The City of Pomona was named in honor of the Roman goddess of fruit by horticulturist Solomon Gates prior to it becoming “Queen of the Citrus Belt” in the 1920’s. First settled by the Gabrieleno Tribe, it became part of the Mission San Gabriel’s grazing lands before being granted to Don Ignacio Palomares (who died in Pomona on November 2, 1864) and Don Ricardo Vejar in 1837. On January 6, 1888, Pomona was officially incorporated as a city and it became a charter city in 1911.

By the 1920’s Pomona had one of the highest per capita levels of income in the United states, and in the 1940’s it was used as a film-preview location for major studio releases due to its perception as a prime example of middle-class America.

Pomona is also home to Fairplex, the grounds of the Los Angeles County Fair. The first Fair opened on October 17, 1922, and over its five days drew nearly 50,000 people. The Great Depression briefly lowered attendance figures for the Fair, but also led to the Works Progress Administration helping to construct multiple new buildings in 1937 at Fairplex. World War II unfortnately brought a new use to Fairplex: use by the United States Army and also temporary internment of Japanese Americans (not to mention also a P.O.W. Camp!).

By Scott Piotrowski