History – Quaker Center Chronology 1949-2012

1920 – Clyde and Lucile Manley acquire the parcel which later becomes Quaker Center. Subsequently, they erect the buildings known as the Manley House (office) and the Cold House (the residence of Edith Cold, Mrs. Manley’s sister, and now the Sojourners’ Cottage) and plant the orchard and the garden which are still productive.

1934 – For $10, Clyde Manley sells an easement through his property to a neighbor who owns what later becomes the Hawkins parcel (see 1985).

June 22, 1949 – Lucile Manley signs an agreement with Josephine Duveneck to operate, through AFSC (American Friends Service Committee), an inter-racial boys camp — first called Camp Ben Lomond and later Camp Unalayee — in the area which is now the Redwood Lodge.

1949 – Lucile Manley gives her approximately 51 acres of land to the College Park Association of Friends (now Quarterly Meeting) to be “perpetually dedicated and used for the enjoyment, betterment, education and welfare of mankind.” Mrs. Manley and her sister, Edith Cold, retain a life estate and continue to live in their homes.

Apr. 30, 1950 – A 15-year lease is signed with Sequoia Seminar, giving them rent-free use of the part of the property above the orchard in exchange for whatever buildings they erect during that time.

1950 – The main dining hail is built, designed by Herbert Kreinkamp (San Jose Friends Meeting) with Sequoia contributing 70% of the labor and 90% of the cost, the balance to be provided by Friends. Cost — $9,600.

1951 – Sequoia builds their “Main Lodge,” now the Casa de Luz, for $5,000.

1955 – Sequoia builds the caretaker’s residence, shop and the warehouse (later the Art Center/Haven).

1959 – Camp Unalayee moves from Quaker Center to the Trinity Alps.

1961 – Sequoia offers to buy the property, believing Friends are not really interested.

AFSC forms an ad-hoc committee consisting of Vern James, Welvin Stroud, and Herb Foster, who circulate a questionnaire among Friends to determine how the property might be developed and used by them. Friends begin to use Quaker Center for occasional picnics, camping and meetings.

Early 1960’s – Sequoia builds Sunrise Lodge, with a parking lot and connecting road to the Main Lodge, in the NW corner of the Manley parcel.

Early 1960’s – AFSC re-forms the Ben Lomond Committee to manage its interest in Quaker Center.

July 2, 1965 – First consistent minutes of regular meetings of the BL Committee begin.

1966 – A Master Plan for Quaker Center is prepared by the San Francisco architectural firm of Osborne and Stewart.

The Executive Committee of AFSC decides to not return the property to the Manley family, but asks the BL Committee to “move forward as quickly as practicable with the formation of an independent Friends’ corporation to own and operate the Ben Lomond property.” At the same meeting, a new 30-year lease is drawn up with Sequoia Seminar through October 31, 1995, by which they would relinquish the dining hail in 1968, the caretaker’s house within two years notice, and continue to use those parts of the property above these buildings, i.e. the storage shed, Main Lodge, and Sunrise Lodge until 1995.

1968 – Friends expand the “base camp” to become the Hostel (now the Redwood Lodge), by adding the dining room to the original 1950 kitchen, and building the small bunkhouse nearby. First rentals of QC begin, using the Hostel.

Friends receive the main dining room from Sequoia Seminar.

Friends raise $10,000 to match a grant from the Friendly Fellowship Foundation, enabling them to begin the two banks of bedrooms next to the main dining hail. This complex was to become known as the Lodge and then the Orchard Lodge.

Construction is done by Jim MacRae, son-in-law of Paul and Virginia Brink, as his alternative service to the draft.

June 4, 1968 – Formal request by AFSC is made to Sequoia Seminar to vacate the caretaker’s house and shop by June 10, 1970.

Sep. 9, 1969 – AFSC approves the formation of the Ben Lomond Property Board of Trustees, whose first members were Philips Patton, Arnold True, and Paul Brink, “to hold title and all other legal rights to the Ben Lomond real Property.”

Nov. 23, 1969 – Lucile Manley dies at her daughter’s home in Adelphi, Maryland.

Mar. 4, 1970 – The BL Committee gives formal notice to Sequoia Seminar that they wish to terminate the 1966 agreement. Mutual lawsuits are subsequently filed, but are not brought to trial.

June 1970 – Sequoia Seminar moves from the caretaker’s house and shop.

August 1970 – Earle and Akie Reynolds become the first resident hosts at Quaker Center, arriving from Japan on the yacht Phoenix.

Early 1970s – Earle Reynolds blazes and names most of the still-used trails at QC.

Early 1970’s – BL Committee and Sequoia Seminar drop legal proceedings and begin informal negotiations.

June 1973 – Robert Piper and Lonnie Harvey of Santa Cruz Meeting begin work as resident hosts.

Jan. 1974 – A “100-year snowfall” causes enough fallen timber to create a probable later fire hazard, and the Shirley Gross Memorial Fund is used to pay for its removal.

Aug. 1974 – The upper bunkhouse at the Hostel is completed, using the volunteer labor of Tim Jackins and the co-counseling community.

Aug. 1976 – Vern and Maggie Reynolds of Philadelphia begin work as resident hosts.

Nov. 11, 1976 – Edith Cold being hospitalized, the Manley life estate passes to the Ben Lomond Board of Trustees; the two residences become available for use by Friends.

1977 – Quaker Center receives $30,000 from the Pentler Estate through the Palo Alto Friends Meeting.

July 11, 1977 A road agreement is recorded with Sequoia Seminar, which governs respective easements over one another’s property.

Aug. 1977 – An adjacent parcel of about 29 acres is purchased from Samuel A. Balovich for $50,000, using funds from the Pentler estate grant. Payment of a significant portion of that amount is forgiven upon Mr. Balovich’s death less than a year later.

Sep. 12, 1977 – The final settlement with Sequoia Seminar is recorded, by which they purchase for $40,000 about three acres in the NW corner of the Manley parcel, including Sunrise Lodge and the adjacent parking lot and road.

Sep. 1977 – The first resident cook, Kerry Hamilton, begins work at QC.

1978 – Work on the fire protection system begins.

Oct. 1978 – Zona Gray begins work as QC resident cook.

Apr. 1979 – Mark Thomas is hired as the first Property Manager of QC; he and his family finish renovating and move into the Manley House.

May 19, 1979 – College Park Quarterly Meeting decides to accept devolvement of Quaker Center from AFSC. Organizing meetings of the Ben Lomond Quaker Center Association begin.

1979 – A second $30,000 is received from the Pentler Estate.

July 1979 – Dee Steele begins work as resident host.

1980 – The first bathroom is installed at Casa de Luz.

Aug. 1980 – Wendy Schnelker begins work as resident cook.

July 1981 – Work is begun to renovate the warehouse between the Casa and the caretaker’s residence into the Art Center.

Nov. 5, 1981 – The Ben Lomond Quaker Center Association is incorporated in the state of California.

Jan. 4, 1982 – A ‘100-year rainfall” washes out Hubbard Gulch Road in four places, leaving QC inaccessible except through Sequoia Seminar, and closing all operation for over three months.

Jan. 18, 1982 – Nicholas Paul Thomas, son of Mark and Beth, becomes the first child known to be born at Quaker Center.

Apr. 1982 – QC re-opens for business on a limited basis.

Aug. 22, 1982 – John and Betty deValcourt (son Joel) begin work as resident hosts.

Aug. 26, 1982 – Quaker Center passes from AFSC to the Association with cash assets of $2817

December 1982 – QC begins holding an annual year-end retreat.

1983 – Betty Barnhart of Santa Cruz Meeting prepares a booklet to inaugurate the Nature Trail, along whose length she identifies 31 significant plant species in the Quaker Center ecosystem.

Spring 1983 – The sufficiently-completed Art Center is leased during the week for the spring term by Tall Trees School of Ben Lomond, after losing its previous facility in the flood of the preceding year.

July 1983 – The Art Center is formally dedicated at the first annual Art and the Spirit workshop.

August 1983 – Dee Steele, former Program Director, dies of cancer at her home in Seattle.

Sep. 1983 – At the annual meeting of the BLQCA, John deValcourt is named the first Director of QC, and Betty deValcourt the first Program Director.

Jan. 1984 – Leon Kaplan begins work as resident Property Manager.

Apr. 1984 – The Meditation Cottage is built with the help of John Woolman School students and funds provided by a gift of Lois Crozier Hogle. It is dedicated at the annual session of College Park Quarterly Meeting at Quaker Center in May.

Aug. 1984 – The Hostel is renovated at the annual Labor Day Workcamp.

Nov. 1984 – The Association decides that part-time staff may no longer reside full-time at QC. Accordingly, QC will no longer have a resident cook.

Late 1984 – With the water supply from Marshall Creek diminishing, Quaker Center digs its first well, just beside the road above the Redwood Circle. Water is found at a depth of 300 feet.

Early 1985 – In solidarity with the sanctuary movement, the Board establishes Quaker Center as a sanctuary for Central American refugees. Shortly after this, a Salvadoran couple with two children takes up residence in the small bunkhouse for several weeks until they are able to find more permanent housing.

July 1985 – Bob Horner and Julia Beaman begin sharing the job of maintenance manager.

July 1985 – A 3.25 acre parcel on the SE corner of the Manley property is acquired from Glenn and Evelyn Hawkins, upon payment of their geology costs of $3600, after development of an easement through QC to this property becomes too difficult and costly as a result of 1982 flood-related damages.

Aug. 1985 – At the annual Labor Day Workcamp, the Cold House, no longer occupied by a resident cook, is renovated for use as a Sojourner’s Cottage for individuals and families.

Feb. 1986 – On Valentine’s Day, an entire hillside collapses onto Hubbard Gulch Road, requiring the Marshall Massey weekend, sponsored by Friends in Unity with Nature and with over 50 attenders, to come and go through Sequoia Seminar.

1986 – An infiltration gallery is constructed high on the Balovich parcel under the supervision of Jack Schultz to bring drinking water to the developed part of QC without pumping costs. The search for this site reveals the existence of a previously undiscovered small waterfall a few hundred feet downstream. Michael Turner and Young Friends blaze a trail to the waterfall from the Balovich road.

Summer 1986 – Julia Beaman assumes the duties of administrator and Don Murray of resident host while the deValcourts take their first extended vacation from QC.

Aug. 1986 – The main dining room is renovated during the Labor Day Workcamp.

Feb. 1987 – On the last day of the Religion and Psychology Conference, the bridge at the bottom of Hubbard Gulch Road is washed out in a major rainstorm, requiring exit through Sequoia Seminar.

1987 – The maintenance manager’s residence is renovated to prepare its separation into two adjacent “apartments”. Although a new bedroom is created on the rear porch, the expected kitchen is not built, and the intended separation does not occur.

The entire drinking water supply piping system, built up in many accretions over the years using galvanized pipe, is replaced with PVC under the supervision of Bob Horner.

Aug. 1987 – George and Grace Malley begin work as Director and Program Director of QC, moving from New Jersey with their daughters Rebecca and Anna.

Aug. 1987 – The Casa de Luz exterior is painted and walls doubled and insulated between the large angled windows during the Labor Day Workcamp.

Nov. 1987 – The Sterling Group blazes the lower portion of a new Waterfall Trail which follows the creek.

January 1988 – The first formal QC “office” is created in the old back porch of the Manley House. The rest of the house continues its use as the residence of the directors and their family.

Feb. 1988 – Jerry Perry begins work as the maintenance manager of Quaker Center and renovates the upper residence.

Feb. 1988 – The first computer is purchased for Quaker Center.

Apr. 1988 – The exterior of the caretaker’s house is painted by the volunteer Sterling Group.

Apr. 1988 – John Woolman School volunteers clear the old garden area, and blaze a new trail in the southeast part of the property, named the Reynolds Trail after Earle and Akie.

Aug. 1988 – The Manley House is re-roofed and the exterior painted during Labor Day Workcamp.

Feb. 1989 – The Art Center-to-Hostel trail is blazed by George Malley, who also constructs steps at appropriate places.

March 1989 – Mark Thomas and family return to QC, where Mark begins a second term as Maintenance Manager.

April 1989 – John Woolman School volunteers set chicken coop fence posts, paint cabinet interiors of Lodge kitchen, and work on trails.

Sep. 1989 – The Sojourners Cottage is renovated at the annual workcamp. The children’s play structure is completed below the orchard.

Oct. 1989 – The Loma Prieta earthquake knocks the stone chimney off of the Manley house. There is no other damage to QC.

Sep. 1990 – The small Hostel bunkhouse is renovated at the annual Workcamp by dividing it into two separate rooms. A rear entrance is created to the back room.

Sep. 10, 1990 – Margaret Appleby Thomas is born at Quaker Center to Beth and Mark.

Dec. 10, 1990 – John Paul Malley is born at Quaker Center to Grace and George.

Sep. 1991 – The Hostel dining room is renovated at the annual Workcamp.

1992 – The Lodge becomes formally renamed as the Orchard Lodge and the Hostel as the Redwood Lodge.


July 1992- Chad Williams becomes the Maintenance Manager and moves to Quaker Center with his 13 year-old daughter Rhea.

Aug. 1992 – Akie Reynolds becomes the interim Director of Quaker Center when the Malleys leave to take up a position as directors of Sequoia Seminar.

Nov. 3, 1992 – Traci and Walter Hjelt Sullivan become the new co-Directors and move to Quaker Center with their daughters Rebecca, age 3, and Grace, eight months.

Mar. 1993 – John Woolman School volunteers begin demolition of the bathroom next to room 8 of the Orchard Lodge as part of a renovation to create a fully wheelchair-accessible bathroom. The bathroom is completed in June.

June 1993 – Quaker Center celebrates the 25th anniversary of Quaker-sponsored programs on the property. Among the many special guests is Virginia Rusinak, daughter of Clyde and Lucile Manley, who tells the story of moving to this property in the 1920s.

June 1994 – First week-long summer camping program for Friends entering 5th – 7th grade, directed at Quaker Center by Mimi and Alan Edgar of Santa Cruz Meeting and the Quaker Center staff.

1995- Akie Reynolds, first resident host at Quaker Center with her husband Earle from 1970-1973, dies after a long struggle with cancer. Earle then moves from the house just below QC on Hubbard Gulch Road to a Quaker retirement home in southern California.

October 1995 – David Forbes becomes Quaker Center’s new maintenance manager.

March 1996 – The Board approves a new mission statement for QC.

November 1996 – Traci and Walter Sullivan lead a meeting retreat for Honolulu Monthly Meeting as an experiment for taking Quaker Center programs on the road.

January 1997 – After an eighteen month process, Board approves a comprehensive long range plan for Quaker Center.

Spring 1997 – After careful Board consideration, Quaker Center harvests 30% of mature redwoods and Douglas firs on 12 acres of the Balovich parcel. Proceeds are used for road repairs and to fund construction of a new Directors’ home.

April 1997 – Woolman students move the playground to a new site to make room for the new Directors’ home.

July 1997 – After three years of increasing success in its annual camping program, Quaker Center begins a second week each summer: a service camp for friends entering 8th – 10th grade.

August 1997 – Ground is broken for the construction of a new Directors’ residence. “Strengthening the Center,” Quaker Center’s first capital campaign is announced. Virginia Rusinak returns for the ground-breaking ceremony to tell stories of growing up on the property.

March 1998 – Traci, Walter, Rebecca and Grace Sullivan move into the new residence. Work begins on renovating the Manley House to expand the office and create an intern’s apartment.

March 1998 – Chris Ravndal conducts the first official Quaker Center on the Road program, teaching “Centering Prayer” at Claremont Meeting, La Jolla Meeting, and Santa Barbara Meeting. Before returning home, Chris travels to Honolulu to lead a meeting retreat for friends in Hawaii.

April 1998 – Woolman students demolish the damaged chimney in the Manley House, creating an outside entrance for an intern’s apartment.

August 1998 – Carrie Glasby and Kathy Karhnak arrive as Quaker Center’s first interns.

September 1998 – Manley House interior renovations are completed. Carrie and Kathy move into the apartment. The office moves from the back porch into the main room. Space is created for receiving the public and for a future library/reading room.

August 1999 – Stephen Myers arrives to be the third intern under the new internship program.

August 29th, 1999 – Quaker Center celebrates the 50th anniversary of the donation of the original land from Clyde and Lucile Manley. Entertainment includes blessings and dances by Patrick Orosco and the local Ohlone community; memories from Virginia Rusinak, Marge Leavitt and others; a benefit dinner; and a concert featuring Carin Anderson of San Francisco Meeting and her group “Two Good Hands”, and the Jewish women’s a capella group “Vocolot.”

2000: Quaker Center becomes connected to the WorldWideWeb with its own website: www.quakercenter.org

The Strengthening the Center capital campaign reaches its goal of $250,000.

A Senior Camp for 11th and 12th graders opens during the summer as our third camping opportunity for young people.

Quaker Center Maintenance Manager David Forbes marries Heather Elrick in the Redwood Circle.

Walter and Traci Sullivan increase their work load from 1.5 to 2 full-time positions as co-Directors.

Katie Thorsos becomes the 4th Quaker Center intern.

2001: Quaker Center begins to plan seriously for a Redwood Lodge expansion, but an expected Fall start does not materialize.

Samara Rivett of Australia becomes the 5th Quaker Center intern.

The Alternatives to Violence Project begins to offer its 3-part training series at Quaker Center.

2002: Laura Kummerer completes the term of Quaker Center intern for the Spring and Summer, followed by Cherish Wilcox in the Fall, the seventh person to hold the position.

Alma Angelina Elrick Forbes is born May 3 to Heather and David.

The first CORE (COastal Redwood Environmental) School pilot project, a non-residential program for 5-12 year-olds, is held in May.

To move forward with the rebuilding of the Redwood Lodge, QC forms the New Initiative Advisory Committee to map out a capital campaign; and the New Initiative Working Group to develop subsidy policies for small-budget, community-based groups who would use the new facility.

The volunteer workcamp constructs a new deck at the Casa de Luz.

2003: Upgraded by the addition of a shower and a Murphy bed so as to be available for personal retreats, the Art Center is reborn as the Haven.

Sara Wolcott, our 8th intern, is the first one from our own Quarterly Meeting.

The volunteer workcamp constructs a new retaining wall beside the shop.

2004: Following government regulations, QC adds a new drinking water tank to allow longer contact between the water and the chlorine.

Alden Elrick Forbes is born to Heather and David on June 10.

The 36 year-old carpet in half the Orchard Lodge bedrooms is replaced by wood-substitute flooring.

Eva Miller of Orange Grove Meeting becomes Quaker Center’s 9th intern.

The workcamp adds a deck to the side of the Maintenance Manager’s house.

Having raised about 2/3 of the projected total costs, QC begins construction of the Redwood Lodge kitchen/dining room in August.

The labyrinth is completed and dedicated in October thanks to the generosity and hands-on work of Tom Davis of Santa Cruz Meeting.

Lisa Murphy is hired as the first director of the CORE School.

2005: Eva Miller completes an update of our earlier Quaker Leadership Directory.

Bo Forsyth, long-time Quaker Center workcamp volunteer and kids’ camp counselor, dies of cancer.

DSL high-speed internet connection becomes available at Quaker Center.

The Redwood Lodge is completed on schedule in April and is dedicated at the close of Quarterly Meeting on May 15.

The Haven becomes wheelchair-accessible with the addition of a concrete ramp down the slope from the road.

Ethan Berleman becomes the 10th Quaker Center intern.

Our neighbor of over 50 years – Sequoia Seminar – is sold to an individual who converts it to a for-profit retreat center called Raindance Retreat.

Traci Hjelt Sullivan announces that she is applying for the position of Conference Coordinator at FGC, and the Board begins to design a search process for the possible replacement of the Sullivans.

The remaining floors in the Orchard Lodge bedrooms, and the one in the dining room, are replaced.

Lenore Diane of Santa Cruz Meeting begins work as a part-time, weekly housekeeper.

The CORE School program is laid down.

2006: Traci Hjelt Sullivan accepts the job of FGC Conference Coordinator, to start May 4, and Quaker Center begins the search for her and Walter’s successors. Nan Louise Wolfe of Santa Cruz is hired as a part-time, interim bookkeeper to assume the finance parts of Traci’s job.

Gretta and Jacob Stone of Doylestown, PA are hired as the next co-Directors of Quaker Center.

On May 3, a child is born two weeks early to a couple who are attending a week-long program at Quaker Center. A midwife is called to help with the delivery, which takes place in the Haven.

Anne Bleile-Kratzer becomes camp director for the two summer camps, and then, in August, becomes the temporary associate director of Quaker Center for the fall semester until the Stones’ arrival.

Walter Sullivan is hired for a faculty position at Pendle Hill starting September 1st.

Gretta Stone begins her work as co-director in September, and Jacob Stone joins her in December.

2007: Thanks to being selected as a New Leaf Markets Community Day honoree, Quaker Center receives 5% of their one day receipts, which total $3260.

Quaker Center begins contracting out for its bookkeeping services.

Tristan Wilson begins work as the 11th Quaker Center intern.

Because of the contribution its camping program makes to the next generation of Friends, Quaker Center receives a $2000 grant from the PYM for camping scholarships.

Work begins on a new exterior bath with shower next to the Casa de Luz.

During the annual workcamp, a deck is built onto the upper bunkhouse at the Redwood Lodge.

2008: In the fall, Dominic Taylor becomes the 12th Quaker Center intern. He is the first one who is married, and moves into the intern’s apartment with his wife Malina.

During the work camp, the deck outside the Haven is rebuilt and construction starts on a new laundry and archive storage room in the old shed just outside the office.

2009: On Feb.2 Kian Luke Taylor is born to Malina and Dominic, who agrees to remain as the intern for the balance of the year.

To afford more privacy to the intern, a half-bath is installed on the porch to the rear of the office.

2010: David Embry (who is later known as Anand Solest) becomes the 13th Quaker Center intern.

Quaker Center receives a bequest of half the estate of former Santa Cruz Meeting and Ben Lomond Committee member Margaret Schaeffer.

Jacob and Gretta announce their intention to retire and a search for new directors begins.

Lisa Holland begins work as the part-time Quaker Center housekeeper.

A manual detailing Quaker Center’s maintenance systems is created and an administrative manual is brought up-to-date.

2011: Bob and Kathy Runyan are hired to replace the Stones as Quaker Center’s co-directors, and begin work in March.

Aaron Wheeler becomes the 14th and last Quaker Center intern. Because of legal restrictions surrounding this unpaid position, this aspect of Quaker Center’s personnel history ends.

2012: As a replacement for the intern position, and making use of the intern’s apartment for this new purpose, Quaker Center inaugurates a Friend-in-residence program for periods varying from six weeks to six months.

The culvert which carries Marshall Creek beneath Hubbard Gulch Road near the bottom of the exit road is finally repaired after many years of planning, with help from county, state and federal agencies and a grant of $129,000 from the Resource Conservation District.

John deValcourt, director from 1982-1987, begins writing a short history of the early years of Quaker Center (before devolvement in 1982). The history is available on the QC website.