Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environmental Analysis

Reader 1

Char Miller

Reader 2

Lance Neckar

Reader 3

John Bohn

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2014 Benjamin C. Hackenberger


Access to water from San Antonio Creek was critical in Claremont’s growth from a small stop on the Santa Fe Railroad to an agricultural powerhouse and an elite college town. While Claremont has sought to distinguish itself from surrounding communities since its founding in 1882, the innovative Pomona Valley Protective Association (PVPA) aligned Claremont with the City of Pomona and its other neighbors in a scheme to conserve the Creek’s resources at the turn of the century. Organized around the discovery of local confined aquifers and the development of a strategy to recharge them with water from the San Antonio Creek, the Association was a contradictory moment of cooperation in an otherwise highly contentious zero-sum game of water rights politics. As conflicts wore on, the PVPA quietly orchestrated the purchase of large tracts of land in the San Antonio Creekbed, where the construction of diversion dams and spreading grounds served dual purposes of water conservation and flood control. As dam building in the Creekbed continued, large tracts of the previously undevelopable Wash were transferred to the aggregate mining institutions that gouged the area’s many gravel pits.

This thesis uses the story of the PVPA and the contemporary example of the Claremont University Consortium Gravel Pit to explore the context of development in the San Antonio Creek Wash. Understanding the political and social contexts of the gravel quarry problem reveals possibilities for a more integrative, conscious, and sustainable approach to improving the former gravel quarries that currently occupy the Wash landscape.



Special thanks to my readers and academic advisers Char Miller, Lance Neckar, and John Bohn as well as the rest of the 5C EA Faculty who have helped and encouraged me to explore the intersection of sustainability and contemporary architectural and urban design. To the amazing librarians at Special Collections at the Honnold-Mudd Library, including Lisa Crane, Western Americana Librarian, and Tanya Cato, both of whom were instrumental in finding the maps that made this thesis possible. Thanks also to Mark von Wodke, Eva King PZ ’15, and various other members of the Claremont community who so graciously agreed to talk with me about the recent history of the CUC Pit.

I also owe an incredible amount of what I’ve learned at Pomona to the community of Fellows and Students at the Writing Center—including Stephanie Liu-Rojas for keeping me on track with work, school, and remembering to have fun when it felt like research was consuming my life. Special to Pam Bromley, Head of the Writing Center and Acting Head of College Writing, who has served as a mentor, professor, and adviser to me over the last two and a half years I’ve worked at the Writing Center. Thanks also to my parents for giving me academic and personal tips along the way, and for supporting me throughout the process despite my occasional disregard of this advice. Thanks to my suitemates, Michael Beam and Kevin Burke, for listening to various disconnected anecdotes about the history of Claremont and the San Antonio Wash. Finally, thanks for Nikki Chang for being there for me at close to every step of the way in our joint exploration of architecture and urban design for sustainability.