The history of Quaker Center is not divided neatly into decades, as the titles to these chapters suggest. Nevertheless, there are noticeable differences between these time periods. For example, one thing that is striking about the 1950s is that Friends did not yet use this property they had been given, but made arrangements with others who had the means to begin immediately. In the 1960s, we see Friends starting to wake up to the potential of the property and begin actively building and working here. Friends also began to sense that they might someday have exclusive use of Quaker Center. But during this second decade, no Friends were yet living or working here full-time and, in particular, there was no paid staff. This quickly changed at the beginning of the 1970s with the arrival of the first full-time employees. From then on, Quaker Center began more and more to resemble the place we recognize today. How permanent residents came to be here seemed to happen quite fortuitously.
Sometime during 1969, Earle and Akie Reynolds, living in Hiroshima, read Virginia Brink’s 1968 article “Pendle Hill West” in Friends Journal and then wrote to the BLC asking if they might spend two weeks at Quaker Center being of service. Earle had previously joined the Society of Friends in Honolulu when he was on trial there for having sailed his boat Phoenix into the Pacific nuclear test zone in an act of civil disobedience. As a consequence of this trial and the surrounding publicity, he was about to be deported from Japan and the two of them were looking for another place to live. (Ed. Earle Reynolds’ life and work are documented in several books and in the film “Voyage of the Phoenix.”. “Earle Reynolds” and “Phoenix of Hiroshima” both have extensive Wikipedia pages, with bibliographies.)
Having received a positive response, Earle and Akie Reynolds sailed from Japan in the Phoenix early in 1970, and became the first full-time staff at Quaker Center after their planned two-weeks of volunteer service was extended to three years of employment. At the 2/15/70 meeting of the BLC a letter was read from Earle stating that he and Akie were about to set sail across the Pacific and would arrive in Santa Cruz sometime in August.
As 1970 began, only Jim and Paula MacRae were living at Quaker Center while Jim continued to work on building the two lodge dormitories and Paula helped with hospitality. We get the impression that BLC members were not themselves spending a lot of time there during those years, because one of them wrote to the committee clerk asking that they hold committee meetings and workdays on site, for better planning and decision making. [ Cal Lack to Paul Brink, 1/13/70]
Meanwhile, the struggle between Quaker Center and Sequoia Seminar continued. The new Ben Lomond Property Board of Trustees (BT) had recently upped the ante by asking Sequoia to vacate the Casa and Sunrise lodges by the end of 1970, 25 years ahead of the time set by the 1966 agreement. The response was predictable. “Sequoia does not recognize any existing right on the part of your Board of Trustees to have possession of the lodges referred to in your letter before 10/31/95. Sequoia does not wish to negotiate a new temporary agreement along the lines suggested in your letter.”
[Leon Carley to Phil Patton , 3/10/70]
One thing clearly negotiated in the 1966 agreement was that Friends would move into the Sequoia caretaker’s house near the new lodge dormitories on June 1, 1970. About two months before that date, the BLC noticed that it had not been occupied for some time and concluded that it had been abandoned ahead of the move-in date. Without checking with Sequoia, the BLC clerk asked the MacRaes to occupy the house immediately. Sequoia’s caretaker returned some time later to find the driveway blocked. This unfortunate episode considerably strained relations between the two parties. Sequoia’s response revealed their upset: “Your letter of May 8 with its lame attempt to express a sense of shock and justification for deliberately breaking into property where you had no right to be points up the facts that your action was not only extralegal but was also utterly inconsistent with all that the AFSC stands for.”
[Leon Carley to Paul Brink, 5/15/70]
Somehow both parties got past this misunderstanding, for the minutes of the BLC for 6/7/70 reported simply that “we are now occupying the caretaker’s house”. These minutes also noted that the expenses for the two lodge buildings had been $24,728 up to that date and that both of them were ready for use at the end of May. Operating costs for Quaker Center in the budget presented to AFSC for that year were estimated to be $10,000.
Even though she was not technically an employee, Paula MacRae as a resident host had welcomed 30 groups at Quaker Center between September 1969 and June 1970. All of these groups had slept near the Hostel, although they may have used the larger upper dining room and kitchen. To distinguish the new upper facilities now available, the BLC decided to name them the “Conference Area” and to set their first rate schedule at $30/weekend for dining room use, plus $6 for a room; camping was $1. The Hostel area rates were $20/weekend plus $1/person/day. Only the small bunkhouse provided indoor sleeping at that site, and only with sleeping bags on the floor. There were as yet no beds inside at the Hostel.
Completion of the new lodge buildings seemed to give the BLC the confidence to consider further development. One of the earlier recommendations of the Osborne and Stewart site plan of the mid-1960s had been to spend as much money on the land as on buildings. A step in this direction is reflected in a letter BLC member William Gross wrote to Cal Lack on 6/9/70 suggesting a study of Quaker Center on the lines of an Asilomar State Park Resource Management Study. Such a study would involve setting aside separate ecological areas for restoration and maintenance as well as a system of trails. “I will repeat the decision of the BLC that…we put the money into land, its planning, and the ecological balance.… Since we expect to set the stage for many years in the future, (shall I say many centuries?) it seems to me well worth the effort to see that we do it well.” While there is no evidence that such a study was approved or implemented, there was a meeting that year with a state forester with the intent to establish a forest care plan
Perhaps the one single thing that did lead, almost immediately, to greater emphasis on the land was having persons living and working on it full-time. By the late summer of 1970, Akie and Earle Reynolds became the first to do so as employees. Planning to stay only a few weeks, they settled into the small bunkhouse near the Hostel (the caretaker’s house was still occupied by the MacRaes). Among the first land-oriented jobs Earle remembers that he did (see his memoir “The Center Was Quaker”, available in the Quaker Center library) was the stone work in the creek near the Hostel upper bunkhouse (this stone work creates a small waterfall in the winter when the creek is running, and remains in place today) and the stonework which lines the two sides of Hubbard Gulch Road at it narrowest point as it makes its final turn towards the Quaker Center office.
The Reynolds’ proposed few weeks of volunteer service must have been satisfactory to all, for the BLC minutes of 9/13/70 reported that “We are trying to find a small house nearby to rent for them. The Reynolds are happy to be at Ben Lomond and would like to stay for a year. The committee approved Akie and Earle being with us for a year, subject to review next September. The committee assumed responsibility for the Reynolds’ housing and utility costs for one year with the understanding that we will pay a salary within a year if the arrangement is mutually satisfactory…. Jim MacRae will finish his time with Selective Service by the end of this year, and he and Paula will leave the property by Jan. 1.”
While the Reynolds had agreed to accept only housing in exchange for their first year of employment, after a few months they requested to be on the AFSC health plan. Russ Jorgensen, the NCRO Executive Secretary, responded on behalf of AFSC that in order for this to happen the Reynolds would have to be staff members of AFSC. They were then approved by the BLC and the AFSC Exec C for temporary staff status.
By December, the MacRaes had moved out of the caretaker’s house near the conference area, where they had been staying, and the Reynolds had moved in. From then until 1983 the caretaker’s house would be known as the “Resident Hosts’ house.” (Ed. From 1983 until the present, it has been the Maintenance Manager’s house.) A doorbell was wired from the nearby dining hall so that guests could ring the hosts to announce their arrival.
Although he would no longer be living on the property, Jim MacRae agreed to build eight permanent bunks attached to the walls of the small Hostel bunkhouse, thus providing the first indoor sleeping accommodations in that lower facility.
At the end of 1970, a total of $26,930 had been spent on the two lodges, and Quaker Center was $500 in the black. Although there had been over 50 rentals of the property by other groups, another year would pass before the development of what we now call Quaker Center programs. A limit of one use per month by any one group was approved by the BLC, with a preference given to Friends’ groups. The need for some kind of dormitory adjacent to the Hostel was becoming increasingly necessary.
Accompanying this new activity and direction given to Quaker Center by the arrival of the Reynolds and the opening of the Conference Area, Sequoia Seminar continued to exercise its right to occupy and use the Casa de Luz for its sessions. In fact, at that time, they were the Casa’s only user. Sometime in late 1970 they seemed to become more aware that AFSC was no longer the party representing Friends at Quaker Center, but that it was a Board of Trustees, and they reflected on this change with some discomfort. “After having dealt with the AFSC on a basis of mutual trust over a considerable period of years, it is distressing to be involved in the formalities that have developed….As it is the AFSC with which Sequoia has contracted, and as it is AFSC which has conveyed the property to the BT, it appears that AFSC is in a position to assure Sequoia it will or will not honor the contract of Nov. 21, 1966.”
[Leon Carley to AFSC, 12/17/70]
The discomfort Sequoia expressed in that letter was matched by the perception on the part of the BLC that Sequoia had also changed in its aims and activities, and in a direction hostile to that of Friends. Based on this perception, the BLC seemed ready to take whatever steps were necessary, even legal action, to accomplish complete separation. This conclusion seems to have already been arrived at by the time Sequoia got a letter announcing that “We (Ed. the BLC) feel it will be necessary to submit this matter to the courts, seeking a Declaratory Judgment as to your rights, if any, in the Ben Lomond AFSC property. We will plan to file such a suit for declaratory relief early in 1971, unless some mutually satisfactory agreement as to your early termination of the use of the property has been found in the meantime.” [Phil Patton to Leon Carley, 12/23/70]
In the same letter, Phil reiterated that the BLC would be happy to meet with them, but if it did not hear from them by Dec. 31, it would be necessary to submit the matter to the courts.
Sequoia Seminar had never expressed any desire to move from its negotiated and approved position leasing the northwest corner buildings through 1995, but was able to offer this alternative to the BLC’s suggestion that it terminate its use entirely. “Of course, one solution which would dispose with finality of the entire matter would be the purchase by Sequoia for a fair price of the relatively small strip of land adjacent to Sequoia’s other property upon which the two meeting rooms which Sequoia built now stand.” [Leon Carley to Phil Patton, 1/7/71] It is not immediately clear today whether or not this “small strip of land” included the Casa de Luz. What was clear, from the beginning of the dispute with Sequoia, was that the BLC had united on the position that selling any of the Manley parcel would violate the terms of her 1949 Trust.
In another unrelated legal matter, the BT approved in January a quit claim for the Manley estate with the provision that Edith Cold, still living in the Manley House, lease it back for $1/year until her death. The BT’s reason was that this would facilitate the transfer of that part of the Manley estate upon her death and save an estimated $10,000 in estate taxes. Reflecting on this transaction in its later minutes, the AFSC Exec C noted that the BT had come to this decision without its approval. Remarkably, the BT, believing it had been given authority to make such decisions about the land, would also not seek the Exec C approval for initiating the much more weighty lawsuit against Sequoia Seminar.
At its regular meeting of 1/10/71, the BLC approved a recommendation made by the BT to file suit against Sequoia Seminar for declaratory relief. This was accordingly done in Santa Cruz County on 1/12/71 on the following stated grounds:
1. the 1966 contract was not authorized by AFSC, Inc. (i.e. the Philadelphia office), at that time the owners of the land;
2. the contract was without any lawful consideration in that AFSC received no benefit which it did not previously hold;
3. the contract was not enforceable in that it lacked mutuality of obligation. Sequoia was given the absolute right to terminate the contract at any time, with no right of termination under any circumstances by the owner of the land.
The consequences of this filing would play out, as will be outlined here later, over the next several years and not reach a mutually satisfactory conclusion until 1977.
To explain how things had so quickly moved to the level of a lawsuit, the BLC clerk summarized the situation briefly: “In 1965, Sequoia Seminar would not vacate the property. This is the sort of problem Friends are hard pressed to deal with, and after three years of extreme pressure placed upon members of the BLC, a long-term (30-year) agreement was approved by the Exec C on 11/21/66, in the hope that we could live as good neighbors with Sequoia. (Ed. Underlined in the report)”
[Paul Brink to AFSC Exec C, 1/18/71]
Responding to the fact that the suit had been filed by the BT without AFSC approval, the clerk said in a letter shortly thereafter: “The other question you brought up…is the matter of some members of the Exec C feeling unhappy about our filing the complaint without first informing the Exec C of such action. Apparently some Exec C members are not aware the BT was set up to deal directly with others concerning the property. In my opinion, the Trustees are empowered to act on their own authority; certainly without authority there is no reason to have title vested in a BT.” [Paul Brink to Russ Jorgensen, 1/26/71]
Relatively new to this hole situation with Sequoia, but now a resident of the property, Earle Reynolds began to take more than a passive role in an attempt to solve the Sequoia problem. He had befriended Bill Burton, the resident Sequoia caretaker, and the two worked together in solving mutual problems. Within a week of the filing of the suit, Earle attended a “listening session” with Harry and Emelia Rathbun on 1/17/71, after which he wrote to the BLC that the Rathbuns “say the end of the first 15-year agreement did not end the right of Sequoia to occupy Quaker premises….” Earle asked them for any specific messages, and they responded: “We wish to have better communications and relations with Quakers.” (Harry Rathbun) “I will go further than that. We will get completely out of your property….We have to solve this. It is Vietnam.” (Emelia Rathbun)
Following the meeting between the Reynolds and the Rathbuns in January, some representatives of Sequoia and Quaker Center met on 3/21/71 (Harry Rathbun, Leon Carley and Wileta Burch for Sequoia, and Olive Mayer, William Gross and Howard Wolcott for Quaker Center). From the notes taken by the recorder we learn that: Sequoia believed that “Josephine Duveneck and others… offered the property to them ad infinitum. Friends had no program in 1950 and Sequoia was doing us a favor by using the land. Harry Rathbun said he felt no gratitude or responsibility to Friends, and that Sequoia had a right to occupy the land for 45 years (from 1950 until 1995). He also said that National Service, still brought up by Friends as an issue between the two parties, was a red herring and not an important part of their program. It was simply a device to bring people in. Harry and Emelia Rathbun denied telling the Reynolds they would be willing to leave the property. They felt Friends were taking advantage of them. They said we had no program, waited until they had built up the property and then wanted to take over.”
From today’s vantage point, reading the comments of one of the BLC members present at this meeting and, between the lines, the feelings they reveal, it is a little more understandable how the BLC could have come to the decision to file a suit. The Sequoia members present (names withheld) were described thus: “Seldom do I meet such characters. N. has a messianic complex which blinds him completely. I can best describe N. as a sanctimonious crook, a very devious person. N. believes that given time, Friends can be converted to their religion.”
In light of the mutual misunderstandings apparent in the above descriptions by both parties, it is not surprising that in June 1971 Sequoia Seminar filed a counter-suit claiming detrimental damage to their reputation and asking for compensation of up to $200,000 for the loss of the facilities whose use had been negotiated and agreed on. In response, the BLC saw three possibilities: try the suit in court, based on the supposition that if we lost we would have to pay only up to $50,000; buy out Sequoia; settle out of court. In the end, the third option prevailed, but only after several more years of back-and-forth wrangling.
The closest that the proceedings with Sequoia came to an actual court appearance occurred on May 18, 1971. On that date the three current members of the Ben Lomond Board of Trustees – Phil Patton, Paul Brink, and Arnold True – together with NCRO Executive Secretary Russ Jorgensen, appeared in the law offices of Sequoia’s attorney to give requested depositions. There is no record of any direct follow-up to this first step. Correspondence between the lawyers for both sides consumed most of the energy over the next several years.
Meanwhile, Earle and Akie Reynolds were finding Quaker Center more and more to their liking. In May 1971, Earle offered the proceeds from the sale of the Phoenix to Quaker Center. He also felt comfortable in voicing his own vision of Quaker Center, which he presented to the BLC that same year in a written proposal. He imagined a small community of three families living on the property as permanent residents. His description of these three families was: 1) a lover, a caretaker; a young Quaker couple or family for maintenance; 2) a host, a guide, a manager; a middle-age Quaker family as business managers; 3) a teacher, a scholar, an older Quaker “guru” as retreat and conference leader.
Earle and Akie had agreed to be here without salary for the first year, receiving only housing. In July, 1971, as their first year in residence neared its end, the BLC, recognizing that they were indeed employees, approved the first formal job description for their position, specifying that it was a one-year appointment. Responsibilities were listed as follows: be present on the land during use by others; provide hospitality to users; collect money; inspect the facilities after use, with the possibility of hiring help if needed; check the water system; landscaping; supervision of volunteers; work with the Program Committee of BLC. The job title was also then changed from “Caretaker” to “Resident Couple”. Together with the job description, the BLC approved its first related personnel policies: that there be no permanent residents on the land, and that staff leadership be rotated (this is stated as in line with AFSC policy). The Reynolds were then approved for an additional year as non-salaried staff. Since Jim MacRae had left, the Reynolds asked for another conscientious objector to live and work on the property. The BLC did not oppose this suggestion, but stated that it was unable to rent a nearby house for any such person.
While the addition of resident staff addressed many concerns about how Quaker Center would be managed, it didn’t seem to take long for this to bring with it what may be described as a protracted struggle with authority at Quaker Center. Who had responsibility to make decisions, and about what? There were now several key inter-related entities at play. AFSC seemed to still hold a primary position. It approved members of the BLC, which was one of its program committees. The resident staff were its employees and were on its health plan. Although the two-year old Board of Trustees now owned title to the property, its members were approved by the AFSC Exec C. The BLC supervised on-site activities and had assumed responsibility for fund-raising, but were usually present on-site only for its committee meetings, which were not always held at Quaker Center. Bookkeeping was done by AFSC in San Francisco but the BLC, since it did all of the fund-raising, asked that there be a reserve account under the control of the BT. And now the resident staff, living on-site every day, were able to see first-hand what needed to be done and began to express the opinion that they should be able to respond in a timely manner, as appropriate, to observed needs.
It has already been noted that the BT had acted independently of AFSC in asserting its authority to file a lawsuit against Sequoia Seminar. The first recorded instance that there was an employer/employee issue with authority came on 8/18/71 in a letter Earle Reynolds wrote to the BLC in which he stated that there were serious differences between him and Akie and the BLC leadership both in general philosophy and in plans for Quaker Center. “Paul and Virginia (Brink) differ somewhat from myself in their general philosophy, and in specific plans and hopes for the future of Quaker Center. These differences…do not reduce the affection and respect we have for each other, but it does make for acrimonious meetings, disharmony…and the makings of a developing feud.” They then announced their intention to withdraw from planning and program aspects of the work and just be caretakers, reversing the recent decision to drop this title to their job. The letter goes on to talk about the four programs planned for 1972 (the first recognizable Quaker Center programs) and recommends that they be under the complete control of the BLC.
Another view of this disagreement came in a report by BLC members Tom Nash and Cal Lack: “A personal problem had arisen between Paul and Earle over Earle’s job at the Center…. The conflict between Paul and Earle was not over Earle’s misunderstanding of the duties of a caretaker…. Earle knows what needs to be done as a caretaker. The conflict arises from differences in priorities on what needs to be done. Paul has been trying to fit Earle into the role of caretaker, primarily that of custodial duties. Earle has been trying to communicate with Paul and members of the committee about relating to people at Quaker Center, more after the role of host, manager, public relations, program leader.”
The conflicts these notes reveal, and the underlying questions of what and how much authority staff was to be given, would arise from time to time throughout the decade between whichever individuals happened to be involved, both on the various supervising committees and on the staff. In the end, the fundamental question of which entities and persons were actually in charge would take this entire decade to be settled, with a final unity reached only in the devolvement of Quaker Center from AFSC in 1982.
This organizational development would eventually come to involve yet another Quaker organization – College Park Quarterly Meeting – whose influence had not really been felt here since it briefly held title to the property in 1949 before AFSC became incorporated in California. A proposal had been made at its fall gathering in 1970 that there be a representative of each Monthly Meeting in the Quarter on the BLC, but this did not seem to go beyond the proposal stage. At the end of the summer of 1971, the Reynolds proposed having CPQM meet that fall at Quaker Center for the first time. The BLC agreed to waive the maximum number of attenders, set at 150, for this one time only. The first CPQM gathering at Quaker Center did occur as proposed, in October 1971, with 50 persons housed indoors, 60 camping outdoors, and the remainder staying somewhere off the property. This first trial run must have been successful enough, because an annual Quarterly gathering has continued until today, although it is now in the spring.
Besides struggling with the proper exercise of authority at Quaker Center, those responsible also wrestled over the years with the relative emphases to be placed on the land and its users. Laments about an imagined opposition between land and people can be found from time to time in committee notes. Following up on the suggestion a year before that there be greater emphasis on the environment, BLC members Tom Nash and Cal Lack in late 1971 reflected thus to the committee: “We have not seen nor understood the nature of the gift of land. We are losing the land and forest from our use of it….The more facilities there are at Quaker Center, the more people will orient themselves to these facilities and the comfort they provide, and the heavier the burden the land will have to carry…. Physical facilities must therefore be limited.” They went on to recommend that “we divorce ourselves from the Quaker Country Club idea and also the idea that we are Pendle Hill West.” While no decision was announced on these recommendations, the two concepts named therein do not appear again at any time.
Recognizing the need for additional labor, and perhaps remembering the work that conscientious objector Jim MacRae had done on the lodge construction, the BLC hired in late 1971 another CO, Les Malone, to work with Earle Reynolds. Since Edith Cold was living in the Manley House, and Joe Correia in her cottage, the only place for Les to stay was in the Apple House, a small 8’x8’ shed just uphill from the Manley House. (Ed. The Apple House was torn down in the 1990s.) This shed, used by the Manleys to store their harvested apples, was built with window-screen on the upper half of all four walls for greater ventilation. A cold-water supply and a propane line were added at some point. It seemed quite primitive and in some disrepair a decade later, but Les Malone must have found it adequate enough, for he stayed there for the better part of a year working with Earle on maintenance.
One of the tasks they addressed together was, as Earle said at the time, the “promise, four years ago, to balance every dollar on construction with a dollar on the land”. The specific manifestation they chose for this was building trails. Although some BLC members apparently felt that trails were not for the land, but for people, Earle disagreed and seemed to prevail because many of the trails we enjoy today at Quaker Center, including their names, were inaugurated by Earle Reynolds in the early 1070s. Earle also commented to the BLC that living on the land brings up the fact that tree trimming may become necessary. This remark suggests that not a great deal of tree trimming had taken place up to that time. A meeting with a forester was announced by the BLC, but there are no records of any recommendations regarding the forest or the trees.
Although no movement was taking place regarding Sequoia Seminar, the disputed relationship with them was always in the background. One conviction the BLC had held from the beginning was its opposition to selling any part of the Manley parcel as a violation of the 1949 trust. Although we do not read of the explanation for their movement away from this position, with no other path clear, however, the BLC seemed suddenly open to the possible sale or exchange of property with Sequoia. They were now mindful that Lucile Manley had died. This may have led to a new willingness to consider such an option. In a letter of 7/14/71 to Sequoia, Phil Patton said: “I have been given complete authority to negotiate for a settlement of the difficulties between the two organizations on any reasonable basis including the sale or swap of portions of the real estate, if necessary.” In order to have a basis for a sale or swap, the BLC hired an appraiser to assess the value of the land and improvements in question in the fall of 1971.
Since the filing of the two countersuits earlier in the year, no meeting between the two parties had taken place. In fact, the only one held in 1971 took place that November. Its focus was outlined by the BLC clerk, who wrote to “…those planning to attend the joint meeting with Sequoia Seminar on Nov. 19, 1971… concerning a united basis for discussion of the following points:
1. We do not consider the 1966 Agreement valid;
2. We are willing to make a fair compromise;
3. We hope for a fair and just resolution of our problems, and a termination
of contractual relations.” [Paul Brink to BLC]
There was not only no movement toward resolution at that meeting, but evidence of continuing mistrust on the part of the BLC. Even though the negotiations had been left in the hands of lawyers, Friends had questions about those whom Sequoia had invited to attend this joint meeting: “ The Committee felt that these overtures on Sequoia’s part represent the ‘divide and conquer’ tactic they have used so successfully in the past.” To make things clear, Bill Gross, current BLC clerk, wrote to Sequoia attorney Walter Hays on 12/8/71 that all communications from them henceforth would be to “1. Phil Patton with respect to negotiation. 2. Earle Reynolds with respect to operations and day-to-day matters. 3. Myself with respect to future joint efforts and any other matters.” Another revealing item from that meeting’s notes is that the representatives of Sequoia were “surprised to learn that we owned the land, believing it theirs.”
Earle Reynolds was, though not a BLC member, still available to be helpful in on-the-ground relations with Sequoia. Paul Brink says [letter of 12.4.71] “Earle Reynolds will of course be available at all times to meet with Mr. Burton, Sequoia’s caretaker, for common protection of our properties.”
After meeting with Sequoia attorneys in the fall of 1971, Phil Patton stated to them in December that “I do not feel that we have progressed to any point indicating a quick solution…”
The Sequoia response to this on 12/30/71, by Walter Hays, noted: “We are convinced that the elements of good faith estoppel are so strong that we would win on all issues; and even if the Agreement were to be set aside, the damages that would have to be paid by either the AFSC or the individual cross-defendants would be so substantial as to make the victory meaningless. Accordingly, if this matter cannot be settled, we are prepared to fight the lawsuit all the way, even to appeal if necessary, and to insist on our full rights under the agreement until 1995.” In the same letter, they made a three-fold proposal: to buy a small portion of the Manley parcel including the Sunrise Lodge (Ed. essentially, the eventual settlement); to buy an additional three acres including all of the current Redwood Circle which they would then return to nature; and to demolish the Casa de Luz by the end of 1973 and move it off the Quaker Center property. The price they felt the property was worth was $9000, but they offered to increase it to $15,000 “because we do recognize and appreciate the part that the cooperative spirit of the Friends played in helping us get started.”
In the same letter, we learn that negotiations were apparently going on at the same time between the respective resident staff. “I understand from our Camp Manager Bill Burton that he and Earle Reynolds have already discussed many of these points, and either resolved them or begun the steps that are necessary to resolve them.”
At a meeting in January 1972, Friends did not accept the three-part Sequoia offer, but made its own three-fold counter offer: to buy the Casa de Luz from Sequoia for $15,000 (or to let them tear it down and remove it for $10,000); to let Sequoia use Sunrise and the parking lot until 1995 and then return it to Friends (the same as the 1966 agreement); and to build a gate across the road between the Casa and Sunrise. If none of these were acceptable, the BLC proposed exchanging the land around Sunrise for a Sequoia parcel near the eastern edge of the Quaker Center property. (Ed. This parcel, called Deck House by Sequoia, later became the residence of Earle and Akie Reynolds.)
Sequoia did not accept any part of the BLC proposal, insisting that they would not want to relinquish Sunrise. Its permanent acquisition was now their top priority. They also wanted a permanent quiet zone between the two properties. Returning Sunrise in 1995 would make this less possible. They also did not want a land swap.
Not finding a way to proceed with Sequoia, the BLC in early 1972 turned its attention to more internal concerns, establishing several new personnel policies: there would be no new buildings on the land (Ed. This decision was overturned just two years later when the upper bunkhouse was built in the Hostel area); staff tenure would be limited to a three-year maximum; the resident couple would now be given a salary . The level of compensation was initially set at $100/month for the resident couple and $50/month for the CO caretaker.
These decisions brought to the fore the lack of clarity about proper authority in personnel matters. Who was really responsible for personnel, and how was this manifest? Asserting itself in this area, after not having apparently much to say about it (from the absence of references in minutes from that time), in May of 1972 AFSC stated to the BLC that all staff assignments at Quaker Center were to be reviewed by the AFSC Personnel Committee.
The three-year limit on staff tenure proved to be one of the more nettlesome issues in early Quaker Center personnel history. Both staff and some BLC members had trouble with it. One of the reasons given in BLC notes for the adoption of this policy is that it was similar to that in other Quaker institutions. Some years later, a BLC clerk, who was not on the committee in the early 1970s when the policy was established, wrote: “I have always thought the three-year limit imposed by the committee…was a poor idea. The ‘policy’…was an expedient, to avoid having to face dissatisfaction with staff. I think the whole idea is antithetical to the Quaker notion that one is led by the Spirit in one’s daily decisions. I would appreciate it if the AFSC would intervene, at least to this extent: Has the three-year limit been approved by the Exec C for Quaker Center?” Even though this limit also seemed to conflict with AFSC personnel policy, (the AFSC Personnel Committee acknowledged that the three-year limit was “not current regional policy and it is not known whether it was reviewed re: QC”), the BLC policy on limiting the resident host position to three years did not change until after devolvement from AFSC in 1982.
In July, a new 10,000 gallon water tank was purchased to be placed near the Sequoia warehouse (now the Haven). Uniform signage was approved for Quaker Center, to be made of redwood. The first week-long use of Quaker Center took place in the summer of 1972, listed as: “Nature Experience, for those six years old and up.”
As far as Sequoia Seminar was concerned, the BLC expressed its willingness to drop its suit if Sequoia was willing to drop its countersuit, and to give Sequoia an agreement signed by the right people if this was the only way to do it. Phil Patton went on to state that he was unwilling to try the suit, but was willing to find another attorney to do it.
Sequoia did not want to dismiss the suit without prejudice (i.e. leaving it open to a retrial), because they felt they must receive relief for what they would lose. They regretted that it might have to go to trial. [Walter Hays to Phil Patton, 8/31/72]
Phil Patton in the end decided to do nothing, in the hope that Sequoia would not seek to bring the matter to trial. This implied merely living with Sequoia as good neighbors until 1995. If they did bring it to trial, he would then file a motion to dismiss.
Although nothing else had appeared to explain this in writing before that date, the September 1972 issue of the periodic newsletter “News from Quaker Center” announced that the lawsuit with Sequoia Seminar had been dropped and that “we are returning to the 1966 agreement”.
The newsletter’s announcement seems somewhat surprising in light of the fact that extralegal negotiations were apparently taking place after its appearance. By the fall of 1972, Harry and Emilia Rathbun had given Earle Reynolds complete authority to negotiate for them, if the BLC would also give Earle this authority. But in a quite candid and heartfelt letter to the Rathbuns, Earle reported “It is with deep regret that I must report that the committee did not feel moved, at the level of consensus, to rise to my request that I be given authority to negotiate with you….I would be less than honest if I did not say that I interpret this to mean that my companion Quakers have less trust in me than do our so-called adversaries….At this moment of writing I feel deeply distressed, and to be honest, not very proud of being a Quaker. This has been a very hard letter for me to write. You have walked the extra mile, and found us still waiting…
[Earle Reynolds to Harry and Emelia Rathbun and Bill Burton, 10/8/72]
Earle’s regret stems from the fact that the BLC, while willing to have him as a spokesman, was not willing to let him make a final decision on the matter.
Gary Patton, the son of Phil Patton and also an attorney, was now on the BLC and in a letter of 12/5/72 summarized what some on the committee felt to be the current position of Friends, and what appears to have prevented any earlier solution to the Sequoia problem: “…what bothers Friends a great deal… is that Sequoia has a legal right to use the property, which legal right was more or less ‘stolen’ from the Friends.”
The new year opened with the recognition that it would be Earle and Akie Reynolds last one as resident hosts at Quaker Center. Anticipating their departure, Les Malone, the conscientious objector who had worked with Earle Reynolds for about a year, ended his stay at Quaker Center in January 1973.
Knowing they could not return to Japan, the Reynolds began to imagine where they would live when they left Quaker Center. The first step toward a solution, announced in a letter of 2/19/73, was their intention to live aboard their sailboat Phoenix. In the end, this intention was not carried out, but the Phoenix sold and the money given to Sequoia Seminar in exchange for a life estate in Sequoia’s Deck House on Hubbard Gulch Road just below Quaker Center. After leaving Quaker Center, Earle and Akie remained there for over 20 years until Akie’s death in the 1990s. Over the intervening years, Earle did occasional labor at Quaker Center and served on the Board of Directors. Though no longer on the staff, the Reynolds never relinquished their relationship with Quaker Center. During the 1980s, they could be seen, at almost exactly 8:15 each morning, with their two dogs, taking their daily round-trip walk up Hubbard Gulch Road to Quaker Center and then back down the exit road.
Relations with Sequoia Seminar entered a relatively quiescent period, as little reference is made to them in notes throughout the year 1973. The BLC was able to turn its attention to other concerns.
Sometime after her death, the ashes of Lucile Manley had been placed near the area known as Quaker Circle, where her husband Clyde’s memorial service was held in 1949. From BLC minutes we learn that in 3/73, the BLC approved the placement of other persons’ ashes at Quaker Center. Records have been kept of those making use of this offer, together with the location of their remains. In April of that year, the BLC suggested that there be a meeting for worship each Sunday at Quaker Center.
The BLC also needed to find a replacement for the Reynolds. In beginning this discussion, there was some disagreement about whether to tell the new applicants there was a three-year limit on the position. The BLC decision was to not discuss this further until the couple replacing the Reynolds had been in residence.
The search process is not apparent in BLC minutes of that year, but the result of the search was that Robert Piper and Lonnie Harvey, a married couple in the Santa Cruz Monthly Meeting, were hired in the summer of 1973 to replace Earle and Akie Reynolds. They attended their first BLC committee meeting on 7/8/73. They were paid $115/mo each plus benefits on the AFSC plan in addition to their housing.
By October of their first year, Robert and Lonnie felt the need for additional short-term, temporary workers who would reside at Quaker Center in exchange for their labor. Les Malone’s experience there had been positive enough that the BLC, towards the end of 1973 hired, a young couple, Tom Clausen and Sharon Hardin, to do similar work and live together in the Apple House. This arrangement did not work as well, however, and after only a few months, they were asked to leave. It would be another six years before additional permanent staff would be hired to assist the resident host couple.
Another major step in the history of Quaker Center was the introduction, in 1973, of the first examples of what are now called Quaker Center programs. Prior to this introduction, a survey was mailed to a list of 300 asking what topics they would like to see covered by such programs. Four initial Quaker Center programs were held in 1973.
In 11/73, Herb Foster of Santa Cruz presented plans for a larger Hostel bunkhouse. Tim Jackins, a local leader in the Re-evaluation Counseling (RC) community, offered their volunteer labor for this Hostel bunkhouse construction, since they would benefit greatly from its existence. This offer was accepted and construction began soon afterwards. Over several decades, RC groups have been, after Friends, the second most frequent users of Quaker Center. In exchange for their labor on the bunkhouse, they were offered a discount on use fees.
One of the remarkable facts about Quaker Center is that, although surrounded by acres of forest, there has not been in our lifetimes a forest fire on the grounds. But a building fire at the adjacent Sequoia Seminar in the early 1970s led to the first discussions towards a Quaker Center fire system. The initial decision in 1973 was to begin by buying $200 worth of fire tools, enough for six workers.
By the end of 1973, the use of Quaker Center for the year was reported as: four Quaker Center programs, 19 Friends groups, 18 Re-evaluation Counseling workshops, 14 school groups, five group retreats, one youth group and four uses by Sequoia Seminar.
In January 194 a “100-year snowstorm” struck the Santa Cruz area, causing major tree damage at Quaker Center. News of this event appeared in the March 1974 Notes to Friends from AFSC:
“EMERGENCY AT QUAKER CENTER, BEN LOMOND. The unusual, heavy snow this winter downed hundreds of trees on the 50-acre AFSC property at Ben Lomond. This destruction (an estimated total of one million trees were lost on the coastal range) constitutes an enormous fire threat this summer. The Quaker Center Committee is appealing to Friends Meetings and individual Friends to form work parties and volunteer one or more days cutting and cleaning up the trees.”
This call for volunteers must not have been enough, for later it was announced that Quaker Center’s Shirley Gross Fund, set up to be used for environmental study and work on the land, which in 1971 totaled $2147.50, was completely exhausted in covering the costs of downed tree removal. By April, the total cost had risen to about $7000.
After a year of relative quiet in what seemed a mutual willingness to live with the status quo, in February Sequoia Seminar proposed an end to all existing agreements, with Quaker Center getting the Casa, and Sequoia getting Sunrise Lodge for $1/year until 1995. No response from Friends to this proposal is apparent. A reflection from BLC committee member Bob Newick on the situation at that time states that “In the early days of Sequoia’s development they were not discouraged by AFSC….(T)heir ability to act in development of the property could not be matched until recent years…The agreement (of 1966) reflected compensation for their efforts. Regardless of their actions, words and our feelings towards them, I hope that any new agreements with them compensate them realistically for anything taken from them, in the way of buildings.”
[letter, Bob Newick to BLC, 3/26/74]
Under the supervision of Tim Jackins and Herb Foster the upper bunkhouse framing was completed by the 8/18/74 BLC meeting. The BLC suggested on that same date the purchase of two adjoining parcels, now the Balovich and Hawkins additions, the Balovich for its water supply and the Hawkins to keep anyone else from getting it, thus preventing development close to Quaker Center. No movement at that time took place, however, towards implementation of these suggested land acquisitions.
By 10/74, $8700 had been spent on the Hostel upper bunkhouse. A rental policy was felt to be necessary, and the one implemented at that time included the stipulations that no group may use Quaker Center more than once a month, and no reservation may be made more than three months in advance. The annual budget for Quaker Center was announced then at “around $20,000”.
Approaching a final out-of-court settlement, Sequoia Seminar and Quaker Center made clear to one another their current positions. Sequoia’s position stemmed from their recognition that, under the existing 1966 agreement, they stood to lose their Sunrise Lodge in 1995, plus the adjacent road and parking lot. They also did not want to give up the Casa, which they regarded as sacred. In addition, anticipating some resolution, they wanted separation between the two programs. Quaker Center still preferred not giving up any Manley land.
Walter Hays made what turned out to be Sequoia’s last offer on 9/12/74: they would pay $50,000 to buy Sunrise plus the road and parking lot; and they would take the Casa apart and move it. They still thought Quaker Center used the Redwood Circle as a volleyball court, and would thus be disturbing to them. They were also willing to trade part of their property for Sunrise plus the road and parking lot.
Some movement beyond each of these positions was suggested in what became in essence the actual final solution, as sketched by Gary Patton, at that time the BLC clerk, in a six-page letter to Walter Hays on 9/26/74. The tone is conciliatory: “I would like to personally thank you and the Burtons for your efforts towards healing the relationship between Sequoia Seminar and Quaker Center…I particularly want to express my gratitude for the tone and spirit of the draft proposal…(We) all appreciated the way you captured the spirit of our meeting at the Burtons. To me, that meeting was a most hopeful one, in which both groups showed a genuine accommodation and mutual trust, and a willingness to see things in the frame of reference of the other….As you know, it was Emelia Rathbun’s statement to Earle Reynolds that Sequoia would be willing to turn over Casa de Luz to the Friends that was the real icebreaker in our relationship….We hope that your group will understand that things have changed between our groups, and will now be willing really to usher in an era of day-to-day trust, cooperation, and mutual sensitivity.” [Gary Patton to Walter Hays, 9/26/74]
By 12/18/74, the BLC and Sequoia had negotiated an agreement along the lines outlined in Gary Patton’s letter to dismiss the outstanding suits and transfer for $40,000 about three acres of land, including Sunrise Lodge and the adjacent parking lot and road, to Sequoia. Casa de Luz would remain as is with Quaker Center. By the following year, Friends could start using the Casa after a mound was raised nearby to mask one another’s sounds from the two sides. This agreement with Sequoia, while approved by both sides, was not signed until 8/3/75 while discussions took place about mutual easements through one another’s properties.
In the BLC minutes, the $40,000 from the sale of the three acres to Sequoia was broken down as follows: $4000 for land; $6000 for Sunrise Lodge; $30,000 for settlement of the Superior Court action. Each group would have easements through the others’ property (Ed. These easements were not specified, however, and would take another two years to resolve.) In the meantime, the existing road maintenance agreement would continue. The notes go on to say: “Expressed were words of gratitude to Gary Patton for his unstinting effort in getting this settlement implemented.”
The simple fact of having a resident staff at Quaker Center was clearly the right step, but it was also accompanied by continuing problems. The three-year limit was only the most obvious. Another was the level of compensation, about which the BLC and AFSC had different ideas. An example of the prevailing attitude on this issue was expressed thus by the Quaker Center Finance Committee clerk at that time: “Staff are very valuable to us, and I’m sure are worth three or four times the salary we are paying. However, I believe they both look upon their work at Ben Lomond as a ministry, and different from an ordinary job. We simply can’t afford to more than double the amount of salary we (have) paid our host couple without going bankrupt, or drastically increasing fees for use of the Center.” One recorded staff response to this opinion was that “Everyone seems embarrassed by our salary but us.”
The relationship between resident staff and their supervisors was also not always clear, and it went beyond the lack of clarity about just who the supervisors were: the BLC, or the AFSC Personnel Committee. From the AFSC side, Bob Eaton, the recently appointed NCRO executive secretary, expressed his experience of the history of relations between AFSC and QC as being “friendly, distant and unclear.” From the other side, the QC resident hosts expressed respect for AFSC and its programs, but felt little connection between it and Quaker Center.
AFSC presence at QC was manifest only in the BLC, which did the actual personnel supervision. As if sensing difficulties in this regard, the job description of the QC host couple at that time stated that “living at the Center and responding to its needs may involve unpredictable combinations of skills, abilities, and personal traits.”
.Staff input recommended that the job title be changed to “Directors”, and that the time limit for staff appointments be expanded to five years, renewable through yearly review. But in 6/75, the three-year maximum for staff was reaffirmed by the BLC. The suggested job title of Director was not approved.
As the new year began, neighbor Sam Balovich received, and responded in February, to an inquiry from the BLC about a possible purchase of his adjacent parcel. His response was favorable and for the first time, after many tentative half-steps in this direction, offered to sell his property to Quaker Center.
Incredibly, at the same time this possibility of adding to the land owned by Quaker Center opened up, a letter was written with the suggestion – somehow still not put to rest -that the Manley parcel might not remain in the hands of Friends: “I personally feel that it would be highly immoral to sell the Ben Lomond property. It’s clear to me that we have only two courses open: (1) continue as we are and continue to develop more of our own programs as the way opens; or (2) give the entire property to Virginia Rusinak, the late Lucile Manley’s daughter.”
[Paul Brink to Richard Ernst, AFSC Finance Committee, 3/8/76]
No surrounding evidence appears to explain whence this sentiment had arisen, or why it had appeared at that time. From the point of view of a historian, one thing that seems clear, and perhaps regrettable, is that relatively few records of significant or important decisions exist from the mid-1970s. It may have been a relatively quiescent time at Quaker Center. No movement on a final settlement with Sequoia Seminar regarding easements – the only remaining unsettled issue – took place during the preceding year. Ten or twelve Quaker Center programs were held each year. Rentals by outside groups continued to help balance the budget and leave Quaker Center more or less self-supporting.
Whatever quiescence there may have been was always subject to the fact that every three years, staff would need to be replaced. The BLC began 1976 in search of another couple to succeed Robert Piper and Lonnie Harvey. The committee’s choice was Vern and Maggie Reynolds of Philadelphia. (Ed. No relation to Earle and Akie Reynolds.) Vern had been working for the AFSC national office, and Maggie at Abington Friends School. The fact that Quaker Center was a program of AFSC in California had made the job more desirable to the Reynolds, since Vern would continue as an employee of the same organization.
At about the same time the Reynolds were hired, QC moved one step closer towards being able to use the entire Manley parcel. The original trust deed had left the Manley and Cold Houses in a life estate possession by Lucile Manley and/or her sister Edith Cold, as long as either was living. Although Edith was still alive and living on the property, Virginia Rusinak announced her plans to turn the two houses over to Quaker Center in June. She intended to place her Aunt Edith in another facility where she could get the care she needed.
By September, although his property had been appraised at $30,000, Sam Balovich wanted $120,000 for his 28.9 acres plus shacks, remarking that “the Quakers are wealthy enough to afford it”. If Friends didn’t want it, Sam said he would sell it to St. Anthony’s Kitchen.
After receiving full use of the Manley and Cold Houses in the fall, the BLC began a discussion of how to use them. Their first thought was for work party housing. It was clear that both homes needed attention.
In December, the BLC clarified its policy on use of the facilities by agreeing that Quaker Center was not appropriate for individual retreats. It was also not recommended for children. No elaboration was given for either of these decisions.
In the first month of the new year, the BLC announced its intention that Quaker Center would operate “for 100 years or more”. They hedged a bit on the future of the Manley House. After its acquisition some wanted to replace it almost immediately. This group included Virginia Rusinak, now a member of the BLC, who had lived in it as a child. She believed that it wasn’t built adequately. Others on the BLC, who prevailed in the end, cited its historical value as evidence that it should be kept in memory of Lucile Manley.
At the January 1977 Quarterly Meeting, a concern arose about its relationship with Quaker Center. From the minutes of that gathering: “The BLC is not related to Quarterly Meeting and some conflicts have occurred because of that separateness. Do we want to look into the possibility of a more direct tie with Ben Lomond?” This concern was then referred to the Quarterly Ministry and Oversight Committee, to be brought back to a future gathering. This short note was one of the first steps in what soon became the process of devolvement of Quaker Center from AFSC.
By early 1977 the BLC had arrived at a preliminary unity regarding the two Manley dwellings, with an agreement that persons who wanted to work on the property would be able to use the Cold House on a work-exchange basis: eight hours of work per week in exchange for the cottage. An unnamed UCSC student was the first to do so.
Still interested in his parcel, the BLC suggested to Sam Balovich a price of $35,000. Sam responded that he “was insulted by this offer.” The BLC upped the ante to $50,000, which Sam accepted in April of 1977.
The purchase of the Balovich parcel was facilitated by a grant of $30,000 from the Pentler Estate, whose proceeds were distributed by Palo Alto Monthly Meeting. Charles E. Pentler was a member of Palo Meeting from 1947 until his death in 1975. His will left instructions that his estate was to be used “for Friends’ purposes.” Since the majority of the members of the BLC had over the years belonged to Palo Alto Meeting, they were able to help facilitate the decision to award some of these funds to Quaker Center. After the initial $30,000 grant, an additional $30,000 was sent from the Pentler estate to Quaker Center on 8/30/79.
At its June 1977 session the BLC focused in a bit on its earlier intention that QC would operate for “100 years or more” by specifying its ten-year hopes for Quaker Center. In the personnel area, these were stated to be: a permanent cook and two more families, bringing the total of resident staff to somewhere between six and ten persons. Other hopes included a garden, longer retreat opportunities, using the Manley House as a base for visiting Quakers, and that Quaker Center be under the care of Quarterly Meeting.
The first step towards the realization of any of these hopes came with the addition of a cook. When Kerry Hamilton, a UCSC student and daughter of a member of the Davis Meeting, asked about living and working at Quaker Center for a longer period, she was accepted on a work-exchange basis: cooking for the monthly Quaker Center program in exchange for residence in the Cold House. Kerry began work in September 1977 under these terms: 20hours/mo. plus 4 hours/week in additional maintenance, in exchange for housing. She could also work extra time for $3/hr. Dan Hirsch, an anti-nuclear activist with the organization Committee to Bridge the Gap was approved through December as a working resident in the Manley House, although his work arrangement was not specified.
By 1977, two important transactions had come to conclusion. On 1/6/77, the life estate of Lucile Manley was legally recorded and transferred to the Board of Trustees. On 9/12/77 the dispute with Sequoia Seminar was finally settled by the legal recording of the sale of about three acres at the northwest corner of the Manley parcel for $40,000. Besides being significant in themselves, these two transactions carried additional weight because they were included in the conditions which AFSC had required before it would consider letting Quaker Center devolve to some other organization.
It is remarkable that although there had been a small forest fire on the adjacent Sequoia Seminar in the early 1970s, Quaker Center had (Ed. and still has) not suffered a similar event since its founding. Unwilling to rely on the continuance of this good fortune, the BLC recognized the need for an upgraded fire system. At its request, the local Ben Lomond Fire Department visited and made suggestions. Under the supervision of Harry Bailey of Grass Valley Meeting, who had been recommended as an “expert” on fire systems, planning for the current Quaker Center fire protection system began.
On 8/12/77, Quaker Center formally recorded its purchase of the Balovich property for $50,000, with $23,000 down, and $27,000 amortized over the next 10 years. This was purchased in the name of the Ben Lomond Property Board of Trustees. The Trust Deed establishing the BT had stated that it would “hold title and all other legal rights to the Ben Lomond real property… and to such additional or alternate real property which may come into the possession or ownership of the AFSC or the BT as a contiguous portion of the present Ben Lomond property….” Quaker Center’s holdings now totaled about 76 acres, 47 in the Manley parcel (three acres had been sold to Sequoia Seminar) and 29 in the Balovich parcel.
During the fall the roof on the Hostel upper bunkhouse, completed just two years earlier, was found to be leaking. In another Buildings and Grounds note, the BLC minutes also refer for the first time to the need for a toilet at the Casa de Luz.
By 10/77, the BLC realized that it needed an improved booking policy for use by groups. A prior policy was changed at that time by allowing mid-week use by individual Friends when housing was available in the Hostel, but Quaker Center was not approved for “wayfarers”. Use of the Manley House was limited to two months, although by the end of the year Eric Moon was approved to live there for six weeks and Dan Hirsch was approved for the next summer.
In early 1978, an episode occurred which would have ramifications until te present day. It seems that a swimming hole had been created the previous summer in Marshall Creek by blocking the culvert under Hubbard Gulch Road with a sheet of plywood. Incredibly, the following winter, no one remembered to remove the plywood before the rainy season began. In January 1978, Marshall Creek began to flow over the road, soon eroding the asphalt and then the underlying soil, finally wiping out the culvert itself and leaving a 20′ gap in the road, temporarily ending traffic to and from Quaker Center, except for the nearby exit road. $2500 was raised for the subsequent road and culvert repair through a special mail appeal. (Ed. Earle Reynolds – who lived closest to the site of this accident – gives his take on the situation in The Center is Quaker. Over the years, the downstream slope of that repair continued to threaten further erosion until the final solution, which is taking place at the time of this writing, could be approved and financed with the aid of county, state, and federal agencies, all of whom had a say in the permitting process. )
A conflict arose with AFSC over an appointment to the BT. The BLC had nominated Howard Bull of Palo Alto Meeting, but AFSC apparently did not know him well enough to approve his nomination. At the same time, AFSC nominated Mike Ingerman for the available Board position, but he was not known to the BLC and had not attended any of their committee meetings. This disagreement was cited as another reason why devolvement of QC from AFSC was an idea whose time had come.
The need for a new roof on the Manley House raised again the question of whether Quaker Center should even keep this dwelling, and for how long. The BLC tentatively agreed to plan on keeping the house for another 7-10 years. When it was then torn down, one committee member wanted to “preserve the stone fireplace.” (Ed. Ironically, the stone fireplace was the one piece of the Manley House, and of the entire QC property, which did not survive the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989.)
Eric Moon was approved in early 1978 for an additional work exchange of six months in the Manley House. These kinds of ad-hoc arrangements were the first steps in the recognition of the need for a full-time maintenance staff member. The BLC, now referring to itself most of the time as the Quaker Center Committee (QCC) also approved adding a porch to the Resident Host’s house and a bathroom at the Casa de Luz. Impetus to finish the fire system was given by the insurance company’s threat to cancel coverage by May if work was not progressing. Quaker Center applied for and received Timber Planning Zone designation from the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors.
Although it would take six years for it to actually be constructed, the first mention of the desirability of a meditation cottage appeared in 1978.
Based partially on input from the Quaker Center staff that they felt they had “all the responsibility but no authority”, at its 4/78 meeting the AFSC Personnel Committee again stated its desire to end the three-year limit on staff tenure and to upgrade the staff title to Program Director. The QCC’s response in explaining its non-agreement was in effect that: it is a job that should be shared, not monopolized; three years is about as long as a couple could be away from their regular job and then return to it without detriment; other Quaker institutions have a limit on tenure.
Years before, Earle Reynolds had expressed his vision of QC staff as including three resident families. By 1978, the QCC could see its way to having two – one for program and one for maintenance, and began to specify how this would take place. The program position would be considered Quaker service, and be at a lower salary; it would be for an older couple who had some other income, and would be for a maximum of three years. The maintenance position would be for a younger person, at a regular salary, and with no maximum, although subject to reappointment annually.
At a joint meeting of the QCC and Monthly Meeting representatives, some long-range goals for Quaker Center were set down in writing:
1) expect and plan for QC to operate 100 years into the future
2) plan for three types of personnel on the property:
– a “Quaker presence” to manage the activities
– a “physical plant group” to care for the land and the improvements
– occasional users
The long-term residents in the first two groups would number no more than 8-10 (at that time, the QCC stated they were able to house only 5-6). Buildings were to be replaced or remodeled on the following schedule:
Resident Hosts’ house remodel before 1980
Manley House replace by 1986
Cold House replace by 1990
Main dining hall replace by 1992
Casa de Luz replace by 1995
Upper bunkhouse remodel by 1982
Lower bunkhouse replace by 1983
Hostel kitchen/dining replace by 1984
Activity Building (Art Ctr) construct in 1980
New temp worker cottage construct in 1981
Cottage-in-the-highlands construct in 1982
Camping shelters construct six in …
It is now clear that little in this prognosis for the buildings was actually done as anticipated, either on the announced timetable, or with the result foreseen. The “Activity Building” (now the Haven) was first called the Art Center when its construction began in 1981 and completed in 1983. The Hostel kitchen/dining room was replaced in 2004 as the new Redwood Lodge. The “temp worker cottage” referred to the desire to have from two to six volunteer workers on the property for some months at a time. These workers were to be included in the expected 8-10 longer-term residents. This cottage, the “cottage in the highlands”, and the camping shelters were not built nor were any plans for these structures ever drawn up.
At the 7/78 QCC meeting, the Reynolds stated that they were tired and wanted to leave by the end of the year. The committee considered hiring temporary replacements until the position could be filled in the summer of 1979, at the expected three-year interval. The committee agreed to search for a property manager and a new cook (Kerri Hamilton had also announced her intention to leave). The fire system was now estimated to cost up to $30,000. $10,000 was approved immediately, although some felt this smaller amount was inadequate because there would be no alarm as part of the system. The two shacks on the Balovich parcel were recommended for removal, but the desire to have back-up temporary housing, and the belief that if they were torn down it would be harder to get a permit to replace them, kept the shacks in place for more than 20 years. (Ed. The “Balovich shacks” were a small, habitable one-room dwelling with a water supply from a nearby spring, and an adjacent pit privy, plus another storage shed just across Fanning Grade. Both were occupied over the years by temporary Quaker Center volunteers, and by occasional squatters.)
In 9/78, the QCC implemented a small first step towards paid resident maintenance staff. Russ Vogel of Santa Cruz was hired to work on an hourly basis at $3/hr plus housing. Zona Gray, a UCSC student, applied to be the cook and was hired on a three-month temporary basis to replace Kerry Hamilton. Two prospective full-time property managers attended the 10/78 QCC meeting. Looking ahead to the replacement of Vern and Maggie Reynolds, the QCC for the first time discussed the possibility of hiring an individual instead of a couple as resident host. The first property manager job description was written, with an accompanying note that the QCC objected to AFSC “dictating” the job descriptions at Quaker Center.
The QCC learned that what is now known as the Hawkins parcel, slightly more than 3 acres off the southeast corner of Quaker Center, was up for sale at $22,500. Whatever small interest there was in this parcel arose from the concern that if it were developed, use of the legal easement sold to its owner by Clyde Manley in 1934 could negatively impact the Quaker Circle area and part of the nature trail. The committee was willing only to explore having some “sympathetic Quaker buy it and then work something out”.
By the late 1970s there was enough rental income so that the QCC felt no need to schedule Quaker Center programs primarily in view of their projected income. In this regard, Maggie Reynolds wrote to Bob Eaton (6/23/78): “(Quaker Center programs) were a major source of operational funds several years ago, but now rentals have improved enough that profit no longer needs to be a consideration in program planning….”
Early in the year, new job descriptions were circulated for both the Property Manager position and for what would now be called the Resident Program Director, both of which were expected to be filled in 1979. The job descriptions made it clear that both positions required residency.
In January, the Reynolds decided they could stay until April 1. The ongoing drought meant the current drinking water system was not adequate. Plans for a Sojourner’s Lodge were drawn up by BLC member Ruth Smith. There remained questions about its possible location: near the warehouse? near the Cold House? on the Balovich road? (Ed. The Sojourners Lodge was not built.) Russ Vogel was approved to stay until the property manager was hired.
By 3/79, the QCC became aware that there was plenty of water from the Manley spring above the Redwood Circle, thus possibly helping to solve the drought-caused water shortage. This spring, which in rainy years would flow through the Redwood Circle for some months after the end of winter, was yhen piped into the holding tank and used as a back-up drinking water supply until the early 1980s.
Barbara Rabinowitz was approved for living in the Balovich shack through the summer and was to report to the staff weekly. There had been a theft from the shack earlier, so it was felt good to have a presence there. A 15 year-old 30,000 gal. water tank was located as a supply for the fire system.
At the time of the Reynolds’ hiring in 1976, it had seemed clear to the BLC that, even though it was unwilling to call them “directors”, they had enough work to do managing the program aspects of Quaker Center’s activities. This responsibility had grown to such an extent by that time that one couple alone could not do it and also take care of the maintenance of the buildings and grounds as well. Accordingly, the BLC, having approved hiring a full-time maintenance manager, finally resolved this situation by selecting Mark Thomas as the first full-time Maintenance Manager. Mark had worked in a similar capacity on the staff of Pendle Hill near Philadelphia, and was skilled in tree work. Mark began in the spring of 1979, moving onto the property on May 1 with his wife Beth and their children Emily and Jake, They began by refurbishing the interior of the Manley House, which became their residence for the next four years. The first large projects Mark was asked to work on were the installation of the 30,000 gallon water tank for the fire protection system and the addition of a bathroom at the Casa de Luz.
Following closely on the Thomas’s arrival, Vern and Maggie Reynolds departed from Quaker Center during the first week of May 1979.
Breaking with its prior practice , the BLC decided that same month to hire an individual, Dee Steele, rather than a couple, to replace the Reynolds, with her position titled “overall administrator”. Since Dee was unable to start until July 1, BLC members agreed to fill in themselves until she arrived. In addition, Beth Thomas volunteered to take care of phone messages and Vern Reynolds offered to continue to provide financial oversight.
By 7/79 the installation of the new 30,000 gallon water tank was finished by Mark Thomas with help from a high school work camp. The tank had been used at a nursery and its contents contained an insecticide in the water, so it was not approved for drinking. It could only be used for the fire system and had to be plumbed separately.
As the decade ended, other buildings and grounds concerns included a large bill for road surfacing, which apparently had not been addressed for some time. Plans were drawn up for an arts and crafts building, with location to be determined. The earliest suggestion was that it be near the garden, but the ultimate choice was as an addition to the front end of the former Sequoia Seminar warehouse, following a design by Ruth Smith.
In personnel matters, Zona Gray, who had previously cooked only for QC programs, asked to be allowed to cook for other groups as well, and received approval. Dan Hirsch was approved as a “hermit-in-residence” at the Balovich shacks, but did not begin until after the year’s end. Dee Steele, just two months into her tenure as Program Director, was hospitalized in 9/79. (Ed. Later, Dee was diagnosed with cancer and, in 1983, became the first former employee of QC to pass away, just a year after the end of her three-year tenure at QC.) The QC staff requested that it be placed on social security, there being no other retirement plan. Mark Thomas announced that he had developed a friendly relationship with the managers of Sequoia Seminar.
Looking forward to a new decade, with a small resident community of seven – four full-and part-time staff plus three family members – the QCC finance committee announced that its proposed overall budget for the next year was $49,000.