Left: George H. Deere (left) and his wife, Louise, circa 1886 at their home, Cosy Nook Cottage, on Mission Inn Avenue, then called 7th Street. Right: George H. Deere presided over the building of the All Souls Universalist Church.

George Henry Deere

On July 31, 1881, the first Universalist Church in the southwest U.S. was organized as the All Souls Church with Reverend Deere as the minister.
The church began to meet in a building, Riverside’s 1871 first schoolhouse, purchased for $300 and moved to a lot on the corner of Mission Inn Avenue and Market Street. The structure was remodeled and dedicated on April 29, 1883.
George Deere was the strength and inspiration behind the construction of a new building that took shape in 1891 at the corner of Lemon and Mission Inn Avenue. The $25,000 Norman and English Gothic church was designed by A.C. Willard and built by Augustus Boggs. That same year, George H. Deere became a founding trustee for the California Institute of Technology. George H. Deere was also the first President of Riverside’s Board of Library Trustees, appointed in 1888 and serving for 14 years during which time the library would be established and the money secured for a new library building from Andrew Carnegie.