MARY'S CITY of DAVID - The Israelite House of David as reorganized by Mary Purnell

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 Visit the Base Ball Season for our "House of David Echoes" schedule.

MAY 30
OPENING DAY for the Museum, Tours and Eastman Springs nature trails.

    Come out and see what's new on tour, in the museum and in the museum gift shop.

    Opening at 1PM, this Saturday and following Sundays; guided walking tour begins at 1:30 from the museum.

    Call ahead for available tours on Saturday. Most Saturdays will not offer guided tour. (269) 925-1601


    7 JUNE 2015
    Berrien County Historical Association, Mary’s City of David and Eden Springs Park

    An Eden Place and Its Roots just East of Eden;
    One of Southwestern Michigan's most memorable Summer Places

    The program will begin at Mary's City of David Museum at 12:30PM.

    20 minutes will be given to look around the museum exhibits. You may return again after the tour or at another time in the season to see it all.

    The tour group departs by 1PM for the nearby "Mary's Vegetarian Restaurant" that operated from July, 1932 through the 1964 summer resort season.
    At the restaurant facility Ron Taylor will give a presentation, with numerous visuals, that will take us back into pre-recorded history of the properties of both Mary's City of David and the House of David.
    The story unfolds with the actual artifact record that spans almost 4000 years bringing us up to the inhabitants of the "Big Medicine" of the Miami Nation, which the earliest French explorers were very familiar with.
    The story continues into the late 19th century and the purchase of these properties by the retired Colonel Harry Eugene Eastman and his wife Elizabeth, in 1879.
    The visuals now become illuminating as the historic record comes to life in the establishment of the Eastman Springs Resort that "capitalized" on the numerous mineral water springs upon the properties that were developed and marketed successfully to the locals as well as Chicago and Milwaukee.
    The colonel and his family will name the properties, Eden Springs to the west and Eastman Springs, just east of Eden. By the mid 1880s the resort was flourishing and becoming a popular summer tourist draw to Benton Harbor and Saint Joseph.
    On Saint Patrick's Day,1903, Mary and Benjamin Purnell arrive in Benton Harbor with a party totaling seven with plans to establish a community that will house their rapidly growing, world wide following.
    The Israelite House of David's early success had attracted 300 members by December and soon expanded into agriculture covering 1000 acres of fruit plantations by 1906. 1907 found the organization needing more territory for which they petition the Eastman Company to buy the Eden Springs portion of their holdings. The deal is made and by July, 1908, the "Park Springs of Eden" opens to an estimated 5000 patrons. The presentation will follow Park history with its wealth of photo images.

    Following the history presentation the tour group will return to the museum area (all within the block) and have 15-20 minutes to look around the giftshop and its one-of-a-kind, unique collection of items, colony-made, artwork, including collectibles in "Your Gramma's Attic".

    The tour then departs to the Eden Springs Park facilities to get a train ride on a 1904, Cagney steam engine, pulling vintage, "Baushke-made at the House of David", railway carriages. The tour will get to walk through the several areas in vigorous restorations; which include the south train depot, Fountain in the gardens, miniature "midget autos" on their original track, numerous garden restorations and more.

    When arriving at the Eden Springs Park, the tour will divide into two or three groups. Smaller groups will allow for a more intimate and less congested tour of the several areas of interest.

    The entire tour will last most likely beyond 3PM. The Eden Springs portion of the tour is very open ended as to time. Tour guests are welcomed to stay as long as they want in viewing the grounds and its history.
    Both Mary's Museum and the Park close at 5PM.

    Admission for the entire program will be $20.00
    This is a 3-Way fund-raiser for the Berrien County Historical Association, Mary's City of David and The Eden Springs Park.

    RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED with payment in advance.
    The tour will be limited to 50.

    Contact the Berrien County Historical Association for reservations and payment 269 471-1202

    Contact Mary's City of David for tour information and directions:
    269 925-1601 or

"Dining in the Colony, 1935" Vegetarian lunch (noon)

    80 years ago, you will be walking into a setting of rustic colony-made tables and a collection of chairs upon which is placed for you an array of unmatched dishware that might have come from a distant land, turned into the commonwealth by new arrivals to the community.

    The meal will feature a common daily menu from the colony kitchens for this season with fruits and vegetables from colony farms.

    The meal is $15.00 which will include a free pass to the museum that opens at 1 PM. The guided walking tour from the museum at 1:30 PM is an additional 4.00. If you are interested in the guided walking tour, it is suggested that you reserve space on the walking tour, which is also open to the general public on a first-come-first-serve basis. Space on the tour is limited. Reservations with pre-pay is required.

You may call for further information/directions:
(269) 925-1601; M-F; 1-5 PM.

Mary's City of David Tours

Using an aerial from 1937, the picture captures the first seven years labor in the earliest and most desperate hours of the Great Depression, in which most of the "City of David" was built under Sister Mary Purnell's direction. This serves today as both the nucleus of the 300-plus acre Christian-Israelite community and the entire tour area of significant historic sites that help tell this fascinating story of faithful perseverance and spirited resilience yielding the most amazing chapter of all the 100+ years in America.

Numbered aerial view ...
  1. Museum and Gift shop. Arrival and departure points.
  2. Bethany where is given the slide presentation on the English roots to the present day, covering 3 ½ centuries. Print shop is also at this location.
  3. Going through the Garage Bldg. (1930) with its active mechanic shop and 1930s tools. Shop rules that have worked for 100 years: "if you make a mess, clean it up"; "if you don't know how to operate, leave it alone"; " if you open it, close it."
  4. Walking over to the Carpenter shop, with its vintage tools and today's sawdust.
  5. Cannery and Powerhouse with the 1934 Fair Banks Morris Electrical generating plant. A lesson in self-sufficiency of a family in common faith. Common sense ...
  6. Greenhouse Agriculture bldg. A lesson in recycling from the "have-tos" of 1935.
  7. Mary's House, a walk through the yard of this structure that served as a makeshift headquarters in 1930, as well as a hotel and basement restaurant.
  8. Shiloh gardens tell their intimate story of the new 1930 Administration and plantations of over 50 years in garden.
  9. "Gate of Prayer" Synagogue, 1938 (not in this 1937 photo) where the "Welcome Back To 1934" vegetarian luncheons are held in this quaintly restored building.
  10. Eastman Springs nature trails that are on 54 acres of woodland serenity. 1-½ miles of trails and bridges that wind through spring fed ravines that attracted Native American populations for over 4,000 years. The Silver Queen Spring (1883) is on the walk for a cooler on a warm summer day.
  11. Colonel Harry and Elizabeth Eastman Field (1890s) today is the home field for the "vintage" House of David Echoes Baseball Club, playing pre-Civil War rules and members of the 120-plus Baseball Association in America.

General Public Museum Hours:
Saturdays & Sundays: 1-5 PM, May 31st - September 28th

If you have not visited the colony in several years, or have not yet visited, we strongly recommend that you take some quality time with friends and family this summer and come out for an afternoon to view an historic "vintage" base ball game, hike the 1 ½ miles trails through the serene and lovely Eastman Springs, visit the museum and see 355 years of history, get on board for the 1:30 PM tour each Sunday to discover the amazing history of southwest Michigan's most renown historic site and "living history", and come to see the unique, one-of-a-kind gift shop next door to the museum; you won't find this inventory anywhere else in Michigan, America or the world.

You may call for further information/directions:
(269) 925-1601; M-F; 1-5 PM.

Berrien County Historical Association
Berrien Co

Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council
Tourist Council

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