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Histories of The San Dimas Unit and the Kellogg Arabian Ranch

An account from the Memory of Harold O. Wilson, Dean of the Voorhis Unit 1946 - 1950.


jerry and charles voorhisThe Voorhis School for Boys was established by the C.B.Voorhis family, fondly known as Uncle Charlie and Aunt Nell by those associated with the Voorhis School and the later Voorhis Unit of Cal Poly. Mr. Voorhis was a retired, wealthy resident of Pasadena, California. He had made his fortune from investments in the Nash Automobile Company and various oil companies after having failed, at the age of forty, in a hardware business in a Midwestern state whose name I fail to recall. Mr. and Mrs. Voorhis had a son and a daughter. The son, Jerry, graduated from Yale University with a major in Divinity. The Voorhis family were members of the Episcopal Church, and although Jerry was educated to become a minister, he chose not to be ordained. It was his wish, which was accepted by his father, to devote his life to helping others. The family’s wealth permitted that choice. Uncle Charlie was a celebrated Pasadena, California philanthropist. He had taken a leadership role in establishing the Pasadena Boys Club. He was quite aware of the problems and needs of boys who were orphans or from disrupted families; thus he and Jerry decided and agreed to establish a school for boys who needed a home, with Jerry being the Headmaster.

The location selected for the school was a 157 acre parcel of land along a barranca at the south end of Valley Center Street, San Dimas, California. To reach the parcel from Valley Center an easement was procured from a neighbor for the construction of approximately a half mile length of private road to the Voorhis property. The site for the location of the school buildings was a relatively level 20-25 acre picturesque live oak covered portion of the property across the barranca from Valley Center.

More than $3,000,000 was spent for the property and the school’s buildings, which consisted of homes for Jerry and his family and one for Mr. and Mrs. Charles Voorhis (Uncle Charlie and Aunt Nell); four 6-8 room cottages to house the students, an infirmary, a chapel with the window behind the altar framing a view of Mt. Baldy, a classroom building complex which included, in addition to several classrooms, the administrative offices, library, dining room and kitchen. The complex also included maintenance shops and a reservoir and pump house for irrigation of the grounds and groves of oranges, lemons and avocados grown on much of the remainder of the 157 acre parcel not occupied by the buildings. There were outdoor physical education facilities, but no gymnasium.

The Voorhis School for Boys operated for approximately ten years between 1926 and 1936. Most of the some 75-90 boys, ranging in age from about 6 to 18, attended, for the most part, without paying any fees. Any who may have paid some were only nominally charged. The costs of the entire operation were covered by the Voorhis family. Most of the boys lived on campus and were divided into groups of 12-20 boys living together as families. Each family unit was supervised by a "live-in" housemother. At each meal the respective family groups met at the jointly used dining room to eat together as a unit, thus retaining and preserving the feeling of belonging to a family It is my understanding there were a few boys from the local community who attended the Voorhis School during their elementary school years--grades 1-8. Upon reaching high school age the relatively few boys of that age who were still living on campus attended the Bonita High School at La Verne, California, some five miles distant.

The Voorhis School for Boys was a most successful program and earned widespread acclaim. But Headmaster Jerry became interested in politics and in 1936 was elected to Congress, representing the Pomona, San Dimas, Covina, Whittier district. With Jerry in Congress, coupled with the financial problems faced by Mr. C.B. Voorhis following the 1929 stock market crash, the Voorhis family decided to close the Voorhis School for Boys, but continued the living arrangement as necessary for a reduced number of the boys while disposition of the property was being arranged. It is my understanding that during this approximate two year period, the boys continuing to live on campus attended the San Dimas Elementary School.

It was the decision of the Voorhis family to give the property to an organization which would be able to continue to use it as an educational institution, hopefully carrying out some of the philanthropic goals of the Voorhis School for Boys, rather than to sell it.

Across the barranca to the north of the Voorhis campus resided the Landon family, who were neighbors and friends of the Voorhis family. A son, Fred Landon, graduated from Bonita High School in the Spring of 1937 and elected to enroll in the meat animals department of California Polytechnic College, San Luis Obispo, California in the Fall of 1937. At the 6th Annual Poly Royal, in the Spring of 1938, Fred’s parents attended and were greatly pleased at the Poly Royal student participation program they observed. They had earlier been impressed and happy with the progress Fred had made and the interest he had shown in his Cal Poly courses during the Fall and Winter quarters that he had already completed.

Fred was one of my students in the freshman courses of the meat animals major. A basic part of those early Poly Royal programs were demonstrations of the instructional segments of students’ major subjects. That 1938 Spring quarter I was teaching "judging of meat animals" and the demonstration for Poly Royal that we conducted was a "swine judging" show where the students showed their own "project animal(s)". Fred Landon owned and was fattening-out a pen of five Duroc Jersey barrows. As his entry in the Poly Royal show he elected to "show" one of his barrows. As I recall, he did not win, but he made a commendable showing and his parents were very pleased with what they were seeing.

Julian McPheeAfter the show Mr. Landon came up to me to ask if Cal Poly had ever thought about having a branch in Southern California. He told me about the Voorhis School for Boys and that he believed Mr. Voorhis would be interested in considering Cal Poly as the recipient of the Voorhis School property. I told Mr. Landon that Cal Poly had considered a branch in Southern California but that I should take him to talk with President Julian A. McPhee. We went immediately to Mr. McPhee’s office. I can remember distinctly coming into his office and informing his secretary, Alice Daniels, of Mr. Landon’s suggestion. Mr. McPhee greeted us immediately and after some discussion it was arranged that President McPhee would drive to Southern California the following Monday to meet Mr. Landon and go with him to meet Mr. C. B. Voorhis. Within a few weeks the Voorhis School for Boys with all of its equipment, including all furnishing of the buildings were accepted by the State of California for the use of the California Polytechnic College, San Luis Obispo and was named California Polytechnic College, Voorhis Unit, San Dimas. At that time Cal Poly was grouped with the seven California State Colleges (Humboldt, Chico, San Francisco, San Jose, Fresno, Santa Barbara and San Diego) and were under the direction of the State Board of Education with the State Superintendent of Instruction (a state elective office) being the Chief Administrative officer. I believe the State Superintendent in 1938 was Walter Dexter, former President of Whittier College.

The transfer of ownership was not completed until after the close of the Spring 1937-38 school year. Thus, those students at the San Luis Obispo campus whose majors were to be offered at the Voorhis Campus beginning in the Fall of 1938 had to be notified by mail during the summer to report to the Voorhis Campus, San Dimas in September.

The majors transferred entirely to Voorhis were Agriculture Inspection and Subtropical Horticulture. In addition a major in Ornamental Horticulture was offered, while the same major continued at the San Luis Obispo campus. As I recall, approximately 100 students, including new freshmen enrolled at Voorhis in the Fall of 1938 with the majority residing on campus, although students were free to choose their own places to live.

The FacultySome San Luis Obispo campus faculty members in majors transferred to Voorhis were also reassigned there. Three that I particularly recall were Weir Fetters, Agriculture Inspection; Howard Hawkins, Citrus and Subtropical Horticulture; and Vernon Meacham, Physical Education, mathematics and other miscellaneous general education courses. Some of the qualified Voorhis School teachers were retained by Cal Poly. During the 1938 Fall quarter William Troutner and Eugene Stephenson, who were apprentice teachers (cadets) in vocational agriculture with the Bureau of Agriculture Education, were assigned for the remainder of the 1938-39 school year to teach plant science subjects. In addition to teaching and heading up the Agriculture Inspection major, Weir Fetters also served as the Administrator of the Campus, reporting to President McPhee at the San Luis Obispo Campus.

With the start of World War II in 1941 the enrollments of colleges and universities throughout the United States dropped dramatically. Cal Poly, being an all male institution, was particularly affected. In 1942 it was decided to close the Voorhis Campus to student enrollment at the close of the 1942-43 Spring quarter and return faculty and remaining students back to the San Luis Obispo campus.

C. Weir FettersIn 1941 Mr. Fetters left the Voorhis campus when he was appointed by Mr. McPhee to serve as the Supervisor of Agriculture Education for the high schools and junior colleges of the North Coast counties of California. At that time, Mr. McPhee held the positions of Chief, Bureau if Agriculture Education as well as President of Cal Poly. Vernon Meacham replaced Mr. Fetters as the Voorhis Administrator and served until the closing at the end of the 1943 Spring quarter. Sheldon Kempton

The Voorhis campus remained closed for the duration of the World War II period. During most of those three years 1943-45, Howard Hawkins and family continued to live on campus to oversee the protection of the property and direct the farming operations related to the citrus and avocado groves. Assisting Mr. Hawkins was Seldon Kempton, a former student who was classified 4-F by the Selective Service and thus was not drafted into military service.

During the World War II years, President McPhee, who had then been promoted to State Director of Vocational Education, as well as continuing as President of Cal Poly, had been contemplating the advisability of reopening the Voorhis campus at the close of the war. He used the Regional Supervisors, Bureau of Agricultural Education, as well as the faculty and administrators of the San Luis Obispo Cal Poly campus, as his consultants in this contemplation. There were many pros and cons considered. At that time I was one of the Regional Supervisors, supervising the Agricultural Education and War Production training programs in the high schools and junior colleges of Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. I was one of those who strongly urged the reopening of the Voorhis campus. In addition to the special and unique service to the rural youth and agricultural enterprises of the region that would be rendered by Cal Poly, it was my feeling that it would be politically beneficial to Cal Poly to have the contact with and support of the large populated Southern California area.

In the Fall of 1945 Mr. McPhee recommended to the State Board of Education, Cal Poly’s governing body, that the Voorhis Unit be reopened in the Fall of 1946. His recommendation was accepted and the 1946-47 state budget was amended to provide funds for the operation. An anticipated enrollment of 200 F.T.E. was used as the basis for the allocation.

After the decision to reopen the Voorhis Unit was made in the Fall of 1945, President McPhee told me that since I had helped talk him into the reopening decision, I was going to have to take over running the operation. In February 1946 I was appointed Dean, Voorhis Unit, California State Polytechnic College, San Dimas. During those next seven months, February-August 1946, it was my responsibility to:

  1. Rehabilitate the buildings and grounds. The campus grounds were overgrown, the buildings had to be cleaned and painted, utilities checked and brought into operation. Additional auto parking space was required and existing parking lots and roads had to be resurfaced
  2. Hire all staff and faculty, except for Seldon Kempton who remained on staff. I appointed him Chief of Maintenance. He was most competent and helped work miracles in bringing the facilities back into operation.
  3. Purchase and/or transfer from the San Luis Obispo campus the furnishings and equipment required for instruction and housing of some 150 of the anticipated 200 students--which finally turned out to be 260 by the close of enrollment in the latter part of September 1946. Still there were scores of applicants who had to be turned away because lack of instructional space and staff.

(See attached student rosters and excerpts from 1946-47 and 1947-48 annuals for student names and faculty and staff names and assignments) *

Most of the faculty and staff started work as soon as they were hired that 1946 Spring and Summer. To be prepared to start classes in September took yeoman effort on the part of every employee, faculty and staff

Approximately 90 percent of the all male student body was composed of World War II veterans who were going back to school under the GI Bill. The majority were in their mid to late 20’s in age. They were a great group of young men, many married with children.

To help accommodate the married students, a space for trailer homes was prepared and the former irrigation pump house was converted into toilet, shower and clothes washing rooms. This area, accommodating some fifteen trailers, was known as "Trailer Village".

That first year athletic activity was largely limited to intramural sports, although, there were varsity basketball, baseball, track and tennis teams that competed with junior colleges and the small private colleges of the area such as Mt. San Antonio, Citrus, San Bernardino and Chaffey Junior Colleges and Redlands, Pomona, La Verne and Whittier Colleges.

Social activities that first year of 1946-47 were limited, although, there were several dances, student body programs of visiting lecturers and musical entertainment. In spite of the limitation of extracurricular activities, to what generally are found on a college campus, there was a great spirit of comradery and espirit de corp among the students and between faculty and staff and the students. All of them considered and accepted the pioneering flavor of the situation.

The faculty, their families, and students participated actively in the community activities, particularly in San Dimas and Covina. Several faculty members became members of the service clubs--Lions, Kiwanis, Rotary and the San Dimas Men’s Club. Students and faculty often spoke at these clubs, as well as at various Farm Bureau, Agricultural Industry and school functions throughout Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, occasionally being invited to speak at meetings as far away as San Diego, Imperial and Ventura Counties. College representatives also were members of and participated in Chamber of Commerce and other community activities. I was a member of the Los Angeles Chamber and was a member of its Agricultural Committee, which was a particularly politically active and effective group throughout the state. The communities responded to our participation with their support and friendship in many ways that helped the college program.

Applications for enrollment grew far beyond our capacity to accept all eligible applicants. With various re-arrangements of existing space, utilization of non-conventional academic areas, willingness of faculty and staff to accept extra duties and expanding state budget to permit adding more faculty and staff, the enrollment did increase each year. For example, the Fall enrollment in 1946 was 260 and by the Fall of 1948 it was over 400.

To meet the pressures of growth that were occurring, many of the World War II surplus building and supply programs then available were utilized. Being an accredited college level educational institution offering instruction to veterans, Cal Poly had a high priority in the selection of such facilities, equipment and vehicles and other surplus materials. Some of the more prominent facilities acquired were:

1. Five complete two-story barrack-type wood frame, five-ply plywood siding, buildings delivered in truckloads of bundles from Port Orchards, Washington. All bundles were numbered and sorted, ready for re-erecting back into their original form. These particular buildings were re-erected on a hillside plot north of the reservoir and were converted into apartments for married students. I can’t recall the exact number of mostly one bedroom apartments, but I believe it was about 50. These were ready for occupancy by the Fall of 1948 and were fully utilized, with many applicants not accommodated. This area was called Vet Hill. The cost of re-erecting these war surplus buildings and preparing them for use was the responsibility of the recipient institutions. To meet these costs special requests for funds were made to the California State Department of Finance, which had a pool of funds appropriated by the California Legislature to use for such purposes.

Paul Spencer Construction Company was awarded the contract to re-erect the barrack buildings and modify them into residential family apartments. I mention Paul Spencer by name for this particular project because of his special interest and continual personal assistance in the development and growth of the Voorhis Campus and later his support in helping Cal Poly acquire the Kellogg Horse Ranch at Pomona in 1949, for the site of what is now the California State Polytechnic University, Kellogg Campus, Pomona, California. It is also interesting to note that Mr. Spencer became so fond of the San Dimas area that he purchased the home and small citrus grove owned by Mr. Landon, who, it is to be recalled, was the person who first told me in the Spring of 1938 of the availability of the Voorhis School for Boys. Mr. and Mrs. Spencer and their four children moved from Pasadena into the Landon home sometime in 1948.

2. Approximately 20 individual 20’ x 20’ buildings, commonly called Dallas Huts, constructed primarily of five-ply plywood, floors, sidings and roofs were procured from a closed Naval facility on a beach in the San Diego area. These units were procured through a cooperative arrangement between the Los Angeles County and the San Diego County Public Housing Authorities with Cal Poly. The buildings were taken down by the San Diego County Housing Authority in sections marked for orderly re-erection, but it was Cal Poly’s responsibility to transport and re-erect the units. The area selected for the location of the re-erected huts was a point of land projecting west into the barranca at the southwest end of the Voorhis Campus. This area was named "West Point". When completed in the Summer of 1948, the some sixteen 20’ x20’ huts partitioned into four 10’ x 10’ rooms provided housing for approximately 120 single men. With the completion of West Point, coupled with the some 175 single men and the married men’s family facilities of "Trailer Village" and "Vet Hill", approximately 350 students were housed on campus. In addition, there were eight faculty and staff families residing on campus.

O. A. 'Jolly' Batcheller3. One multipurpose surplus military wood frame and siding single story building of approximately 10,000 square feet was moved from the Santa Ana Air Force Base in the Summer of 1947. Because of its size the building was moved in four sections. Even with that breakdown, each section was large and required a great deal of special logistics and special "moving permits" to be moved over county and state roads from its Santa Ana location to the Voorhis Campus. It was located on the eastern edge of the campus at the northeast end of the citrus grove. On campus, this building used for classrooms and some faculty offices was known as the "H Building". Moving the sections of the H Building onto the campus over the winding and overhead live oak tree foliage college entrance road without destroying the trees presented a challenging dilemma. Fortunately the movers were sympathetic to the problem and willingly consented to move slowly over this some quarter mile of roadway. It was necessary to cut away some of the overhead limbs. To accomplish this the head of our Ornamental Horticulture Department, O.A. "Jolly" Batcheller and I rode atop the building sections as each moved up the winding road. We had a saw and an axe and when we could not push a limb out of the way we would reluctantly cut.

4. In addition to the above buildings, a great deal of tools, vehicles, power equipment and consumable type supplies were procured from War Surplus. Not only were such materials secured for the Voorhis Campus, but also for the San Luis Obispo Campus. I was the authorized representative to select War Surplus material from the military bases in all of Southern California. For example, truck loads of electric and gas welders, welding rod and hand tools were received by the San Luis Obispo Campus from Southern California bases.

Although the Voorhis Campus was a thriving operation, its continuance was being questioned by the California State Legislature, which had the responsibility for the allocation of State funds. Rolland A. Vandegrift, Legislative Auditor, the advisor to the Legislature, through the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, in 1947 and 1948 California Legislative sessions recommended that the Voorhis Unit be closed. Supporters of the college mounted such a loud protest to their representative legislators that it resulted in the auditor’s recommendation not being accepted.

By the end of the 1947-48 school year, the second year of operation after its reopening in the Fall of 1946, it became apparent that more room for expansion was required. After considerable study it was decided to attempt to find another location, other than the Voorhis Campus, for the expansion of the California Polytechnic programs in Southern California. Major factors considered in reaching this decision were the relative inaccessibility of Voorhis coupled with its terrain and limited acreage. It was hoped, however, that the Voorhis Campus could be retained for its use as a sub-tropical ornamental and citrus-avocado production unit for instruction.

Along with my responsibilities for administering the Voorhis operation, I was also to seek a new location for expansion. Among possibilities explored were some interesting ones as I look back upon it. One of the first was the possibility of purchasing adjacent undeveloped land to the south of the Voorhis property which could provide a more accessible entrance, as well as provide space for expansion. After some investigation this possibility was rejected.

A second was a proposal for a triple exchange of locations for three different State Institutions. Cal Poly would move to the Whittier School for Boys (an operation under the State Juvenile Authority--a reform type program). The Whittier School for Boys would move to the California Institution for Women (a women’s prison) at Lancaster, California. The California Institution for Women would move to the Voorhis Campus. This triple exchange proposal did not go very far, however, because the Voorhis family did not want the Voorhis School site to be used as a prison. The deed under which the Voorhis School was accepted by the State for the use of the California Polytechnic College definitely limited its use.

A third was the Norco Naval Training Facility north of Corona. As I recall, the main facility was a five story building, which had been a recreation type hotel located on the artificial lake or reservoir adjacent to the Santa Ana River. It was determined that this War Surplus property would not be adequate for the Cal Poly, Voorhis expansion plan.

I suspect that maps and blueprints of the buildings of these three properties might still be found in the archives of Cal Poly, Kellogg. At the time, we were investigating them, I had acquired such materials.

It was at this time (1948-49) that the Kellogg Arabian Horse Ranch became available. This some 800 acre well developed property was located immediately to the west of the city of Pomona. And, although approximately 9 miles by road from the Voorhis Campus, it was only about a mile by direct distance.

A brief chronology on the history of the Kellogg Ranch should be recounted. In 1925, Mr. W.K. Kellogg of Battle Creek, Michigan and the founder of the Kellogg Cereal Company acquired and developed the Kellogg Ranch. He stocked the ranch with many of the finest and most renowned Arabian blood lines in the world. Breeding stock was acquired from as far away as England and original sources of the breed in mideast Asia. It was Mr. Kellogg’s objective to acquaint the American public with the high qualities and beauty of the Arabian horse and to develop and improve upon its foundation through breeding, selection and improved husbandry. As the manager of the ranch, Mr. Kellogg hired Mr. H.H. Reese, recognized world-wide authority on Arabian horses. The operation prospered and became recognized worldwide during the latter years of the 1920’ s and early 1930’s. I am not fully aware of all the reasons for the decision, but in the early 1930’s Mr. Kellogg decided to dispose of the ranch. But he wanted it maintained as an Arabian horse breeding center, coupled with a program to popularize the Arabian horse in America. With this objective in mind, in 1932 he transferred title to the ranch and all of its assets to the University of California. To assist the University in accomplishing the program objectives, Mr. Kellogg made an endowment of several hundred thousand dollars to provide a regular source of money to help cover the expense of the Arabian program.

The faculty and administrators, University of California, College of Agriculture, Davis, California, were the representatives of the University of California who were most active and involved with the acquisition of the Kellogg Ranch. I was a senior majoring in Animal Husbandry at Davis in the school year of 1931-32 and I can remember very well the excitement and enthusiasm expressed by the faculty and students when it was announced the Kellogg Horse Ranch had been donated to the University. The first announcement at Davis was made by Dr. George Hart, head of the Animal Husbandry Department and the instructor of the class in Animal Breeding, which I was taking in the Fall of 1931.

One of my instructors in Animal Husbandry, Dr. Caroll Howell, a world renowned horse husbandry and judging authority, was appointed by the University to manage the Kellogg Ranch. Mr. Howell proved to be a capable manager, but there were insufficient funds to conduct the Arabian program in accordance with the provisions of the deed under which the University accepted the ranch. In those years of the 1930’s the University’s state budget was pinched. In addition, I have been told, the return was negligible from the investment by the University of the endowment contributed by Mr. Kellogg to supplement and guarantee the success of the operation. One report in regard to the investment which I have heard, but have not verified, is that the Board of Regents of the University of California loaned the money to the Irvine Ranch Company of Orange County to help it avoid bankruptcy. An Irvine Ranch representative was on the Board of Regents at that time. In any case, the return on the investment was not up to expectations, the Kellogg Arabian program suffered and Mr. Kellogg was unhappy with the lack of progress.

When the United States began to strengthen its military effort in 1940-41, the Remount Service of the Army wanted to establish a center in the west. I am not familiar with the negotiations, but in 1941 the Kellogg Foundation, representing Mr. Kellogg, the University and United States Army officials agreed on a transfer of the ranch to the Army for a Western Remount Station. It is my understanding that as part of the agreement Mr. Kellogg agreed to not being repaid for the endowment he had established for the University.

The Remount program functioned successfully under the direction of Major Charles Team. In addition to Arabian stallions, the Army also provided other breeds including Thoroughbreds and Quarter horses. By the close of World War II the United States Army had decided to eliminate the Remount service--the Army had become fully mechanized and the horse cavalry was no longer needed.

When this action was taken the Army no longer had budget to maintain the Kellogg Ranch operation, so it was transferred to the United States Department of Agriculture sometime in 1947, but neither did the Department of Agriculture have adequate operational funds, so it started selling the Arabian breeding stock. This caused a storm of protest from the Kellogg Foundation, as well as the Arabian Breeders Association and individual Arabian enthusiasts. The protest was widely publicized by the press, especially by the Los Angeles Examiner. As a result of these protests, the Department of Agriculture transferred the Ranch and all of its remaining stock back to the Kellogg Foundation. The Foundation decided to give the Ranch to a non-profit agency, which could utilize it in a manner satisfactory to Mr. Kellogg and the Kellogg Foundation.

When we (Cal Poly) heard of the availability of the Ranch, President Julian A. McPhee immediately contacted Dr. Emory Morris, President of Kellogg Foundation, to advise him of Cal Poly’s possible interest in accepting it. Also seeking the property were several other groups and institutions, among which was the newly formed Mt. San Antonio Community College District serving the communities of Pomona, Covina, La Verne and San Dimas. Mt. San Antonio was searching for property as a site for construction of its facilities. Mr. Richardson, editor of the Pomona Progress Bulletin, the leading newspaper of the area, was also the President of the Board of Trustees for the new district, thus, the media coverage of the Kellogg Ranch disposition was heavily sided in support of Mt. San Antonio’s selection.

After careful exploration in the background and record of the various applicants, it became apparent that Cal Poly was favored and most likely would be offered the Ranch if the state would officially accept it. Cal Poly, being a state institution and supported with state funds, was required to comply with all procedures for gift acquisitions.

Cal Poly received widespread support of its application from both state officials and friends. Among them were:

1. First, of course, was the State Board of Education and the State Department of Public Instruction, which at that time were respectively the Governing Board and Chief Administrative office of the California State Colleges. Roy E. Simpson was the Superintendent of Instruction.

2. Several Federal officials. Some, who I specifically remember were:

a. California’s two United States Senators:
Sheridan Downey and William K. Knowland

b. Congressmen:

  1. Ernest K. Bramblett--representing Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.
  2. Richard M. Nixon--Whittier, Pomona, Covina District of Los Angeles County.
  3. Clair Engl-Red Bluff (several counties)
  4. Alfred J. Eliott-representing Tulare, Kern, Kings Counties
  5. John J. Phillips--representing Orange, Riverside, Imperial Counties.

c. Former United States Secretary of Agriculture and currently one of the two United States Senators from New Mexico, Clinton P. Anderson.

d. The current Secretary of Agriculture Charles F. Brannum who had endorsed the transfer of the Ranch from the Department back to the Kellogg Foundation.

3. The majority of California agriculture, farm and industry organizations. Most of these organizations adopted resolutions recommending to the California Legislature that it approve the acceptance of the Kellogg Arabian Ranch from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for the use and expansion of Cal Poly. I will not attempt to name every one of these organizations, but will name a few to indicate the breadth and depth of the interest and support of the California Agriculture Enterprise in this gift. California State Farm Bureau plus several local centers, California State Grange, California Fruit Growers Association (Sunkist), California Walnut Growers (Blue Diamond), California Avocado Growers (Calavo), California Cattlemens Association, California Poultry Producers, Western Growers Association, and California Arabian Breeders Association.

4. Several State Legislators--most active in supporting the application were:

a. Assemblymen:

  1. Ernest R. Geddes, Pomona--49th Assembly District in which both the Kellogg Ranch and Voorhis Campus were located.
  2. Thomas M. Erwin, Puente--50th Assembly District.
  3. George A. Clarke, Planada--31st Assembly District, Madera County.
  4. Stewart L. Hinkley, Redlands--73rd Assembly District.
  5. James W. Siliman, Soledad--33rd Assembly District in which the San Luis Obispo Campus was located.

b. Senators:

  1. Chris N. Jesperson, Atascadero--28th Senatorial District.
  2. Jack B. Tenney, Los Angeles--38th Senatorial District.
  3. Ben Hulse, El Centro--39th Senatorial District.
  4. Nelson S. Dilworth, Hemet--37th Senatorial District.
  5. George J. Hatfield, Newman--24th Senatorial District.

Assemblyman Ernest Geddes authored and directed the adoption of a resolution through both the State Assembly and State Senate favoring the acceptance of the Kellogg Ranch.

The day before the Resolution (whose number I can’t remember, but I believe it was Assembly Concurrent Resolution #100 in the 1949 Legislative session) was scheduled for adoption I accompanied President McPhee to visit an innumerable number of legislators at their offices in Sacramento to remind them of the item and to respectfully ask for their support. Also, there were several representatives of interested organizations who contacted Legislators with whom they were acquainted to urge their support of the Resolution. One especially that should be mentioned is Paul Spencer, the neighbor at the Voorhis Campus who had been the contractor to erect the Vet Hill War Surplus buildings in 1946-47.

In the mid 1940’s, Mr. Spencer had become the chairman of the California General Contractors Association Legislative Committee. The evening before the vote on the Resolution Paul flew he and I, in his 4-place Cessna, from our homes in San Dimas to Sacramento to meet President McPhee. Later that evening, as we were visiting in the lobby of the Senator Hotel, whom should we meet but Goodwin J. Knight, Lieutenant Governor, and Rolland A. Vandegrift, Legislative Auditor. Mr. Knight, as Lieutenant Governor was the presiding officer of the Senate, and would be the officer announcing the results of the vote on our Resolution the next day when it was acted upon by the Senate. Mr. Vandegrift, it is to be recalled, was the officer that had been recommending to the Legislature the closing of the Voorhis Campus. Both President McPhee and Paul Spencer were acquainted and on a friendly basis with both Mr. Knight and Mr. Vandegrift. In our conversation with them that evening, when President McPhee explained we were in Sacramento to support the passage of the Resolution to acquire the Kellogg Ranch to use as the site for the expansion of the Voorhis program, Mr. Vandegrift, with a laugh said, "Julian, I guess you are going to get your way again". Mr. Knight just smiled. But the next afternoon, when the Resolution was presented by Senators Jesperson, San Luis Obispo County and Tenney, Los Angeles County, the "yeas" were so pronounced that without even asking for the "No" vote, Goodwin Knight announced the Resolution "Passed".

Earlier in the day the Resolution had been passed in the Assembly without one negative vote. The passage of this Resolution cleared the way for the completion of negotiations by the State Director of Finance, James S. Dean’s office with the attorneys and officials representing the Department; State Department of Education, representing Cal Poly; and the Kellogg Foundation. I do not recall the official date of the signing, but by the Summer and Fall of 1949 the Kellogg Arabian Horse Ranch had become California Polytechnic College, Kellogg Campus, Pomona, California. Although the some 800 acre campus was administered by the Voorhis Campus staff and employees and utilized for instruction by classes from the Voorhis Campus it was not until 1956, after the Science Classroom building was finished that the Voorhis program was moved to the Kellogg Campus. When that occurred, the Voorhis Campus became the one that was utilized by classes, now from the Kellogg Campus. For several years both single and married students continued to live at Voorhis, as did members of the faculty and staff who had occupied facilities there. After the regular program at Voorhis had moved to Kellogg in 1956, the Voorhis Campus was developed as an educational conference center for business, industry and public institution groups. Mr. Kenneth Kitch was made director of that program which continued until 1973, when a lease of the Voorhis property was made to the California Baptist College. Eventually in 1978, the California Baptist College purchased the property.

I could go on and on reminiscing about the activities and my experiences of those 4 years of 1946-50 that I was Dean of the Voorhis Campus, but I will close with only a few general statements. There was great comradery between students, between students and staff and between members and families of the staff. I believe that it was largely due to this comradery that resulted in the success and growth of the Voorhis program that made it desirable to expand to the Kellogg Campus.

The faculty and staff at Voorhis during those 1946-50 years not only were fully qualified in their respective fields of expertise, but they also were endowed with the missionary spirit to provide service beyond what could have been expected from their conditions of employment. Hours of work were secondary, rather it was, "How much can we do in the hours in a day that are available".

The Robert D. Ashtonstudents of that era are also to be praised and admired. They not only accepted limitations of facilities and services, but also established new and maintained traditional college activities in cooperation with a supportive and enthusiastic faculty and staff. The student produced yearbook, Madre Tierra, and the official college catalog attest to these activities. Especially should be mentioned the first entrance of a Cal Poly float in the New Year’s Pasadena Rose Parade; the reinstatement of the annual open house, Poly Vue; the publishing of the yearbook, Madre Tierra; the establishment and expansion of the many campus clubs and organizations, the initiation of intercollegiate athletic competition, including football which started in the Fall of 1947 with the Head of the Citrus Department, Robert Ashton, serving as coach, assisted by John Owens, Agriculture Mechanics instructor and the college music program led by Keith Weeks, instructor of various general education courses.

I could provide a special story of the background service and dedication of each faculty and staff member of those years, but I am afraid I might miss some of the most pertinent facts, so I will not attempt to do that.

In 1950 a new position of Executive Dean was established by the State Board of Education for the California State Colleges. Cal Poly was one of the first colleges to be allocated such a position. President McPhee selected me to fill this position at Cal Poly, but that required that I move back to the San Luis Obispo Campus. In September of 1950, it was with some feeling of sadness as well as anticipation that my family and I moved from our home on the Voorhis Campus to San Luis Obispo where I took up my new duties. J. Cordner Gibson, who had joined the Voorhis faculty in the Fall of 1949 as assistant Dean, became Dean at Voorhis. Even though I became Executive Dean, it did not mean I no longer had responsibility at the Voorhis Campus. My duties as Executive Dean embraced the San Luis Obispo, San Dimas and Kellogg Campuses. Those duties primarily were planning the building and facilities programs, external relations with other schools and the public and governmental relations, primarily with the State Legislature in procurement of budget and other legislative matters relating to the development of the Cal Poly curriculum.

My responsibilities in the administration areas at the Voorhis and Kellogg Campuses continued until 1967 following Julian A. McPhee’s retirement as President and the establishment in 1967 of the Kellogg Campus as a separate unit of the California State University, Kellogg Campus, Pomona, California.

  Harold O. Wilson
June 1997
  Web designer's notes:

* This link in the original webpage did not lead to any student rosters, it merely led to photos from yearbooks which are now in a separate exhibit. Also, this page was originally published on the web in 2001 as:

A Chronological Account of Cal Poly's Acquisition of the Voorhis Unit, San Dimas, California and the Kellogg Arabian Horse Ranch, Pomona, California as of July 1997 from the Memory of Harold O. Wilson, Dean of the Voorhis Unit 1946-1950. Click here for the copy.


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