Claremont Manor: Celebrating 75 Years of Community and Legacy

As Claremont Manor Retirement Community in Claremont, CA celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2024, it’s an opportune moment to reflect on the rich history and vibrant community that have defined this remarkable institution. From its humble beginnings to its current status as a cherished retirement community, Claremont Manor Retirement Community’s story is one of resilience, dedication, and enduring spirit. The community fosters a sense of extended family, where generational connections and support are paramount. Each resident receives personal attention from a caring and loving staff who go above and beyond to ensure their well-being and happiness within the senior living community through exceptional senior care services. The focus remains on what’s possible, achievable and what’s next for the community’s future.

The Early Years

In the spring of 1949, Claremont Manor’s stately red brick buildings were surrounded by little more than black dirt, mud and a few orange trees.

The Manor’s early success was not without obstacles. The architect, Claude A. Faithfull, passed away unexpectedly, leaving Neal Ireland, Superintendent of Pacific Home, with the daunting task of overseeing the construction. Despite these challenges, the Manor was completed and officially opened, setting the stage for decades of growth and development.

Claremont Manor main entrance 1949
Claremont Manor main entrance, 1949

An Affair to Remember

The dedication ceremony marked the beginning of a journey that would see the Manor become home to many lively retirees. Lee Pitzer, a prominent Claremont citrus rancher who donated the ten-acre site took the personal initiative to smooth a road to the Manor’s entrance, ensuring the area was presentable for the dedication ceremony. It was a grand affair attended by dignitaries such as California Lieutenant Governor Goodwin J. Knight and Claremont’s Mayor Stuart Wheeler. Entertainment was provided by a string ensemble from the Pomona Unified School District and a male quartet from Pomona College. The event marked the official opening of what would become a beloved home for many retirees.

Building a Community

By the end of 1949, Claremont Manor had 177 residents, known as the “49ers” and “founders.” Despite initial challenges, such as the lack of sidewalks and the prevalence of dust and mud, these early residents were optimistic and patient. They celebrated each new improvement with joy, reflecting the community’s hopeful spirit.

Claremont Manor’s first staff in 1949
Claremont Manor’s first staff in 1949

Growth and Development in the 1950s

The 1950s were a period of significant growth for Claremont Manor. By 1950, all buildings were occupied, and additional cottages were constructed. The establishment of the Claremont Manor Club in January 1950 played a crucial role in fostering a sense of community among residents. The Club’s purpose was to facilitate communication between residents and management and to encourage various activities and entertainment.

Claremont Manor’s grand front lawn 1952
Claremont Manor’s grand front lawn, 1952

During this decade, the Manor saw the addition of new facilities, including a ground-floor dining room and a new medical unit building. Gardeners transformed the surrounding black dirt into beautiful gardens, enhancing the Manor’s aesthetic appeal. The decade was also marked by the loss of Blanche Pitzer, whose memory was honored with the establishment of a music room featuring a grand piano, a wedding gift from her husband.

Embracing Change in the 1960s

Claremont Manor’s dining room 1956
Claremont Manor’s dining room, 1956

The 1960s brought about many changes and improvements. New facilities such as the Aloha Room (later the East Lounge) and a larger Dining Room were added. The Manor’s library was relocated and expanded, reflecting the residents’ intellectual pursuits. The decade also saw the introduction of cherry trees gifted by the International Christian University of Japan, adding to the campus’ beauty.

Community life at the Manor was vibrant, with numerous committees and activities keeping residents engaged. The establishment of traditions, such as the Christmas crèche project, further enriched the communal experience. Residents continued to make significant contributions to the wider community, demonstrating the Manor’s commitment to service.

Overcoming Challenges in the 1970s

Claremont Manor residents in golf cart parade
Claremont Manor residents in golf cart parade

The 1970s were marked by financial challenges as Pacific Homes, the parent operator, faced bankruptcy. Despite the difficulties, life at the Manor continued. The Garden Apartments were dedicated in 1971, and a beauty shop was added. The decade also saw the expansion of Manor Lodge and the establishment of new facilities.

Amidst these challenges, residents maintained their community spirit. The 25th anniversary in 1974 was a grand celebration, reflecting the Manor’s resilience. Notable residents like former Congressman Jerry Voorhis played crucial roles in navigating the financial difficulties, ensuring the Manor’s continued success.

400 Cambridge Building
400 Cambridge Building

Modernization and Expansion in the 1980s and 1990s

The 1980s and 1990s marked significant periods of modernization and expansion for Claremont Manor. In an era of innovation, new facilities like cutting-edge solar panels and an advanced telephone system were introduced, enhancing the residents’ quality of life. The inaugural home tour became a beloved tradition, offering a glimpse into the vibrant community life at the Manor.

Transitioning into the 1990s, Claremont Manor unveiled its ambitious Master Plan, painting a visionary picture of the future. The comprehensive plan encompassed plans for a state-of-the-art Health Care Center, an array of garden apartments and cottages, a luxurious swimming pool, and a rejuvenating spa. This strategic foresight solidified Claremont Manor’s commitment to evolving with the times and catering to the diverse needs of its cherished residents, ensuring a thriving community for generations to come.

621 Bonita building
621 Bonita building

Into the 2000s

In 2012, Claremont Manor opened its first memory care neighborhood called Summer House. Summer House at Claremont Manor is a specialized memory care neighborhood featuring three protected cottages within the Claremont Manor Retirement Community campus. Summer House is a serene environment tailored for individuals with Alzheimer’s and related dementia. With 17 accommodations, residents enjoy modern comforts, personalized care and innovative therapies. Care teams focus on whole-person well-being, fostering dignity, connection and self-expression. Families are encouraged to visit often, ensuring loved ones remain engaged and connected in a warm, supportive setting.

Claremont, California: A Great Place to Retire

Claremont, California offers a unique blend of small-town charm and vibrant community life. Known for its tree-lined streets and historic architecture, Claremont boasts a high quality of life with excellent healthcare facilities, numerous cultural attractions and a warm Mediterranean climate. 

Poolside event at Claremont Manor
Poolside event at Claremont Manor

This picturesque city is home to the Claremont Colleges, which contribute to a lively intellectual and cultural environment. Claremont’s crime rates are low and it offers a diverse and inclusive community, making it a safe and welcoming place for retirees. Additionally, the city’s many parks, trails and recreational activities ensure an active and healthy lifestyle for its residents. 

For those considering a move to Claremont, the city’s robust economy and higher-than-average median household income further enhance its appeal. Despite a slightly higher cost of living, the benefits of living in such a well-rounded community make it an excellent choice for retirement. 

A Legacy of Community

As Claremont Manor joyously celebrates its remarkable 75th anniversary milestone, it proudly stands as a living testament to the unwavering strength of community bonds and the enduring spirit that resonates within its cherished residents. From its humble beginnings marked by black dirt and mud, to its present-day status as a flourishing and contemporary retirement oasis, the Manor’s storied history is a tapestry interwoven with tales of resilience, unwavering dedication, and heartfelt camaraderie that have shaped its legacy. Here’s to raising a toast to the next 75 years filled with continued prosperity, cherished memories, and boundless happiness at the heartwarming Claremont Manor.

Commitment to Service

Today, Claremont Manor not only offers independent living but also offers assisted living, skilled nursing and post-acute, short-term rehabilitation. Summer House, a specialized memory care neighborhood within the community, provides a protected, home-like environment and dedicated support, creating a family-like atmosphere for its residents. With these multiple levels of care all in one place, residents and their families can feel assured by the available support and care especially as residents’ needs change over time.

A resident and nurse smile at each other.
A resident and caregiver demonstrate their connection.

Pioneering the Future of Retirement Living

As Claremont Manor joyfully commemorates its 75th anniversary in 2024, the esteemed retirement community nestled in the heart of Claremont, California, reflects on its rich legacy while eagerly envisioning a future intertwined with profound historical roots and a strong sense of community camaraderie. Since its establishment in 1949, Claremont Manor has evolved from its modest origins into a dynamic and contemporary retirement community, persistently growing in response to the evolving needs of its cherished residents. With a forward-thinking ethos deeply embedded in principles of innovation, inclusivity and unwavering commitment to excellence, Claremont Manor stands as a beacon of warmth and care in the retirement landscape in Claremont, California.

Technological Advancements

Facade of cottage homes at Claremont Manor
Cottage homes at Claremont Manor

Claremont Manor is dedicated to ongoing exploration of cutting-edge technologies aimed at elevating the quality of life for its residents. This forward-looking approach encompasses active participation with the Front Porch Center for Innovation and Technology to explore technologies such as health monitoring and smart home features, paving the way for a lifestyle that is not only convenient but also optimized for modern living. By wholeheartedly embracing technology and the possibilities they bring, Claremont Manor strives to cultivate an environment where residents can revel in a harmonious blend of comfort, security, and peace of mind, ensuring a truly enriching living experience.

Claremont Manor’s unwavering dedication to fostering a vibrant community life is deeply rooted in its commitment to enriching the lives of its residents. Through a carefully curated selection of diverse activities, programs, and events, the retirement community strives to provide a holistic approach to resident engagement. From stimulating workshops that cater to intellectual growth to culturally enriching events and lively social gatherings, Claremont Manor goes above and beyond to ensure that residents have a plethora of opportunities to stay connected with the community. By fostering an environment that nurtures both social interactions and personal growth, Claremont Manor aims to create a sense of purpose and belonging that resonates throughout its vibrant community.

Four residents walk through Claremont Manor

As Claremont Manor gazes into the future, it does so with a profound appreciation for its illustrious past. The community’s rich history, characterized by unwavering resilience, unwavering dedication, and a robust sense of togetherness, serves as a firm cornerstone upon which to perpetually evolve. With a crystal-clear vision for the days ahead, Claremont Manor stands ready to continue its enduring tradition of excellence in retirement living, ensuring its position as a beloved abode for future generations. Here’s to another magnificent 75 years of continuous growth, boundless innovation, and a thriving sense of community at Claremont Manor, a place where memories are made and cherished for years to come.