October 5, 2004 PLNU's Secret Past
Not that they make a big secret of the fact that their campus used to belong to the Point Loma Theosophical Society, but it’d sound more mysterious if they did.
I’ve begun researching historical oddities of San Diego as source material for a novel. This is the first field trip I’ve taken along these lines.
The Theosophical Society was a predecessor to modern “New Agers”. They subscribed to a mish-mash of ancient Occidental and Oriental beliefs. In 1896 the Society purchased a parcel of land in Point Loma and set up a school…
…called the Raja Yoga School … for the primary grades, but was later expanded to reach graduate levels. Living quarters for 500 were constructed as well as “a refectory, bakery, stables, carpenter shop, smithy, machine shop, and facilities for the production of textiles and the tailoring of clothing.”
The Theosophists on Point Loma or “Lomaland” as it was often called, flourished until the late 1920s. With the death of Madame Tingley [their leader] in 1929, and the fall of the stock market the same year, the Lomaland community began to decline.
Eventually, the property fell into the hands of Pasadena Collage for thier new operations.
I was surprised how open the Point Loma Nazarene University
(a Catholic school) was about the origins of their campus. Theosophy being a competing belief system and all, but then again Theosophy is a failed (and slightly wacky) belief system…
Most of the campus is new. And most of the older building are just older buildings. With one exception; Mieras Hall.
Built in 1901 it is an octagon shaped building with a rotunda room in the center. Each of the eight walls contains three amethyst-colored windows and skylights at the base of the dome.
The Egg shaped window at the top and the odd spiral staircase on the outside that leads to the roof give me ideas for how this building might have been used for ritual purposes in a Theosophical attempt to commune with the Elder Gods.
Or maybe something more original…