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Ellen G. White: The Early Elmshaven Years: 1900-1905 (vol. 5) - Contents
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    Arrival in Washington

    Ellen White was delighted to have Elder Daniells come into the car and greet them and conduct them out through the station into the city of Washington. The station was the one in which President Garfield had been shot not long before.5BIO 322.5

    It was nearly noon, and the party looked forward to a little change in the rather monotonous six-day dietary program.5BIO 322.6

    Elder Daniells escorted Ellen White and the party to a carriage, a two-seated surrey with a canopy top, and a large noble-looking horse named Charlie, very gentle and safe. Ellen White spoke of the promise that she would have the use of this horse and carriage while she was in Washington. She felt this was a great favor.5BIO 322.7

    Elder Daniells drove the visitors first past the nearby temporary General Conference headquarters at 222 North Capitol Street, and then over to the Memorial church at 12th and M streets to see the building for which Ellen White had helped to raise funds. Then he drove the seven miles out to Takoma Park to the Carroll Manor House, which had been rented for Mrs. White's use. When they arrived, it was still full of people cleaning, repairing, painting, and furnishing, but a good dinner of tomato soup, hot boiled potatoes, and greens was ready.5BIO 323.1

    Ellen White, of course, was eager to see the property that had been purchased. She had heard it described and had written about the work needed to be done there. As soon as dinner was finished, Elder Daniells, leaving Clarence Crisler and Willie White to tend to the baggage, hitched up Charlie again and took Ellen White, Sara McEnterfer, and Maggie Hare the half mile to see the site proposed for the college and the Sanitarium. Construction was to begin in a few days. Work had been held up some time for negotiations with the Takoma Park town council over the removal of a sewage disposal plant that stood near the property.5BIO 323.2

    Seeing the land, Ellen White declared that the location “could not be bettered.” She added, “That which is most valuable of all is the clear, beautiful stream which flows right through the land.”— Ibid.5BIO 323.3

    In another letter she stated: 5BIO 323.4

    The location that has been secured for our school and sanitarium is all that could be desired. The land resembles representations that have been presented before me by the Lord. It is well adapted for the purpose for which it is to be used.... The atmosphere is pure, and the water is pure. A beautiful stream runs right through our land from north to south. This stream is a treasure more valuable than gold or silver. The building sites are upon fine elevations, with excellent drainage.—Letter 153, 1904.

    She was well pleased, too, with her new living quarters. This would be her home for several months. The eighteen-room house was a three-story building on about ten acres of land, and was built on the highest rise of ground in the area. The house was built shortly before the Civil War by Maj. Gen. Samuel Sprigg Carroll. Willie White described it as “big, roomy, magnificent, and clumsy” (23 WCW, p. 854). After the war, Grant, Sherman, and McKinley often visited there.5BIO 323.5

    On the first and second floors, on the north side, were two large rooms, sixteen by twenty-four feet. Ellen White occupied the second-floor room, with Sara and Maggie nearby. Describing her bedroom, she said:5BIO 324.1

    I have a nice, comfortable room, almost as large as my office room at home. The room has four large windows, and is on the second floor. It has in it two bureaus, a washstand, a center table, several chairs, and a bed.—Letter 157, 1904.5BIO 324.2

    Willie and Clarence each had rooms on the third floor, and there Clarence Crisler had his office. On the first floor was a small sitting room, a large dining room with a kitchen and pantry, and the large room directly beneath Ellen White's bedroom. Willie White used this for his office. Committee meetings were frequently held there. Willie thought the house an excellent one for hot weather, since the ceilings were twelve feet high and there were verandas on three sides.5BIO 324.3

    This year the season had been a bit slow. Washington was having its first warm days, and the trees were just beginning to put on their greenery. The buds on the lilac bushes were beginning to swell and soon they were in full bloom, filling the air with their fragrance. The cherry trees, which usually blossom in early April, were in full bloom (Letter 159, 1904).5BIO 324.4

    But on this property there was no place for a vegetable garden where sweet corn and tomatoes and such things could be grown, as they had at Elmshaven. She missed these and also some of the comforts of the Elmshaven home.5BIO 324.5

    Sara McEnterfer, who had been appointed cook, had a difficult time. She found the chimney was bad, the stove was worse, and the fuel was green jack pine soaked by three days of rain, which Willie described as “‘worsest’ of all” (23 WCW, p. 853). They found that the chimney was clogged by an old stovepipe that years earlier had been inserted on the second floor to provide a heating system.5BIO 324.6

    The horse and carriage that Ellen White had described so enthusiastically on the day of her arrival was a great blessing to them, but there were some problems. Charlie weighed about 1,400 pounds and held his head so high that the end of his nose was as high as Willie's head, so he had difficulty trying to harness the horse. Although described as kind and intelligent, Charlie hated the trains that occasionally passed on the Baltimore and Ohio tracks less than a mile away.5BIO 324.7

    There were two important benefits to Ellen White's being in Washington at this time. First, her willingness to come, stay, and send out her letters and manuscripts with a Washington dateline added authority and prestige to the new Washington headquarters. This brought stability to the cause, as Adventists everywhere would turn their eyes eastward from Battle Creek. Second, construction was about to begin on the college buildings—the boys’ dormitory was to be the first. She was intensely interested and counseled that “every part of the buildings is to bear witness that we realize that there is before us a great, unworked missionary field, and that the truth is to be established in many places.”—Letter 83, 1904. There was to be no show or needless display.5BIO 325.1

    The Lord's messenger urged: 5BIO 325.2

    The buildings that you erect must be solid and well constructed. No haphazard work is to be done. The buildings are to be thoroughly presentable, but no extravagance is to be seen. We are not to make it possible for worldlings to say that we do not believe what we preach—that the end of all things is at hand.— Ibid.

    Construction work was entrusted to an Adventist builder, A. S. Baird. The builders discovered that they could make their own large, solid concrete blocks, which would make a dry building. Sand and stone from the Sligo Creek could be used in the construction.5BIO 325.3

    Ellen White took time to tour Takoma Park with Sara and to look over the tract of land straddling the District line that the brethren were negotiating to purchase from Mr. Thornton for the General Conference and the Review headquarters. As she described Takoma Park, she said:5BIO 325.4

    A large part of the township is a natural forest. The houses are not small, and crowded closely together, but roomy and comfortable. They are surrounded by thrifty, second-growth pines, oaks, maples, and other beautiful trees.5BIO 325.5

    The owners of these houses are mostly businessmen, many of them clerks in the government offices in Washington. They go to the city daily, returning in the evening to their quiet homes. ... It seems as if Takoma Park had been specially prepared for us, and that it has been waiting to be occupied by our institutions and their workers.—Letter 153, 1904.5BIO 326.1

    In another communication she observed that “there is no saloon in the town. Not one of the members of the Town Council drinks liquor, smokes or chews tobacco, or uses profane language.”—Letter 155, 1904. And then she exclaimed:5BIO 326.2

    This place must now be worked. The situation here fills me with hope and courage. We know that the Lord desires us now to go forward as speedily as possible with the work before us.— Ibid.5BIO 326.3

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