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


Chapter 29—Glendale, a Sanitarium Near Los Angeles

At Glendale, Elder J. A. Burden was leading out in the establishment of a second sanitarium in southern California. He was the manager of the St. Helena Sanitarium when Ellen White returned from Australia in late 1900. Shortly, however, he responded to a call to Australia to help lead out in the establishment of institutions there. 5BIO 372.1

Dr. Daniel Kress was in charge of the church's Australian medical work. His wife, also a physician, worked by his side. The Kresses had some strong opinions as to how the medical work of Seventh-day Adventists should be conducted, and it seems that this was not quite the perspective that the Burdens entertained. There was some friction, and in the third year of his service in Australia Ellen White wrote to Elder Burden that although she did not have any special light on the question, he could, if he felt his work in Australia was done, be used in southern California (Letter 252, 1903). 5BIO 372.2

The Burdens returned to the States in February, 1904. He picked up the words from Ellen White's pen that “a sanitarium should be established near Los Angeles” and “it is the expressed will of God that this shall be done.”—Letter 211, 1904. To Burden, this was a challenge. He knew that she had also written: 5BIO 372.3

I have been unable to sleep after half past eleven at night. Many things, in figures and symbols, are passing before me. There are sanitariums in running order near Los Angeles.... As in the vision of the night I saw the grounds, I said, “O ye of little faith! You have lost time.”—Manuscript 152, 1901. 5BIO 372.4

On April 26, 1904, two days after her arrival in Washington, D.C., she declared: 5BIO 373.1

Light has been given me that a sanitarium should be established near Los Angeles, in some rural district. For years the need of such an institution has been kept before our people in southern California. Had the brethren there heeded the warnings given by the Lord, to guard them from making mistakes, they would not now be tied up as they are. But they have not followed the instruction given. They have not gone forward in faith to establish a sanitarium near Los Angeles.—Letter 147, 1904. 5BIO 373.2

On June 30, while in Tennessee visiting Edson, she wrote that it was “the expressed will of God” that a sanitarium should be established near Los Angeles. She observed: 5BIO 373.3

Why this work should be delayed from year to year is a great mystery.... Had the light given by God been followed, this institution might now be in running order, exerting a strong influence for good. Arrangements could have been made to utilize for sanitarium work buildings already erected.—Letter 211, 1904. 5BIO 373.4

In response to her urging, Burden looked around for likely properties in southern California that could be secured at a reasonable sum. In the late 1880s many establishments had been built for tourists and health resorts, but the businesses had failed. 5BIO 373.5

The building that now seemed most likely to provide what was needed was the castlelike Glendale Hotel, built in 1886 and situated on a five-acre tract of land bordered by dirt roads. At that time Glendale was a country settlement of five hundred inhabitants, eight miles from Los Angeles. 5BIO 373.6

A seventy-five room, unfurnished structure that had cost $60,000 was available. Because of the business failures in southern California, it had never been used as a hotel. It served for four years as an Episcopal school for girls; then in 1901 and 1902, before the Glendale High School was built, it was used as a public high school. 5BIO 373.7

On the property were shade trees and orchards. Around it were chicken ranches and a scattering of modest homes. In 1904 a real-estate developer, Leslie C. Brand, controlled the property. The asking price was $26,000, which Burden knew was far out of his reach. 5BIO 374.1

As he sat in his buggy looking over the hotel grounds, Burden decided that if he could buy it for $15,000 he would regard this as a sign of divine approval. Taking several of his brethren with him, he approached Mr. Brand and explained, “‘Our money will have to come from church members. Can you help us by reducing the price?’” 5BIO 374.2

Brand thought a moment and then asked, “‘How does $12,500 sound?’” Burden responded that it sounded fine. He took out a $20 bill and gave it to Brand as a deposit on the purchase (Johns and Utt, eds., The Vision Bold, p. 163). 5BIO 374.3

At the conference headquarters Burden was dealing with the same administrators who had hesitated so long about investing in the Paradise Valley Sanitarium. Mention has already been made of the small memberships and heavy indebtedness of the conference. The conference lacked even the thousand dollars needed for a down payment on the Glendale property. The president of the Pacific Union Conference had made it very clear to the local conference administration that there must be a stop to increasing indebtedness, and there must be a turnaround in financial affairs of the Southern California Conference. 5BIO 374.4

Burden took the matter to the constituency at the camp meeting in September, 1904, and to his disappointment, they rejected the purchase for lack of money. 5BIO 374.5

At last Elder Burden was able to enlist the help of Elder Clarence Santee, the Conference president. The two men decided to advance the money for the down payment out of their own pockets. Just at this time Sister White sent a message urging in strong terms the purchase of the property, and Elder Santee read it to the conference delegates in session. 5BIO 374.6

“Why is this work delayed?” she asked. She also persuaded two of the church members to advance a thousand dollars each toward the purchase of the institution. The delegates rallied and pledged $5,200 to buy the Glendale Hotel. A cash payment of $4,500 was made, and a three-year mortgage was agreed upon for the balance. A board of trustees was set up with Elder Santee as chairman, which took steps at once to develop the institution. 5BIO 374.7