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History of Lanterman Developmental Center

The Center, which opened in 1927 at its present location in Pomona, consists of 9 client residences, 1 acute hospital unit; a variety of training and work sites; a Vocational Training Center; and recreation facilities, including playgrounds, camp, carousel, track, and a ballpark. Other entities housed on campus include a Research and Staff Training Building, a Child Day Care Center for community and staff members' children, Credit Union, and the California Conservation Corps.

Located in Southern California's vibrant San Gabriel Valley Region, our Center borders the cities of Pomona, Diamond Bar, and Walnut while resting beneath Mt. "Baldy's" seasonally snowcapped peak. Lanterman operates 24-hours a day, seven days a week, in order to serve citizens of California who face the challenges of developmental disabilities.

It's 85 year history of our name parallels the tremendous shift in perception as to how the people of California understand their fellow citizens who live at Lanterman.

Pacific Colony - Thinking "feeblemindedness" to be a menace, the California Legislature created Pacific Colony as a Southern California facility to detain the "feebleminded". People with developmental disabilities were "inmates", needing to be locked away from society forever because of their "insanity". The present location welcomed it's first 27 "inmates", on May 2, 1927. At that time, only the city of Pomona existed in the local area.

By 1946, over 1,900 people crowed into a facility that had only grown large enough to hold 1,512 people. With World War II finally over, the state allocated more money for expansion and improvements.

Pacific State Hospital - The name change in 1953 marked a statewide shift in understanding that had begun in the 1930's. No longer were residents of Pacific considered "inmates" but "patients" who were sick and needing treatment to be made well. The new use of the socio-psychological team, social workers, psychologist, and parents and innovative practices such as in-service training for nurses provided some of the pratical evidence of this shift. The era also marked the start of a movement toward helping people with developmental disabilities prepare for living in the broader community.

Frank D. Lanterman State Hospital and Developmental Center - Championing the cause of people with developmental disabilities throughout his career, State Assemblyman Frank D. Lanterman ensured their civil rights and guaranteed them life-long services through the creation of the Lanterman Act. He also initiated the network of community resources known as the Regional Centers. In honor of his dedication, Pacific changed it's name in 1979.

Lanterman Developmental Center - People with developmental disabilities are now perceived as individuals with special needs rather than "'patients," and referred to as "clients". By dropping "State Hospital" during the nineteen-eighties, Developmental Centers throughout California adopted this philosophy and promoted the fact that all clients receive progressive habilitation training.

Last Updated: 3/2/2018