Loma Linda

Image of the Southern Pacific Station, Mound City c. 1900
Southern Pacific Station, Mound City c. 1900

When the railroads finally came to the San Bernardino Valley, it was their aim to increase rail travel. Tourist hotels sprang up all over Southern California, promoted and encouraged by the railroad. One of these developments was Mound City, hard by the Southern Pacific Railway, which pushed through to Colton in 1875. In the early 1880's, developers built cottages, shops and stores on more than 200 acres surrounding a wooded knoll. On this knoll, they erected a plush hotel at a cost of $40,000, and named the whole project Mound City. However, because of the competition of nearby Redlands; an intermittent drought; and finally, a financial depression, the entire project was abandoned.

In the late 1890's, a group of 40 Los Angeles businessmen and 80 physicians bought the Mound City Hotel for $15,000.00 and refurbished it as a health resort and convalescent home. The name they selected, "Loma Linda", is Spanish for "Hill Beautiful." In all, they invested a total of $155,000 - but this project, too, was destined for failure. In 1904 the resort was closed, and remained so for over a year. It was nicknamed "Lonesome Linda".

Image of Loma Linda Sanitarium, 1905
Loma Linda Sanitarium, 1905

About this time, Elder J. A. Burden, an official of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, was looking for a place to expand Adventist training centers for their missionary work. When he reported to a lay leader of their denomination, Mrs. Ellen G. White, about the vacant property at Loma Linda, Mrs. White was immediately interested. Burden purchased the hotel, five cottages, a recreation hall and a farmhouse and equipment, plus 76 acres of land for $40,000 - which was later discounted to $38,900 cash. In a prophetic statement, Mrs. White decreed that "Not one foot of that land is to be sold to raise money",1 and admonished her followers to buy more and more land.

Image of the Loma Linda dedication, 1906
Loma Linda dedication, 1906

Mrs. White participated in the dedication ceremonies April 15, 1906. A school of nursing had already been established in 1905, and a School of Medicine followed in 1909.

Loma Linda is now the site of Loma Linda University, and a huge new University Medical Center is now under construction, with completion scheduled for 1967. The Adventists are still actively engaged in expanding their educational program.

1 Burden, J.A., "Story of Loma Linda" pamphlet, College Press, Loma Linda, Calif., c. 1940.

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