Life Sketches of Ellen G. White


Putting Up the First Buildings

For four months the sawmill and the carpenters made very good progress. The ladies’ dormitory was nearly completed, and the foundation pillars for the Dining Hall were being laid. According to the architect's plans, this was to be a one-story structure, eighty by twenty-six feet in size, for the accommodation of dining- and serving-rooms, pantry, kitchen, and storerooms. But the school board, fearing that a third building could not be erected soon, planned to add a second story, one end of which, left unfinished, could be used for a time as a chapel, while the remaining portion could be made to accommodate a dozen boys with sleeping quarters. LS 364.2

When the work on this building was about two thirds done, the treasurer reported that the funds were exhausted, and that the work must move slowly. But the time was nearing when the school was to be opened, and the friends of the enterprise felt that unpreparedness to care properly for those who should come would be disastrous. “The school must open on the date advertised,” Mrs. White insisted, when told of the difficulties surrounding the school board. To this the builders replied, “It is impossible; it cannot be done.” LS 365.1

There remained one resource,—the united and unselfish cooperation of all in a supreme effort to bring about that which seemed so utterly impossible. Mrs. White determined to appeal direct to the people. “We appointed a meeting for Sunday morning at six o'clock, and called the church together,” she afterward wrote of the experiences of the weeks that followed. “We laid the situation before the brethren and sisters, and called for donated labor. Thirty men and women offered themselves for work; and although it was hard for them to spare the time, a strong company continued at work day after day, till the buildings were completed, cleaned, and furnished, ready to be used at the day set for the opening of the school.” LS 365.2

At the time appointed, April 28, 1897, the school was opened, with Elder and Mrs. S. N. Haskell and Prof. and Mrs. H. C. Lacey as teachers. On the first day, there were only ten students. When the word went abroad that the school had actually opened and begun work, others came; and a month later, when Prof. and Mrs. C. B. Hughes came to join the teaching force, there were nearly thirty students in attendance. As the term advanced, and the character of the instruction given was told in the churches, others made great efforts to join them, and before the close of the term there were sixty students in all. About forty of these were accommodated in the school home. LS 365.3