After the General Conference session in August 1875, James and Ellen White were eager to get back to their new home in Oakland and to the publishing house now in operation, stocked with the machinery and supplies purchased by James White in New York City and sent by train to Oakland. Before leaving for California, however, they attended camp meetings in Vermont, Maine, and New York.
After an absence of five months they reached Oakland on the evening of September 24 and spent the night at their own home on Eleventh Street. The carpenters had begun construction of this house when they had left in April. The next thing that attracted their attention was the office building on the same block, commenced some weeks after they had left, and brought nearly to completion about a month previously.
In an article published in both the Signs of the Times and the Review and Herald, titled "How We Found Things," James gave a glowing report:
The appearance of this building from the outside is fine. The arrangement inside from the basement to the attic is admirable. The room in the basement is valuable. The several rooms of the two stories of the building are next to perfection in arrangement and conveniences. And there are four valuable finished rooms in the attic. In the rear of the main building and separated from it the distance of eleven feet is the brick engine house.
And all will cost less than first calculated, and are much better than first expected, owing principally to the ability and faithfulness of Brother O. B. Jones, who took successful charge of our three printing houses andour college building at Battle Creek, Michigan (ST, Oct. 7, 1875).
We found the Cottrell and Babcock, first-class, four-roller, air-spring, drum-cylinder printing press, and the Universal job press in the new building in complete running order, driven by the New York safety engine from Babcock and Wilcox. Only six weeks before these were doing good printing on the Pacific Coast they were lying at the freight warehouse across the continent in New York City waiting for shipment (ibid.).
He reported that friends of the cause in California were meeting their pledges, and it was his hope that by New Year's enough would have come in to pay for both the office building and the building site. He added:
Our eastern brethren have come nobly up to the work of raising means to furnish the Oakland office with presses, engine, types, binders' machinery, et cetera. We have already two presses, engine, paper cutter and book trimmer, standing press, and types and material sufficient to print the Signs. These are all paid for at a cost, including transportation and setting up, of $6,500, and there are eastern funds on hand to purchase more material, and more pledged by our liberal eastern people to make the Signs office a complete book and job printing office where as good work may be done as anywhere on the continent (ibid.).