The History of the College Heights Lemon Packing House

The City of Claremont was an agricultural champion. It's growers founded the state's first agricultural cooperative to process fruit, pack it with beautiful commercial art labels and market it throughout the world. Claremont's bounty had followers all across the country and even reached Queen Victoria's dinner table in 1893.

The largest co-op in Claremont was the College Heights Orange and Lemon Association and it built this packing house in 1922. For decades it was one of Claremont's biggest employers and a major force in the City's economy. However, after the construction of the freeways, orchards in Claremont were replaced with suburban housing.In 1972, College Heights closed its doors and the Packing House suffered a long period of decline.

The City of Claremont eventually purchased the building to save it, and hometown developer Arteco Partners (led by Jerry Tessier and the Tessier family) completed the award-winning restoration effort in 2007. Historic features were preserved, such as the three-story tall sawtooth skylights, while improvements were made for a vibrant mix of lofts, offices, galleries, boutiques, and entertainment venues. Once again, the Claremont Packing House is a centerpiece of community life.

To learn more about the history of the Packing House, visit the atrium and its beautiful history displays, courtesy of Claremont Heritage. You can also follow Huell Howser’s footsteps as he explores the building in this episode from California's Gold and PBS.