Pomona College’s Harwood Court – aka Eastland School from “The Facts of Life”Feb 8th, 2012 | By Lindsay | Category: TV Locations
Well over six months ago, my good friend Mikey, from the Mike the Fanboy website, asked if I would like to do some stalking with him of Harwood Court, the Pomona College dormitory which stood in for the fictional Eastland School, attended by Blair Warner (Lisa Whelchel), Dorothy ‘Tootie’ Ramsey (Kim Fields), Natalie Green (Mindy Cohn), and Joanne ‘Jo” Polniaczek (Nancy McKeon), in the 1980’s television series The Facts of Life. My answer, of course, was a resounding “YES!” Because both of our schedules have been a bit hectic as of late, though, we were not able to make it out there until this past Sunday afternoon. Needless to say, we were both pretty excited about the whole adventure when it finally came to pass and, a few days before we headed to Claremont, Mikey sent me an email which stated, “Wow, this is just like going scuba diving with Jacques Cousteau, or playing football with Tim Tebow, or getting a pants-dropping lesson from Marky Mark! Well, maybe not that last one!” Um, my stalking skills being compared to the scuba skills of Jacques Cousteau?!?! LOVE IT!
This location was actually found by Robert, of the Movie Locations and More website, way back in the Summer of 2010. Earlier that year, Robert had read online that the exterior of Eastland School was a building on the Pomona College campus in Claremont, but because Google Street View of that area is not particularly clear, he was unable to track down the exact structure used via the internet. So when he came to Los Angeles for a stalking visit a few months later, he drove around the 140-acre campus, screen shot in hand, and, amazingly enough, was able to track down the building fairly quickly. Thank you, Robert! In reality, Eastland School is the Harwood Court residential hall – a 68,000-square-foot unisex dormitory that was built in 1921 and currently houses 170 students. The structure, which was originally an all-female dorm, was completely renovated by the Wheeler & Wheeler architectural firm in 1990. Thankfully though, it still looks much the same as it did onscreen in The Facts of Life.
A few years ago, Mikey had actually purchased one of Molly Ringwald’s costumes from the first season of The Facts of Life, as well as a promotional lunch box from the series that he had signed by none other than Mrs. Edna Garrett (Charlotte Rae) herself, and he brought both items with him on our stalk to add to the fun. On our way there, he mentioned that he thought I might be able to fit into the track jacket portion of Molly’s former costume and, shockingly, he was right! I cannot tell you how nervous I was to be wearing such an amazing piece of television history, while drinking a Starbucks, no less, so I only kept it on long enough to snap a couple of pics.
Molly is pictured wearing one of the track jackets above. So incredibly cool!!
While we were there, a resident happened to walk out of Harwood Court and we stopped her to ask if she would take a photograph of Mikey and me. She obliged and afterwards I inquired if she was aware that her dorm was, in fact, The Facts of Life school. Shockingly, she had not actually been aware, and, even more shockingly, she did not seem to be too impressed by the news. Ah well, I guess not everyone is a stalker.
Harwood Court showed up as the fictional Peekskill, New York-area Eastland School during the opening credits of The Facts of Life’s entire nine-season run.
You can watch the series’ opening credits by clicking above. On an interesting side-note – the show’s insanely-catchy theme song was co-composed by Alan Thicke, aka Jason Seaver, the patriarch of the Seaver family on Growing Pains, and real-life father of R&B singer Robin Thicke.
While doing research before heading out to Pomona College with Mikey on Sunday, I discovered that Harwood Court had also appeared in several other productions. In 1985’s Real Genius, it was featured as the dormitory where Chris Knight (Val Kilmer), Mitch Taylor (Gabriel Jarret), and Jordan (Michelle Meyrink) lived.
And while some of the real-life interior of the building was actually used in the movie . . .
. . . I am fairly certain that the hallway and dorm rooms were sets.
In 1987’s Teen Wolf Too, Harwood Court stood in for the Hamilton College dormitory where Todd Howard (Jason Bateman) lived with his roommate, Stiles (Stuart Franklin).
The back side of the building appeared in the movie’s beyond-words-awful “Do You Love Me” dance sequence.
I believe that the interior scenes were all filmed on a set, though.
In the Season 1 episode of the reality series Top Chef Masters titled “Masters Get Schooled”, the Elimination Challenge, in which professional chefs Michael Schlow, Hubert Keller, Tim Love, and Christopher Lee were required to cook a gourmet meal in a dorm room, was held at Harwood Court.
You can read Mikey’s fab write-up of our The Facts of Life stalk on the Mike the Fanboy website here and you can watch a video Mikey put together of our adventure by clicking above.
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: Harwood Court residence hall, aka Eastland School from The Facts of Life, is located on the campus of Pomona College at 170 East Bonita Avenue in Claremont.