A History of Healdsburg Seventh-day Adventist Church
By Doc Ritz
Healdsburg has a long and rich history within the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The only city with more of our church's history is Battle Creek, Michigan. Much of Healdsburg's early church history includes J. N. Loughborough, the first Seventh-day Adventist minister in California.
In July of 1859, Merritt G. Kellogg, the first Seventh-day Adventist to arrive in California, reached San Francisco where he immediately began sharing his beliefs. He later sold his own home so that he could appear in person at the sixth session of the General Conference in May of 1868. There, he made a personal plea for a missionary to come to the far-off field of California.
Two men, J.N. Loughborough and O.T. Bordeau, accepted this call. They held their first meeting in Petaluma on August 13, 1868. Then they moved on to Windsor, Piner, and Santa Rosa. In June of 1869 they pitched their tent in Healdsburg. On October 30, 1869, they founded a church of twenty-eight members which still stands on Center Street. The Santa Rosa Church was established twenty-nine days later.
J. N. Loughborough was the pastor of the first two Seventh-day Adventist churches in Healdsburg, the one on Center Street and later the Beehive (so called because of its encircling porches.) He was also the assistant pastor of the 600 member Healdsburg College Church on the corner of Fitch and Matheson, founded in 1882.
Alonzo Baker, church historian, was raised in Healdsburg by his older sister Alma Baker McKibben. When Alonzo was about twelve years old, he was stoking the fire in the furnace of the big church along with a friend, Tom Grant. The two boys were making considerable noise. Elder Loughborough came in and scolded them for making so much noise. Twenty-seven years later, just before Elder Loughborough died, he sent both Alonzo Baker and Tom Grant a letter asking for their forgiveness for scolding them. He didn't want anything to stand in his way for salvation. He truly was a man of God and Healdsburg owes much to him.