Artist's rendition of La Casa Primera.

Photo taken at Casa Primera of a cauldron with the original zanja of the area behind it. This zanja (irrigation ditch) brought water many miles from the mountains to the adobes of the area.

Volunteer efforts to maintain the site are ongoing. Join us and be a part of preserving local history!

The Barbara Greenwood Kindergarten is also part of the historic complex at Park and McKinley. It was built in 1908 and housed the first kindergarten class in the city.

La Casa Primera

The story of La Casa Primera goes back to 1837 when Don Ygnacio Palomares and Don Ricardo Vejar, of the Pueblo Los Angeles petitioned the Mexican Govenor, Juan Alvarado, for the appriximately 15,000 acres of vacant land, marked on the crude maps as "San Jose". The petition was awarded and the grant included what is today much of the Pomona Valley. Don Ygnacio selected the present site for his first dwelling and built the La Casa Primera in 1837. It was the first home built in this locality. Like other homes of the period its thick walls were made of adobe brick. The Palomares family lived here for seventeen years until they moved to their new adobe home, now known as Adobe de Palomares. In 1867, the son of Ygnacio, Don Francisco Palomares, and his wife, Donna Lujardo Alvarado, moved to La Casa where they lived until the death of Francisco in 1882. Francisco discovered the first artesian well in the valley and planted orange trees. Some of these trees survive on the site and on the nearby Casa Alvarado site.

Don Francisco was a member of the first Board of Trustees of the San Jose School District and the Los angeles County Board of Supervisors. He was declared honorary chief of the Indian rancheros of this area. Upon his death, they offered their tribal tributes.

In 1874, Don Francisco, Cyrus Burdick and P.C. Tonner formed the Old Settlement Water Company. The original open canal crossed Old Settlers Lane and continued to a reservoir near Holt Ave. Portions of the old stone lined ditch are still visible on the site, and at the Casa Alvarado and Adobe de Palomares.

In 1886 Dr. Benjamin S. Nichols, President of the newly formed Pomona Land and Water Company, purchased the land on which La Casa Primera stands. Roscoe Hart bought the property in 1947. Subsequently various families occupied La Casa until 1973 when it was purchased by the Historical Society and restored, in a joint effort with the City of Pomona, to what it looked like in the late 1800's. The Historical Society of Pomona Valley, Inc. has furnished many of the rooms of La Casa with authenic Ninteenth Century furnishings for viewing by the public. After many alternations and additions the home still stands today as a lasting memorial to those bold and adventuresome pioneers who settled this area.

Open the the public
Open Sundays 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Easter, Memorial Day, Labor Day and Thanksgiving weekends.
1569 N. Park Ave., Pomona, CA 91768
(909) 623-2198

The Barbara Greenwood Kindergarten

The Barbara Greenwood Kindergarten, 332 West McKinley Avenue, was first opened for kindergarten students in 1908 at 605 North Park Avenue in Pomona. In 1929 the building was moved to the old San Antonio Elementery School site and in 1951 it was cut in two for a move to West Arroyo Avenue as the first unit of Arroyo Elementary School. Students in the Arroyo area attended kindergarten in the bungalow until 1974 when the last class completed its term. The building was slated for demolition. The Historical Society of Pomona Valley, Inc. and other members of the community worked to save the building. The Pomona Unified School District generously deeded the building to the Society. The Society, working with numerous members of the community, especially June Hyman, the last teaher at the bungalow, were able to raise the necessary funds to relocate and restore the building. It is on the National Registry of Historic Places and is a contributing structure in the Hacienda Park Historic District.

Barbara Greenwood was born in Philadelphia and moved to Baraboo, Wisconsin at an early age. She attended the Chicago Kindergarten Institute as there were no public training schools in those years. She taught kindergarten classes for ten years, from 1901 to 1911 in Baraboo and was supervisor of the kindergarten in Pomona. In 1912 she joined the faculty of the Los Angeles Normal School which later was absorbed into the newly established University of California (UCLA) where she served until her retirement in 1937.

Miss Greenwood was a pioneer in the field of kindergarten and supervision of training for teachers as well as being well known for her contributions in the field of parent education. She was a dynamic leader who assumed numerous leadership roles in local, state, national, and international organizations interested in the early education of young children. She was instrumental in the establishment of the California State Association for Early Childhood Education. Barbara Greenwood endeared herself to children, students, parents and teachers as she pioneered teacher education for the nursery school and kindergarten. Her dynamic spirit and professional dedication is a source of inspiration which is perpetuated in the enthusiasm for professional excellence in successive generations of teachers.

On Nov. 7, 1953 the Barbara Greewood Lecture and Scholarship Fund was announced at a luncheon in Kerckhoff Hall at UCLA. Since 1987 the Barbara Greewwood Fellowship Fund has been managed by Claremont Graduate University, Office of Development. Annual scholarships are awarded for study in early childhood education.