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Padua Hills Land Development Collection
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Materials cataloging the land development and construction of the Padua Hills enclave in Claremont, California.
Padua Hills is an enclave situated on a hill at the base of the Sierra Madre Mountains in Claremont, California. It was founded under the direction of H.H. Garner, a prominent industrialist and Pomona College alum, who along with a group of fellow citizens purchased over 2,000 acres of land in north Claremont. The group incorporated in 1927 as Padua Hills, Incorporated. To realize the vision of an artist colony, the property was subdivided into residences for artists, studios, and a center with a dining room and small theater. In 1930, The Little Theater in Padua Hills was constructed as a 300-seat theater, complete with an adjacent dining room. The theater was home to the Claremont Community Players starting in 1928 and the Padua Players in 1933. The Padua Institute next occupied the theater as a non-profit organization that sought to preserve the customs, arts, and traditions of Mexico and Spanish California through group and class activities in conjunction with the Claremont Colleges. From 1932 to 1974, the Mexican Players performed at the theater. This was the longest-running Mexican American theater in U.S. history and consisted of local Mexican American performers who presented Mexican culture through song, dance, and pantomime. As well as the vibrant theater scene, which served as a center for Mexican culture through academic study and the performing arts, Padua Hills also created a community of artists. H.H. Garner invited artists, artisans, and craftspeople from Claremont and the Claremont Colleges to build residences in the neighborhood along Via Padova. Many were supported in their studies by the GI Bill after World War II and found a tightknit artist community in Padua Hills. Notable residents included Albert and Marion Stewart, Harrison and Marguerite McIntosh, and Millard and Mary Sheets, as well as H.H. Garner himself and Bess Garner. Many exhibited their work at the theater through the annual Art Fiesta. Others worked at the Art Department of the Vortox Company, an air filtration manufacturing company owned by H.H. Garner. Using a lithographic press, the artists designed and printed promotional material for the Vortox Company and Padua Hills Theatre. In 1972, the theater became a State Point of Historical Interest.
.41 linear feet (1 box); containing administrative materials, financial materials; and ephemera such as brochures and pamphlets.
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The collection is open for research use.