The Mabel Shaw Bridges Hall of Music (called “Little Bridges” to distinguish it from Bridges Auditorium, known as “Big Bridges”) was built in 1915 and renovated in 2001. The classic Mission-style building, designed by noted architect Myron Hunt, remains one of the signature buildings of Pomona College. The site of numerous musical performances throughout the year as well as the annual Convocation ceremony, the building contains the magnificent Hill Organ.
Built in 1915 with a gift from Mr. and Mrs. Appleton Shaw Bridges in honor of their daughter Mabel Shaw Bridges ’08, who died after an illness in 1907, Little Bridges is considered one of Hunt’s finest achievements. The clever design “ was set by the desire of the College to have a room which could hold a thousand people but could be arranged to look as though there was a real audience if there were only three hundred and fifty,” said Hunt in a letter written in the early 1930s. This was accomplished through side benches “of the parliament type” and removable pit seats.
The entry porch was meant to face—across Marston Quad—a chapel that was never built. Smith Campus Center, however, fit the bill when built in 1999, finally allowing a “visual dialogue between the north and south side of the quadrangle,” states Pomona College: Reflections on a Campus.
The building is two-sided. Lebus Court, on the south side, is a u-shaped courtyard surrounded by ionic columns with “The Spirit of Spanish Music,” a bronze fountain sculpture (the 1915 class gift) at its center.
Today, freshman students are introduced to Little Bridges through the annual Convocation ceremony and the hall is home to dozens of musical performances throughout the year.
Note: Some of this information was gleaned and excerpted from Pomona College: Reflections on a Campus.