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The Cal Poly Pomona Rose Garden

by Erica Landmann (Class of 1997)
September 26, 1994, revised 1997

When Will Keith Kellogg purchased some property in Pomona, California, he chose to hire Myron Hunt as the head architect responsible for the design of Kellogg's Pomona home, the Manor house and the original Arabian horse stables. Charles Adams was hired as the original landscape architect, who was responsible for the majority of the Kellogg Ranch landscape. In 1925, Kellogg had begun the development of the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Ranch he had purchased from Cecil George. The price he had paid for the 377 acres of property had been $250,000. This property had once been the western portion of Rancho San Jose-- which had been granted to Ricardo Vejar, Ygnacio Palomares and Luis Arenas March 14, 1840. Later, in 1864, Louis Schlesinger and Hyman Tishler bought the area and in 1924 Cecil George bought the property.

Before anyone owned this land, it had belonged to the Gabrieleno Indians-- named for the Mission San Gabriel, which had been built in 1771. The Gabrieleno were a well organized group of American Indians, who created laws to control the amount of intermarriage, and would seek help from neutral tribes to solve tribal disputes. The Gabrieleno were involved in a barter system dealing mainly in salt which stretched across the continent. One of the Gabrielano beliefs focused on a myth that the earth had been placed on the shoulders of seven giants whom if moved, would cause the earth to shake and therefore explaining earthquakes. In 1974-- during the construction of Building 8, the math building-- a pair of metates were found, which had once been used to grind acorns into a type of paste-- which was an important part of the Gabrielano diet. The lay out of a Gabrielano village consisted of circular huts or wikiups which were built in "three lodges or rancherias" (Lothrop, p.16) at Indian Hill, near San Dimas, and Ganesha Park (pages 15-17.)

One last note, the Anza trail, according to Gloria Lothrop, traveled perhaps past or through the Cal Poly campus. While on the expedition Anza traveled to each California mission and in this area, the expedition's destination would have been the San Gabriel mission. The group would have followed a path that now passes under the 60 Freeway and west on Holt Avenue which becomes Valley Boulevard. Therefore, this route allowed the expedition to pass extremely close to the campus. Throughout the years various sections were bought, sold and traded.

Charles Adams began his work for Kellogg in 1926. Due to Adams, the Rose Garden, Cactus Garden, and other sights were created. He was described by Kellogg's grandson, Norman Williamson, as a "short cocky fellow" who loved to take photographs, wore riding breeches, leather leggings and carried a pistol-- mainly to shoot "varmints." He had problems with W. K. Kellogg often, especially when he wrote to Kellogg to inform him of the Rose Garden's progress. In one letter from Kellogg to Adams-- December 29, 1926-- Kellogg wrote:

... What I tried to impress on you was the fact that I would like to have known in advance that we were going to have a rose garden and should have been glad to have an opportunity of O.King the proposition.

rose garden aerial viewKellogg's own personal opinion of Adams could best be phrased by Kellogg himself, "Adams is certainly a queer fellow" (January 11, 1927.) However, Kellogg did not remain annoyed because this garden became a tourist attraction and was praised often due to its rose variety and design.

The Rose garden had been laid out in a circle, with eight pie shaped sections-- and each contained a different variety of rose, according to Mary Jane Parkinson the author of The Kellogg Arabian Ranch the First 60 Years. There are eight rows in three sections and six in the other five sections. Presently, it appears the variety of roses vary by row within each section. The center of the garden is shifted slightly to the right-- when looked upon with one's back facing the CLA building-- and may be seen in the photo above.

Adams reasoning for the garden's set up was found in the following letter to Kellogg from Adams-- December 3, 1926:

Rose Garden:
Said Rose Garden has had the most careful thought, with a background of personal study of the best of the famous ones England, France and America. By building it on the wheel plan, we have every Rose where it can be easily examined or picked from a path, and where work of care is at a minimum. No flower has lately been improved as the Rose has;and the very finest late ones have been selected for you, in the wonderful new shades of salmon, old gold, flame, orange, apricot colors, etc., etc. The great circle outside is left in such a way thatthe Chrysanthemums (best replanted every year) can occupy it; but if much wanted new Roses come into market in future, they can be added there in full keeping with the pattern.

Adams also had mentioned a problem he had obtaining some of the roses:

Also Roses are much cheaper if dug bare-rooted; and we are in just the same way waiting for the tender choice varieties to finish the inside of the Rose Garden.

The roses had been purchased for the garden and various locations on the ranch at a variety of nurseries. These nurseries were, as follows:

Armstrong Nurseries-- Ontario, California.
Colby Nurseries-- Pasadena
Floral Home-- Pasadena
Hobbs-Gregg Nurseries, Inc.--San Dimas
Howard & Smith-- Los Angeles
Los Feliz Nurseries-- Los Angeles
Nusbickel-Warren-- San Dimas
Pioneer Nursery of Monrovia
Edward H. Rust Nurseryman-- South Pasadena

Unfortunately, a definite list of the roses originally planted specifically in the garden, could not be located. However, Adams did provide a selection of possible roses, and two receipts for Armstrong Nurseries and Hobbs-Gregg Nurseries, Inc. were labeled "for the Rose Garden." These receipts listed the following roses:

Armstrong Nurseries
46 Hadley 0.40 each

Hobbs-Gregg Nurseries, Inc.
4 Claudius Pernet 1.00 each
4 Papa Gontier .60 each
4 Rose Marie .75 each
4 Padre 1.00 each
4 K.A. Victoria .60 each
4 Gen. McArthur .60 each
4 Edward Herriot .75 each
4 Lady Hillington .75 each

Adams had sent pictures of roses he had "particularly featured" to Kellogg, from which this list has been compiled:

Caroline Testout- used for the lattice. This Hybrid Tea was created in 1890.
Columbia- Pink petals with a yellow base, created in 1916.
Duchess of Wellington- Yellow rose, created in 1909.
Etoile de France- Red rose, created in 1904.
Hadley- "Probably the best red rose to date"- Charles Adams Dec. 27, 1926 created 1914. Still available in Europe-- by special order.
Los Angeles- "The best all-round rose to date; winner of all highest prizes in England, France, & U.S." Created in 1918.
Mme. Butterfly- This Hybrid Tea was created in 1918.
Mme. Edward Herriot- Orange-Pink, created in 1913.
Miss Lolita Armour- Orange & copper, yellow & fawn, created in 1919.
Mrs. William C. Egan
Padre- created in 1921
Paul Neyron- "largest rose to date"- Charles Adams. This pink rose was created in 1869.
Paul's Scarlet Climber- created in 1916, and is still available in the U.S.
Queen Mary- This Hybrid Tea decorative yellow rose was created in 1913.
Radiance- light pink rose created in 1908.
Red Radiance- deep pink rose created in 1916.
Rose Marie- pure pink, created in 1918.
Souvenir De Claudius -Pernet- Yellow rose created in 1920.
Souvenir De Georges Pernet- This orange/pink rose was created in 1921.
William F. Dreer- Light pink rose was created in 1920.

(Some descriptions courtesy of Chris Greenwood, Armstrong Garden Center, Inc.)

The garden, once complete, became a stop on the tour of the ranch. These tours allowed the "Pomona Day guest" (Parkinson, 280) to visit various points of interest on the Kellogg ranch, such as: the cactus garden, Rose Garden, the Lily pond, the Arabian horses, among others. The Pasadena Garden Club (consisting of those who owned estates in the Pasadena area) was one of the groups that were interested in visiting the garden, but Adams did not want them to come until after April of 1927 "when things are in full bloom". Norman Williamson mentioned he had worked in the garden when it had become overgrown and it had resembled a jungle, however when it was in prime condition it was known for its variety. He also mentioned around or under the garden are perhaps more than one Arabian horse that have been buried in the location. Records could not be located to obtain the accurate amount of horses buried near the garden. According to Carol Woodbridge Mulder, KING JOHN-- who appeared in Walt Disney's 1938 version of "Snow White" as Prince Charming's horse-- is buried near the rose garden. However, rose gardenone record had been found of an Arabian horse named ROSSIKA-- a well known trick horse known for her performances at the Sunday horse shows--had been buried near the horse stables. The rose garden of yesterday is virtually the same as the Rose Garden of today. It follows the same designs, contains similar colored roses. The adjacent grounds unfortunately lack the original lattice, that once featured two varieties of climbing roses: Paul's Scarlet Climber, and Caroline Testout. The lattice (shown in the photo at right) was used to provide shade for such activities as afternoon picnics.

The garden contains the following variety of roses, as of 1994:

Chrysler Imperial
Mr. Lincoln
Tops in Roses #319
Ore Gold
Angel Face
Perfume Delight
Silver Spoon
Blue Nile
Ivory Tower
Pink Peace
Southern Bell
Color Magic
Perfume Delight
Queen Elizabeth
Half Time
Double Delight
Party Time

The rose garden remains a popular location on campus and will remain a part of California Polytechnic University's colorful history. As a gift for the Cal Poly Pomona Campus, the class of 1994 purchased a gazebo for the center of the rose garden. The gazebo serves as a lovely focal point for the garden and can be used as a interesting background in a photograph.

Works Cited

1. Christofferson, Chris. Telephone Interview. September 20, 1994.
2. Greenwood, Chris. Telephone Interview-- Rose specialist. September 15, 1994.
3. Kellogg, W.K. Arabian Horse Ranch Papers (1926-1927).
4. Lothrop, Gloria. Pomona: a Centennial History. Pages used: 15-17. 1988, Windsor Publications, Ca.
5. Lothrop, Gloria. Telephone Interview. September 5, 8, 20, 1994.
6. Parkinson, Mary Jane. The Kellogg Arabian Ranch the First 60 years. 1984, Cal Poly Kellogg Unit Foundation, Inc., Ca.
7. Pomerening, James A. Soil Survey of Ca. State Polytechnic University Pomona. 1990.
8. Riley, Frank. De Anza's Trail Today, 1976. WorldWay Publishing Co. & WorldWay West.
9. Dr. Turner X-2219, computer printout of rose garden.
10. Williamson, John. Telephone Interview. September 19, 1994.
11. Williamson, Norman. Telephone Interview. September 10, 1994.


Rose Garden from the CLA buidling
View of the Rose Garden from the CLA Building
Photo from Fllckr: wireheadinc under creative commons license
Cal Poly Pomona's Historic Rose Garden Newly Renovated

Cal Poly Streamcams: Rose Garden
Dynamic Map Link to the Rose Garden

Location of the Rose Garden shown on Flash Earth
W. K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Library's Photos - Rose Garden
Polycentric picture of the day: 7/13/10 Rose Garden
Photo Gallery from the campus License of Facilities

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