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Lincoln Park's wealth lies in its history

October 01, 2006|Maura E. Montellano | Times Staff Writer

"This Old House" devotees who suffered sticker shock when they tried to buy in one of Pasadena's historic neighborhoods have found happiness at a fraction of the cost in the Lincoln Park area of Pomona. Yes, Pomona.

What it's about

Pomona's Lincoln Park neighborhood offers buyers seeking classic vintage homes an affordable alternative for early 20th century Craftsman homes, California bungalows and Prairie, Tudor and Colonial Revival styles, as well as a healthy mix of Spanish and Victorian houses.

The Lincoln Park enclave, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is home to about 900 of Pomona's more than 2,700 buildings of historic significance.

Many houses in the neighborhood feature Batchelder tile fireplaces, built-ins, quarter-sawed oak floors and box-beamed ceilings. Although some are fixer-uppers awaiting industrious do-it-yourselfers to restore them to past glory, others are in prime condition. There are quaint bungalows and large architectural gems that feature wrap-around porches and basements. Many have original claw-foot tubs and massive wood entry doors with authentic period hardware.

Drawing card

Once dubbed Silk Stocking Row because of the well-heeled folks who built in the area around the park it's named after, Lincoln Park rivals historic neighborhoods in Pasadena, but prices for these architectural treasures are considerably less.

The year-to-date median home price in Pomona is $420,000, compared with Pasadena's $621,000, according to DataQuick Information Systems. The difference gives homeowners room to juggle mortgages plus the cost of renovation.

Neighborhood pride runs deep in Lincoln Park. Many residents are members of Pomona Heritage, an organization dedicated to the preservation of the city's rich cultural heritage and the group behind an annual home tour (this year, Oct. 15) and restoration workshop.

Insider's view

"When we moved here," said Mickey Gallivan, president of the Historical Society of Pomona Valley, "it really wasn't coveted." More than 30 years later, she likes being surrounded by people who appreciate historical homes and enjoys the renovation work that goes on all around her. But back in 1972, she said, "our Realtor strongly advised us not to buy because it was in Pomona. People who own the houses here realize they need to take care of what they have."

Good news, bad news

The lack of chain retail stores and restaurants is a sore point for many, although downtown Pomona's flourishing Antique Row and Arts Colony district is hard at work filling a void. The two pedestrian-friendly malls boast specialty stores, antique shops and restaurants and a dozen galleries that host the monthly Second Saturday ArtWalk, with work by established and emerging artists. One of two Metrolink stations in Pomona is steps away.

Pomona, however, can't seem to shake its image as a place overrun by gangs, crime and run-down properties. Crime in the Lincoln Park neighborhood is low compared with statistics citywide.

On the market

In August, fewer than 30 homes were on the market in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, said Arthur M. Ramos, owner-broker of M.A.R. Investments, who lives in the area. They ranged from a 1,058-square-foot two-bedroom listed for $374,900 to a four-bedroom, two-bath, 2,722-square-foot home on sale for $635,000.

Report card

The city is served by the Pomona Unified School District. Students in the Lincoln Park area attend Lincoln Elementary, which scored 709 out of a possible 1,000 on the 2006 Academic Performance Index Growth Report. Emerson Middle School scored 643; Pomona High scored 625.



Sources: Dataquick Information Systems; /heritage;;;

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