In 1914, architect Walter Robb Wilder of Wilder and White (Harry Keith not Stanford) Architect designed the schoolhouse, Pig Knoll for school district #1.
Wilder had won a contest to design all state office buildings in Olympia, Washington. (For more information, see “Washington‘s State Capital” at the Rockland Historical Society Library). Wilder was a resident and had a home called “Wilderness” on Haverstraw Road opposite what is now Wilder Road. Other buildings in the area designed by Mr. Wilder are the Egyptian House off Mark Drive in Wesley Hills and Cynthia Brown‘s house on Viola Road.
The building was turned over to the Community of Pomona when it was no longer needed by School District #1. The Ramapo Community Nursery School held morning and afternoon classes in the building as did Madame Alexander‘s School of Ballet. The Community held square dances, parties, and chaperoned dances for teenagers. Village of Pomona Board Meetings were held in the building until the Village acquired their own Village Hall on Ladentown Road. The building was abandoned and at one point was a private residence for a short time.
Community residents served on the Board of Directors. As members aged or moved away it was difficult to replace them. Maintenance and vandalism became a problem. The Board found themselves paying expenses for the building out of their own pockets. The building was taken over by the County of Rockland for non-payment of taxes and was due to be sold at auction.
Under Mayor Melvin Klingher, the Village of Pomona acquired the building for payment of back taxes. Klingher envisioned a Community and History Center. Meetings were held with residents to determine how the facility could be best utilized. The name of the building was changed to the Pomona Cultural Center and has housed many exhibits.
The current director, Tjok Gde Arsa Artha, has turned art into a delight of the senses. He produces imaginative artistic displays and exhibits. He brings arts to the community by adding his own unique touch. In addition to the art exhibits, there are poetry readings, performance arts and music. Festivities at openings include sharing of food together.
After become the Director, Gde managed to inject new life and energy into the Cultural Center. With his enthusiasm and inventiveness Gde has themed and orchestrated imaginative art shows by drawing on both local artists and those of the greater community. His shows continue to delight Pomona and other Rockland residents in the schoolhouse on Route 306.
Contributed by Eloise Litman, Village Historian