Harmony Grove Spiritualist Community

Harmony Grove Spiritualist Community

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

In the late nineteenth century, Mary Nulton held development circles in her home in southern California. She was told by spirit to organize a Camp Meeting. As a result, Harmony Grove Spiritualist Camp Meeting Association was formed and incorporated in 1896. Its purpose was “to further the teachings of Spiritualism as a religion, philosophy, and science.” The first meeting was held on July 4, 1896.

The following year S. D. Nulton leased a three-acre portion of his ranch to the Association. The only access to the site was by a road from Escondido. This road followed the southeast bank of Escondido Creek. Water for the site was obtained from a well, with a windmill and storage tank at the creek’s edge. In 1916–1917, heavy rains washed back the creek bank causing the windmill and storage tank to topple over.

Prior to 1916, a platform was laid down for the Old Chapel. This was composed of movable sections that could be stood on edge for winter storage, and was covered by a canvas roof. Around 1920, a country road was built on the northwest side of the creek and a wooden bridge put in to connect to the camp site. Two years later, an adjoining ten-acre tract was granted to the Association, with the provision that the land be used only for the dissemination of Spiritualism. This land was divided into lots by the Camp Meeting Association, and made available for lease. A dining building and a three-apartment stucco building were erected, as was a Fellowship Hall. The Chapel was given a permanent floor and roof at this time. Bus loads of people flocked to the Grove with as many as 300 arriving for breakfast. Musicians would play for Saturday night social dances and a Lyceum was started. In 1942, the name was changed to Harmony Grove Spiritualist Association. In 1945, before the original 50-year lease was to expire, the Association purchased the original three acres.

In January, 1937, Jeannie Quisquis, daughter of Eloise Quisquis, was the first child born to a resident of the Grove. Physical mediumship became a feature of Harmony Grove, with demonstrations by such famous mediums as the Bangs Sisters, Maude Kline, and others. Today there are approximately thirty homes on the site although the dining hall and original stucco buildings are no longer standing.

Sources:

Harmony Grove Spiritualist Association: 2004 Summer Program. Escondido: HGSA 2004
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