Pomona Chamber of Commerce
485 N. Garey Ave.
Pomona, CA 91768
Tel. 909 622 1256
Comments from our readers
The rich history of Pomona is marked by many milestones. Originally occupied by the
Gabrielenos Indians, the valley became known in the 1700's as Rancho San Jose. A year
later it became part of the Mission San Gabriel grazing lands. Over fifty years later, two
soldiers, Don Ingacio Palomares and Don Ricardo Vejar petitioned the governor and on April
15, 1837 were granted rights to the land.
In 1863 Vejar's portion, Rancho San Abajo (see note 1),
was passed on to two merchants from Los Angeles, and then on to Louis Phillips in 1866.
Phillips sold 5,600 acres to a group of speculators in 1875. They named the area
"Pomona" after the Roman goddess of fruit and fruit trees. The name proved
prophetic as vineyards flourished in the 1880's, supplying the winemaking and raisin
industries. Citrus orchards and olive groves replaced vineyards in the 1890's and, through
its agricultural enterprises, Pomona maintained an economic lead in the valley.
Although agriculture continued to provide the backbone of the economy for many years,
other vigorous businesses and industrial enterprises grew and prospered. Some of these
businesses, begun as far back as 1864 are still thriving today. Phillip's Land and Cattle
Company (1864), Pomona Brick (1873) and the law firm of Nichols, Stead, Boileau and
Kostoff started by Allen P. Nichols in 1886 are among those pioneer companies.
Entrepreneurial leadership and innovation have typified Pomona from the start. Long
distance transmission of electricity, use of alternating current, the first semi-automatic
switchboard west of the Mississippi and direct distance dialing - all had their beginning
in Pomona. The Pomona Pump Company's water-lubricated design revolutionized deep-well
The City of Pomona continues to lead the valley in all major economic categories
including retail sales, bank deposits and employment. Its products include high quality
optics, electronic software, glass, cosmetics, paper products, steel products and defense
weapon systems. High technology research and development are on the rise and the city is
experiencing an increase in corporate office building development.
Today the community is a multi-racial, multi-cultural city with progressive citizens
leading, testing the limits of progress, and striving to provide a high quality of life
for Pomona's residents and business owners.
Pomona's past is deeply rooted in religious institutions. More than 120 churches
representing many of the world's faiths contribute to the varied culture of the community.
Traditionally churches are architectural focal points in cities throughout the world.
Pomona is no exception. The Pilgrim Congregational Church on North Garey Avenue is an
outstanding example of European church design. Other churches as well as Pomona's public
and commercial buildings provide glimpses of American architecture from past eras and show
the influences by early settlers who came from other parts of the world.
Comments From Our Readers
I'm not sure what the sources for this "history" were but it is grotesquely
inaccurate. The "Rancho San Jose" was named by my great, great, great
grandfather, Ricardo Vejar, and his partner, Ygnacio Palomares. There never was a
"Rancho San Abajo" rather the southern portion of the Rancho (noted by use of
the term "abajo") was the portion owned and operated by Don Vejar. Don Vejar's
portion was not "passed on to two merchants" it was stolen by them. Don Vejar
obtained cattle supplies from them on credit. They asked him to sign a credit agreement,
drafted in English rather than Spanish, by which they told him he was only agreeing to
repay them for the supplies with interest. In fact the document was a mortgage on his
property. His only real mistake was in trusting these original "wetbacks."
Perhaps you should do some research before you publish such inaccurate information in the
1. The name Rancho San Abajo looks to be in error. J. Howard Hoover in his
Profile of San Dimas, wrote: In early days of the San Jose Rancho the
two partners came to a mutual agreement that it be equally divided, Don Ricardo Vejar
taking the southern half (San Jose de Abajo) and Don Ignacio Palomares holding the
northern half (San Jose de Ariba) upon which was Mud Springs.