Vignette 246 > Christian Science

John Rea, a Congregational minister from Oakland, retired to Mill Valley in 1897. He became a successful real estate broker and builder. He built the Keystone Block downtown and also the Congregational Church that he founded and served as its first pastor. It was on the corner of Lovell Ave. and Olive St.  His wife, Catherine Pauline Rea (nee Catherine/Cathrin Pauline Ford) developed an interest in the Christian Science faith after a Christian Science practitioner had healed the severe burns that she had suffered from an incinerator explosion.  At first she held meetings in their home, but later in another person’s home.  Mill Valley’s Christian Science Society was organized in 1907, and the Congregational Church building became a Christian Science Church. By 1912 there were 35 members. In February 1914 a Reading Room was established in the Keystone Block. In 1958, the Reading Room moved to 15 Throckmorton next to the entrance to El Paseo. It remained until 1993. In 1964 the members sold the church at Lovell and Olive after having bought 5.2 acres for a new church at 279 Camino Alto. They commissioned architect Charles Warren Callister to design the new church. Services were held in the Outdoor Art Club until the new church was built.