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

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    Ellen White Describes the Property

    Now we will turn to Ellen White for a description of the property:5BIO 363.5

    Here was a well-constructed, three-story building of about fifty rooms, with broad verandas, standing upon a pleasant rise of ground, and overlooking a beautiful valley. Many of the rooms are large and airy.... Besides the main building, there is a good stable, and also a six-room cottage, which can be fitted up for helpers.

    The property is conveniently located, being less than seven miles from San Diego, and about a mile from the National City post office. There are twenty-two acres of land. About one half of this had once been planted to fruit trees, but during the long drought that this country has suffered, all the trees died except the ornamental trees and shrubbery around the buildings, and about seventy olive trees on the terraces.... I never saw a building offered for sale that was better adapted for sanitarium work. If this place were fixed up, it would look just like places that have been shown me by the Lord.— Ibid., 8, 9.5BIO 364.1

    Ellen White had borrowed her $2,000 share of the investment from the St. Helena Bank at 8 percent interest. Mrs. Gotzian had provided the other $2,000. The two women “clasped hands in an agreement to unite in helping to purchase the Potts Sanitarium (Letter 97, 1904). With funds that were put into the enterprise by Prof. E. S. Ballenger and his parents, they paid $300 in back taxes and used $800 to buy eight acres of needed land adjoining the property. There were other expenses that brought the total cost of the property to $5,300. Of course, the two women and the Ballenger family had no intention of keeping the property as theirs. Nor did they have any intention of making it a matter of financial speculation. They purchased it to hold it until the business could be organized and the conference could take control.5BIO 364.2

    But with the property in their hands, the next step was to find someone to manage and develop it. For fifteen years it had been unoccupied, and there was a good deal to be done. Ellen White speaks of the next step:5BIO 364.3

    Having secured the place, we needed a manager, and we found one ready for the work. Brother E. R. Palmer and his wife, who had spent the winter in Arizona, were in San Diego.... They were willing to take charge of the work of fitting up the sanitarium building for use.—The Review and Herald, March 16, 1905; (see Special Testimonies, Series B 14:10, 11).5BIO 364.4

    The Palmers, whom Ellen White had known in Australia, arrived to take charge on April 18, 1904, the day Ellen White departed Elmshaven for her extended trip to Washington, D.C. From long range she watched with eagerness the reports of the developments in San Diego. Elder Palmer arranged to have the building wired for electricity and had it cleaned up and painted outside. Then he began to assemble furniture for the new Sanitarium.5BIO 364.5

    He discovered that wealthy businessmen who went to California for the winter would rent a place and buy good-quality furniture for their use. When they wished to return to their homes in the East, the furniture was made available at very reasonable prices. Thus Palmer was able to secure furniture, some of it bird's-eye maple, for furnishing at least a portion of the new institution.5BIO 365.1

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