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A great throng swarmed Central Zion Taber­nacle that night.

As they came in, each saw with wonder a great square of canvas, twenty-five feet each way, suspended over the choir gallery behind the platform. It was covered with a curtain of heavy muslin. What did that muslin hide?

There were comments, guesses, asseverations.

"Zion City!"

The name flew from group to group. But no one knew. It might be something else-perhaps plans for a combined Tabernacle and Zion Home. Perhaps plans for a Zion College building.

The long, all-night service began. Zion's leader rang out Old Testament promises of Zion's glory like a choir of trumpets. He translated them into terms of triumph, prosperity and world power for himself and his people until the great audience was in an ecstasy of amens, hallelujahs, and praise-the-­Lords. The choir sang an anthem of Zion's might. Tabernacle walls rocked with the conquering rhythm of "We're Marching to Zion" when the whole con­gregation let loose in song. Then came the sermon, as full of prophetic fire and eloquence as a chapter from Isaiah. Thus the dying hours of 1899 sped away. Be­fore the people were aware, the New Year was upon them.



Just as the bells and whistles of the city sounded midnight, Dr. Dowie turned, grasped a slender cord, and rolled the curtain back from that white square above the choir. There was revealed a map of the coming Zion City and its environs. The lake, Wauke­gan, Kenosha, and between them the eleven square miles of the site neatly fenced in with heavy black lines.

People cheered and praised the Lord and wept and laughed.

Even those who had guessed that the site of Zion City would be revealed were astounded. No one had dreamed that the project would be so magnificent.

The General Overseer described Zion City's site­-again using Herbert's arguments for it. Deacon St. John Worcester gave a more technical description. Herbert was flatteringly introduced, given an ova­tion, gave a short history of the site, and added de­tails to the General Overseer's recitation of its many beauties and advantages. Deacon Halsey, Deacon Nolan, now connected with Zion City Bank, and At­torney Endicott added their paeans of praise of this bit of land and for the marvelous vision, business ability, and financial genius of the General Overseer.

Surprise and pleasure seemed high enough, but the man who held these thousands of people in the hollow of his hand had another prize package to open for them. Again he pulled a cord, the map slid away, and there was ZION CITY itself!

A huge painting, twenty feet square, an imagined aerial view. In a great park, in the center of it all, the towers and dome of Zion Temple!


Zion spent the rest of the night gloating over that picture.

The next day John Alexander Dowie, for almost the first time in more than twenty years, was treated with some respect by the newspapers. The owner of eleven thousand acres of choice North Shore land, all in one compact block, was a different public char­acter from a ranting "healer."

Real-estate men and companies also were im­pressed. Two days after Chicago papers had startled the city by news that the mysterious buyer north of Waukegan was Dr. Dowie, a big operator who spe­cialized on new suburban cities had publicly offered to take over Dowie's contracts and pay a cool million dollars profit on them.

Money poured into Zion Land and Investment As­sociation. Thousands who had been hesitating joined the Christian Catholic Church in Zion. That meant thousands of dollars a week in additional tithes.

A year and a half before, the General Overseer had called upon every member of the Church to pay 10 per cent of his gross income into the treasury-which meant Dr. Dowie's personal bank account. He was not squeamish or conciliatory in his demand. He said -and it was published to all the faithful in "Leaves of Healing":

"This order must not be discussed. It must be obeyed.

"Obligations to family, obligations to the State, and business obligations and debts must not be dealt with until the whole tithe has been sent to Zion Storehouse.



"No matter what the consequences may be, I issue this Order at God's command, and I am prepared to part with nine-tenths of the Fellowship should it be necessary.

"I demand and will enforce the resignation of every member who does not obey."

Any member who fell behind with his tithes re­ceived a warning or two, then, if he did not pay up, was "dismissed for cause."

His bank bursting with unaccustomed funds, and the country showing unwonted respect for his prow­ess, John Alexander Dowie was visibly enjoying life.

"Do you see what I've done, Herbert?" he asked. He was strutting back and forth in his office, flushed, eyes glowing, mustache twitching like a delighted dog's tail. "Do you see what I've done? Why does Lenihan offer me a million for my bargain?"

"Because he knows he can make ten million out of it if he gets it," replied Herbert.

"Ten million! He could make twenty. I’ll make more than that. What I've done is not only to make millions for Zion and Zion people, but to establish Zion City in the eyes of the business world as the big­gest real-estate deal in the history of Chicago. Noth­ing succeeds like success. The reputation I've made for Zion, in a business way, is worth many millions more than any profit on the land. They may laugh at your little General Overseer as a religious fanatic, but now they can never laugh at him as a business man. I have accomplished what Lenihan, with all his skill and years of experience, could not accomplish. If he




could, he would not be offering me a million dollars for my bargain."

All Zion wanted to see the site. No one could wait until spring.

On the first Saturday afternoon in January the General Overseer gave his followers a picnic in the snow. Special trains carried the throngs out from Chicago, and big bob-sleighs carried them to available parts of the site.

Chief Engineer Deacon St. John Worcester and his crew were mobilized early the next week. Tramping through snow and slush, they surveyed the whole tract. "Leaves of Healing" published many maps and photographs resulting from these surveys. This kept interest in Zion City at a fever heat.

Luther Nettus's farm-house had been taken over as headquarters by the engineering corps, but a hand­some office had been fitted up in it for the General Overseer, who could not keep away.






“Leaves of Healing" had been enlarged. Deacon Halsey and Herbert were ordered to write a page or two each week, telling of progress in their departments. Deacon Worcester sometimes wrote several pages on engineering problems encoun­tered and solved or new values and advantages dis­covered. The General Overseer's editorials, formerly devoted to Salvation, Healing, and Holy Living, and other phases of his teaching, were now principally about Zion City.

When frost loosed the earth next spring, the new town became an ant-hill of activity. Streets, side­walks, drainage, grading, and building employed scores of men.

In Herbert's office, maps, plots, and prospectuses were being prepared.

Among other problems was that of deeds to the lots. The General Overseer wanted every deed to for­bid the manufacture, sale, gift, or use of liquor, drugs, tobacco, pork, oysters, and novels; the giving of dances or theatrical performances; and the hold­ing of unauthorized religious meetings. Attorney Endicott said that could not be done with a deed. It was a tough problem, but it was solved. Dr. Dowie was to give, not a deed, but an eleven-hundred-year lease running to A.D. 3000, and in that lease impose all the conditions he pleased.


By the first of July street signs were up every­where. Names were quaint. East and west streets, ex­cept boulevards, were numbered. North and south thoroughfares were called avenues and were given biblical names in alphabetical order, thus:

Aaron Avenue

Abimelech Avenue

Bethel Avenue

Carmel Avenue

Daniel Avenue

Deborah Avenue

Elijah Avenue

Elizabeth Avenue


Shiloh Park, a mile square, sloped away in all direc­tions from that tree-crowned hill where Zion Temple would be built. A wooded ravine at the north bound­ary was part of Siloam Park. At the southwest cor­ner of the site another square mile of high, rolling, partly wooded land was set aside as "Sinai," the Gen­eral Overseer's private demesne.

In Shiloh Park a grand-stand was built of rough lumber. A platform stood in front of it. These pro­vided a temporary choir-loft and pulpit. Congrega­tions were to sit on the grass or stand among sur­rounding trees.

Every stage of progress in all this work was photo­graphed and the pictures published in “Leaves of Healing." Chicago newspapers made much of events at Zion City, and their stories were reprinted by newspapers all over the world. Captain Erdman sub­scribed to foreign as well as domestic press clipping services, and more than doubled his force of clerks


who read and assorted the results and pasted them in a growing library of scrap-books.

Zion Printing and Publishing House bought a new battery of seven great presses, so rapidly did the cir­culation of “Leaves of Healing" increase.

Early in this busy spring the General Overseer an­nounced that on July 14, 1900, he would turn the first sod of Zion Temple. In preparation for the event Zion City Band was organized, equipped with its fifty instruments, and uniformed. Zion Guard was greatly increased in numbers, and, for the first time, was garbed in uniforms of regulation police blue. Many new overseers, elders, evangelists, deacons, and deaconesses were ordained and fitted with caps and robes. The overseers wore "bishops' gowns" in the processional, but with black silk instead of the white lawn sleeves distinguishing the General Overseer's costume. Those who had scholastic degrees wore ap­propriate hoods.

When the great day dawned cloudless and hot, Zion's thousands in Chicago and hundreds from dis­tant places flocked to the old Wells Street station and jammed special trains provided for them.

It was a combination excursion, picnic, and reli­gious festival. Everybody marched behind the band to the center of Shiloh Park. There the majority re­mained, visiting, eating their lunches, and listening to a band concert. But many groups, especially among the young people, took their baskets and scattered to Siloam Park, to the lake shore, and elsewhere.

Herbert took a precious hour from his many duties to join John and Nancy Harrow, Mrs. Brelin, Edith




Brelin, young Stoneham, the Steelhavers, and a num­ber of girls from the Zion Land and Investment As­sociation office. They walked leisurely across the fields to Siloam Park and had a picnic lunch there. Herbert felt he used valor's better part by devoting himself gallantly to Mrs. Brelin.

On their way back to Shiloh Park, Mrs. Brelin said, "Do you know, Deacon Renbrush, the Steel­havers haven't had their talk with Doctor Dowie. He has promised to see them, but always 'in a few days.' I know he's a busy man, and you're so rushed you neg­lect even your friends. It's been months and months since they came here, and they're sort of hung up until they have their interview-don't seem to be able to settle down to work or anything else. Could you-would you-undertake to get them in?"

“By golly!" said Herbert, Hit's a shame they've had to sit around all this time. I s'posed they'd got in long ago. I'll tell the General Overseer about 'em next time I see him."

When the party reached Shiloh Park, ordained officers and choir were robing in tents. The procession, headed by Zion City Band, formed in a grove near the temporary choir-loft and pulpit. People stood and sat on the ground, leaving an aisle kept clear by members of Zion Guard.

At two o'clock the band struck up Haydn's "Aus­tria" and another ceremonial was begun. Slowly marching, two by two, came hundreds of robed and uniformed figures. The great audience was silent. Through tree-tops light and shadow played upon the



moving line. As it neared, the band dropped to pia­nissimo and the voices of children were heard.

Down the aisle they marched. And as they passed, their little faces lifted, joyous, unquestioning, many eyes were wet.

Following the children came young women.

Then came the men, and sturdy, heartening res­onance was added to the volume of melody as they sang.

Behind the choir came robed officers in long double line.

Last of all strode John Alexander Dowie, General Overseer of the Christian Catholic Church in Zion Throughout the World. As he passed, a high solem­nity upon his bearded face, the people swayed toward him-almost worshiped, almost prayed to him.

In the General Overseer's prophetic sermon, vision paled before brighter vision, emotion mounted to higher emotion. This little band of a few thousand people saw themselves favored instruments in the consummation of the plan of the ages, nucleus of that chosen company of kings and priests of God which ere long should rule the whole world. Here on this consecrated land should rise the first material evidence of their universal empire. Other Zion cities would be built near all the other great cities of the world until, at Jerusalem, their work should be crowned by the city of Jesus, the Great King, with Whom they should reign over a world from which all evil, all sickness, all war, all poverty, and all un­happiness should be purged.




"Many years ago," said the General Overseer, "I promised God that I would stand upon the Hill of Zion in the midst of Jerusalem, His holy city, and greet the birth of the twentieth century. I leave America in a few days, therefore, to keep that solemn promise. I know not what He may have in store for me there, but He has laid it upon me to make this pilgrimage, and there I shall receive, doubtless, new revelations of His will concerning me and concerning you and the great work He has called us to do in these days of the Consummation of the Age. Pray for me, pray for me.

"I shall first visit England, where I shall make final arrangements for sending to Zion City the machin­ery and expert operatives that shall be the beginning of our great Zion Lace Industries. We shall be pio­neers in this field in America. We shall make beautiful lace for this country first, and then for all the world. God will smile upon this great industry, which will create beauty. Did He not make all the wondrous beauty of this scene, of this summer day?

"And there will be profits-profits so big that I should hesitate to give you the figures.

"From Jerusalem I shall hasten home to you and to the glorious work of building with you this Zion City, which shall be a City of Refuge for God's peo­ple, the Joy of the whole earth.

"I am taking with me my beloved personal attend­ant, Captain Chris Erdman, my dear private secre­tary Deacon Lawrence Murray, our excellent general associate editor of Zion publications, Deacon John




Harrow, and Deacon Harold Winans, our expert stenographic reporter."

Thus the sermon ended.

Fifty instruments and thousands of voices shook the hill with the exultation of their "Jerusalem the Golden!"

Then the procession formed again. This time the robed officers were followed by all Zion's employees, each with a broad silken sash of gold, white, and blue -Zion's colors--over his or her right shoulder. In front of the band went a detachment of Zion Guard bearing a huge silken banner, also in Zion colors, bearing upon its folds the word ZION, a cross-and-­crown device, and a white dove. This was the official Zion banner. Behind it another detachment of the Guard bore aloft the American flag.

This procession toiled three times around the site of Zion Temple, a huge square at the crest of the hill, in the midst of which stood a gaunt, white-painted wooden tower.

When marching was over and all was still, save songs of birds, whispering of leaves, and rustling of garments gently rippled by a western breeze, the General Overseer stood near the tower, surrounded by his overseers and business cabinet. In a hollow square about them were thousands of followers.

With a brief speech, Attorney Endicott presented the great man with a silver spade, draped with gold, white, and blue ribbons.

Then did John Alexander Dowie turn the first sod for the building of Zion Temple!




The bit of turf was taken up by reverent hands and preserved· among Zion's sacred treasures.

It remains, to this day, the only tangible bit of that great Temple. The hole from which it was taken has been lost and forgotten these thirty years.