The roots of the Seventh-day Adventist heritage in this area dates back to the early 1900's. Among the early pioneers, Adventist logging operators Jack Bester and the Owens family began operations in the Mapleton area somewhere around 1915. The parents and/or grandparents of long-time church members Squinty and Gale Miller, and Rosella Finlayson worked in the large Adventist logging camp up Hadsall Creek - just across the river from Mapleton.
The first Seventh-day Adventist church and school in the greater Florence area was located within the Owens logging camp on the site where Mick Jenkins used to live and right next door to where Squinty [now deceased] and Gale still reside on Hadsall Creek near Mapleton. This church and school was used until the camp broke up around 1930.
For the next several years, believers met in various homes. For a time, a church in Cushman was rented. Then on December 23, 1939, the scattered congregation purchased the former Evangelical Church in Glenada. With a fresh coat of paint and a bell in the tower, the 34 charter members really felt at home. Boards were laid across the backs of the pews for potluck lunch tables. It had a pump organ, wood floors, a wood stove and a bucket of water and ladle for drinking and washing hands. A windy and muddy little trail led to the outhouse.
Realizing the value of Christian Education, the congregation opened the doors of the church for a school in September 1949. Alza Boling and Augusta Marsh were the first teachers. In 1952 Jorgen Wright donated his little Saw Shop building in Florence to the church which was moved to the Glenada site. This new school building consisted of only one room, an outside privy and an oil stove. Melvin Wright remembers fishing in a nearby stream during recess and fish-fries on the stove at lunch time. The last remaining church member who attended this school, Joey Hatch, passed away in 2016.
This church and school site served the congregation for 16 1/2 years, but was not at all comfortable and it was in a poor location. The church and school were both small, had no indoor plumbing, had a terrible road that turned to mud in winter, had wood/oil heat, and had a long list of needed repairs. In the spring of 1956, this facility was sold to the Nazarene congregation, and the Christian Church at 333 Kingwood Street in Florence was purchased.
This building served the Mapleton, Reedsport, and Florence congregations for 28 1/2 years. This whole facility was a real blessing. Being roomy and modern, the various Sabbath school divisions and the elementary school had their own classrooms. Hot water was one luxury this facility didn't have.
In the early 1980's, the congregation was getting cramped and restless for a new church complex. On August 5, 1983, the property at 4445 Highway 101 (our current location) was purchased. In March of the next year, the church on Kingwood was sold to the Methodist congregation who still use it today.