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Starting Point - Sumner Hall

Postcard of Sumner Hall

Sumner Hall, Pomona’s original building, was built as a hotel and donated to the College in 1889, providing the occasion for the fledgling College’s move (originally intended to be temporary) from the city of Pomona to Claremont. The building, still in use as the home for Admissions, campus Life, Study Abroad and Mail Services, boasts the longest, most multi-faceted, and, arguably, most important history of any of Pomona’s buildings.

In its original form on College Avenue, the building provided “recitation” rooms, an assembly room and parlor, a library, a dining room, a kitchen, and an office suite for Pomona’s first president, Cyrus Grandinson Baldwin (1890-1898), plus rooms for students. After the second building on campus was completed, Holmes Hall in 1893, Sumner Hall (renamed for Mary L. Sumner in honor of the wife of founding trustee Reverend Charles Burt Sumner) becme a female dormitory and the main dining hall.

In 1921, the biggest change was made: Sumner was dismantled and reassembled in its current location on the corner of 4th Street and College Way in order to make room for the creation of a large central quadrangle (now known as Marston Quad). The building was turned 180 degrees to face east, stripped of its Victorian gingerbread appearance and encased in a tile-roofed stucco shell, resulting in a building within a building. One wing was removed and the building went from a three-story Victorian to a two-story Mission-style building. Sumner once again became the College’s central administration building, until the opening of Alexander Hall in 1991.

Today, Sumner Hall, as the home of Pomona’s Admissions Office, is the starting point for most prospective students.