By John Brooke, CCB Pastor Emeritus
The building which houses the Congregational Church of Belmont was built in 1925 as the Belle Monti Country Club, as a sales promotion for the “Country Club Estates” lots which were sold in the surrounding area. Complete with a nine-hole golf course and an Olympic-size pool (where the back parking lot now is), the ballroom included (and still does include) light fixtures which featured crossed golf clubs.
In 1981 I had a baptism for a baby, whose grandfather stood up with the family for the Sacrament. After the service he told me that where he stood for his grandson’s baptism was almost the same spot where he had played his trombone for a country club dance 50 years earlier!
The country club went bankrupt during the Depression. It stood vacant for some time, then successively was used as a military training facility during World War II, then a medical research facility by several groups, the last being the Kaiser Corporation. Mrs. Kaiser sold the property — the building essentially as it is to this day — and over four acres of land to the Northern California Conference of the United Church of Christ in 1953 for $45,000.
Usually a new church begins with a handful of folk who meet in a garage or a school until they can afford to build the first unit of their church building. In Belmont’s case, the building preceded the people. Sam Owens, a longtime member of our church family, was among a group of members from the Congregational Church of San Mateo who went door-to-door early in 1954 to find people interested in being part of this new church. . .
To read the complete history and lots more personal stories, view the 50th Anniversary Storybook.
Following are more historical photos of the CCB building.