planning a visit to the area, be sure to pack heavy—you may not want to leave.
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