It was in Switzerland that J. N. Andrews had begun his work in 1874 and started to publish as he was learning the French language. Here in Basel he died and was buried in 1883.
In the late 1870s literature from America reached the countries of northern Europe. In various places the minds of individuals, in one way or another, were called to the Sabbath truth, and workers were sent to augment Andrews' work. The interests of the church stretched out of France, Germany, Italy, and Romania, and companies of believers emerged. With minimal steps in organization, what came to be known as the Central European Mission developed. Work that had begun in Norway, Denmark, and Sweden culminated rather quickly in what were designated as the Norway and Denmark conferences. In England the work was known as the British Mission.
At a meeting attended by S. N. Haskell in Switzerland in 1882, the several emerging units were bound together in a parent organization known as the European Missionary Council. Each of the local organizations was managed by a committee; the chairman of each was an ex-officio member of the European Missionary Council, which met annually.
In 1884 George I. Butler attended the second annual meeting of the European Missionary Council, held in Basel. At that time the loosely organized Central European Mission, the largest and strongest of the four local organizations in Europe, became the Swiss Conference. Organizational plans were perfected, and the decision was made to build a publishing house in Basel.
The publishing house, recently completed, was constructed of stone and consisted of three levels. In the subbasement were the furnace and two gas motors that provided power for the presses. The next level, the ground floor, provided room for the presses, bindery, stereotype foundry, storage space for the paper, and some storage space for the families living above. On the main floor to the right was the meeting hall, with seating capacity for 300; the other half was given to the business offices and the folding and mailing rooms.
Typesetting was done on the second floor; here also were rooms for the editors, translators, and proofreaders. On the left side there was some family housing. The third floor was devoted entirely to living apartments.