Our Eureka Church History
A Decision to Relocate
During the years of 1903 and 1904 several ministers were asked to come to Eureka to serve as pastor, but there seemed to be a reluctance to come. Some of the men who were asked were R. W. Miller, who was asked 3 times to come to Eureka. He was finally allowed to go to Southern California. In November 1903 Professor G. W. Rine was asked to serve in Eureka, but the next month the Conference rescinded their request. No reason given.
In February 1904 Brother A. Brorsen was asked to go to Humboldt County at $13.00 per week. He evidently came for awhile, but by June of that year the Conference voted for him to return to Humboldt County. He was still here in November when he was joined by Elder Fero and Professor H. G. Lucas, and they held meetings in Eureka. They reported that we were in great need of a revival, and that the brethren in Humboldt want a minister sent there--to remain!
By 1907 the Adventist church members had decided that their church building at 6th and M Streets was too large for the congregation. In 1889 the membership was 55; 1894 it was 82; in 1898 it had grown to 109; and by 1903 it had dropped to 91. It was then decided to sell the church at 6th and M Streets and look for a more desirable location on which to build a new church and school. The members were offered $3,600.00 by one Joseph Barca, which they accepted, and the transaction was notarized on the 12th of December, 1907. Mr. Barca turned the old church building into a paint shop. The building remained for many years, but is gone now, there being a parking lot there for the Eureka City Hall.
The members chose as their new location a swampy lot on E Street, near Harris, which was “way out in the country.” The pastor at this time was Albert J. Osborne. The members did the building, as they had done at 6th and M. The new church had a steeple with a bell in it, and a room attached for the church school. They had also had a church school at 6th and M, in a small building behind the church.
Toward the end of July 1908 the Conference sent ministers to Eureka to hold a camp meeting. The location chosen was on Dollison Street between C and Williams. Dr. Maria L. Edwards of the St. Helena Sanitarium was present and at her health lectures she endeavored to expose the evils of patent medicines. By the use of gas mantles she could produce a bright light from the alcohol generated by boiling the various medicines of the day. One “dose” was sufficient to make a bright light for several minutes.
At the entrance to the camp was a book tent with a fine display of books, tracts, and periodicals, conducted by the California Bible House of Mt. View. Across the encampment on the other side, was a vegetarian restaurant where meals were served 3 times a day.
A woman who lived at Elk River had bought the book “The Great Controversy” from a colporteur the year before, and had practically read herself into the Adventist Church. So she could hear more of their beliefs, she, with her 4 young children, decided to attend camp meeting. So that she would be able to attend as many meetings as possible, she prepared some of the food they would need before leaving home, including a good quantity of fried chicken.
The family arrived at camp, and the first lecture on the first night was on the subject of health reform and the benefits of a vegetarian diet.
This woman had strong convictions and took her religion seriously. When the meeting was over, she got her camp shovel, went out behind her tent, dug a hole, and buried all that fried chicken! She did join the Adventist church, remained a faithful member until she died in 1950, and never ate another bite of meat.
Camp meeting was to have ended on Sunday, August 2nd, but by special request of the members in the area, a camp workers institute was held for the next nine days. The Conference people who stayed on were Elder Stephen N. Haskell, President of the California/Nevada Conference, his wife, Mary, A. J. S. Bourdeau, and Mrs. Carrie King, secretary of the Sabbath School Department of the Conference.
Elder Haskell was a real Adventist pioneer, having been converted in 1852, when only 19 years of age, by Joseph Bates. Since that time he had filled many different posts for the denomination, including foreign mission service to Australia, New Zealand, and Africa.
During this week of the camp workers institute, the members were hurriedly working to finish the new church so they could have the dedication before the Conference brethren should leave the area.
And on Sabbath, August 8, the church held their first meeting in their new church, and Elder Haskell preached the dedicatory sermon at E Street, near Harris.
The church school in the side room of the church was a successful venture. Some of the early teachers were Jessie Hicks, Melvina Fox, Pearl Stone, Victor Wolfkill and Irma Young.
By 1909, the year after the opening of the new church, the membership stood at 125.