Our Eureka Church History
From the beginning the Eureka Adventist church had had a church school for their children. Even at the church at 6th & M Streets there was a building behind the church, which was used for the elementary school.
When the congregation moved to the new church on E Street, just south of Harris, the south side of the church was partitioned off for use as the school. (Note the picture of the church under the bell in the foyer.)
By 1917 the enrollment at the school was about 25 students. The teachers who had taught there since the move to the new church were Louisa Wood, Jessie Hicks, Melvina Fox and Pearl Stone. The pastor, J. Adams Stephens and the members realized that the area used for the school was becoming too cramped. So some of the local brethren walked out to the end of F Street, and there among the stumps and redwoods, marked out a site for the future Humboldt Academy.
The first building to be erected was at the south end of the property. It was 2 stories high and was used for the school for about 6 years, from 1918 to 1924. Two new teachers were added, Victor Wolfkill and Miss Irma Young. The enrollment by this time stood at 36 students.
The next building to be erected was the Administration building, just to the north of the first building. In this new building were classrooms, a library, and a chapel. The first building was turned into a home for the boys, and was called “South Hall.” The 2-story house just to the north of the Administration building was the girls’ home, and was called “North Hall.”
In 1927 it was decided to make a basement under the Administration building for use as the dining room and kitchen. As one student related the process, she stated, “They had a couple of big horses and a scraper to dig it with.” It served very well through all the years the school was there. There were Saturday night entertainments, Home & School functions, student programs, even recess on rainy days.
In 1928 the Normal building was erected, which was to the east and behind the other buildings, which faced on F Street. It was a 2-story building used for many years for the elementary students. It is the only one of the original academy buildings which no longer exists. It was torn down in the 1960’s. There was a large playground connected to this building.
A carpenter shop, store and a laundry were next to be added to the campus - later a
print shop and a clinic across F Street near Spruce. By 1930 the school had leased a farm and chicken ranch out near where College of the Redwoods is today.
The enrollment was at 123 students. The teachers had increased in number to 11, namely, Principal, Lawrence Stump, his wife, Irene Stump, and Lawrence’s brother, Alfred Stump, Gladys Sims, Daisy Glassford, Mayme Jenecke, Blanche Palmer, Edith Wall, Rollin Axtell, Neva Sandborn, and Elder F. G. Young.
Lawrence Stump was Principal from 1926 to 1930. He and Irene had two young daughters, Betty and Lois. When the Stump family left Eureka they went to the Philippine Islands to enter into mission service. A few years later Betty and Lois came back to the States to obtain further education.
When World War II broke out, both Lawrence and Irene were taken prisoner by the Japanese. When the war was over, they were released along with many other Americans. One of their first stops back in the United States was Eureka.
In 1955 their daughter, Betty, with her husband, Clyde (Bailey) and their 2 children came to Eureka where Clyde worked for the Humboldt County Health Department as the Health Educator. Betty once said that her mother was so nearly starved to death in the prison camp, that during the rest of her life she felt that she could never get enough to eat.
Stumps’ daughter, Lois, married an Adventist minister and evangelist, Wieland Henry.
As most of you know, by the 1930’s our country had entered a depression, and this event affected Humboldt Academy in a negative way. The young men students, under the supervision of some of the teachers, had built homes in the area, and sold them, thus earning their tuition. Some of these homes are on the west side of F Street, one block south of Harris Street: 3005, 3015, 3122, and 3132 F Street. There is also one at 368 Spruce, and 4088 D Street. When the depression hit, many people in Eureka lost their jobs, including the families who had bought the homes built by Humboldt Academy.
The titles to these homes were held by the Northern California Conference, so when the payments failed to come in, the Conference was forced to repossess the properties. The prices went down and when they were re-sold, value was lost. The boarding students gradually left Humboldt Academy, leaving only the students who lived in or near Eureka.
As the enrollment decreased over the next several years, many of the teachers left also. But the school did not close until the Spring of 1968, when the Eureka students joined with the students in McKinleyville at Scheppler school.