In order to escape the freezing winters in Battle Creek, Michigan, cereal magnate W. K. Kellogg purchased a 377-acre ranch in the hills of Pomona and commissioned the building of Kellogg House. The Kellogg family no longer own the property. It was donated to the University of California in 1932 and then later acquired by the State of California and became California Polytechnic, a university in its own right now. The house is part of the university grounds.
A few days ago I stopped by for a tour of this house. From the center of campus there is a short drive along a winding road. Mr. Kellogg obviously wanted a commanding view of the valley and ranch below. The house was designed by Myron Hunt. He was the architect who designed the Rose Bowl and Huntington Memorial Hospital where my daughter was born. Nothing like make a personal connection! The house is one story and feels somewhat boxy yet airy. Surely that’s because of all the windows.
Kellogg House is divided into several rooms, so one never gets the feeling that the house is large. To the contrary, it seems livable, almost cozy. The doorways tend to be low because Mr. Kellogg was a short man. I was told he was about 5′ 2″. In addition to the windows seen above, there are several porches, including enclosed sleeping porches off the main bedrooms. That must have been nice when the weather was warm, and California can indeed be warm in the winter.
One enters the house from the drive. This entrance isn’t nearly as impressive as the veranda seen above. Still the entry hall is pleasant and a welcoming arrangement of flowers give it a burst of color.I did learn that Mr. Kellogg was very much afraid of earthquakes. I can understand that, being from Michigan myself. We don’t have many earthquakes back there. As a precaution he had the walls made a foot and a half thick! You can see some of the wide walls in the photo above. Look at the doorways to either side of the fireplace.
One of the most popular rooms for visitors is the kitchen. The house is still in use as an event venue and the kitchen is fully functional. But what attracts visitors is the collection of Kellogg’s products inside the kitchen cabinets. This image is just a small corner of the many that were on display.
This house was built in the mid-1920s. It was the time of silent movies. Film stars like Rudolf Valentino and Clara Bow used to drive out to visit the Kellogg family. There were other celebrities as well including Ronald Reagan. It was a restful place far from the turmoil of Hollywood. It seems hard to picture it now. Los Angeles has grown so much that all this area has become just part of the greater metropolis. I used to drive over Kellogg Hill every day on my way to work. Yet once, not that long ago, William Kellogg lived here, entertained his friends and oversaw his Arabian horse ranch.