Former Taiwanese President Visits Oneonta Church

Taiwan’s immediate former president Ma Ying-jeou made a stop in South Pasadena earlier this week on his third overseas trip since his term ended in May of last year.

Ma joined several members of Oneonta Congregational Church along with Senior Minister Reverend Lincoln Skinner on Tuesday morning for the quick visit.

Oneonta’s Redwood Chapel and two trees, a magnolia and a sycamore, were points of interest during the visit. It was here that Sun Yat-sen, the founding father of the Republic of China, stayed for two-and-a-half weeks with Charles Beach Boothe in 1910—then the mayor of South Pasadena who lived in a mansion on the Oneonta Congregational Church grounds.

During his historical visit, Sun Yat-sen personally planted a magnolia tree and though there are disputed reports, a sycamore tree. He also prayed in the Redwood Chapel that was visited Tuesday by Ma.

Pedro Chan, a Chinese Historical Society of Southern California member-at-large, greeted the group and spoke of the history of the site.

Chan and Reverend Skinner shared how Sun and Boothe had a contract for support of Sun’s revolution signed in March of 1910. The contract stated Boothe would help Sun raise $10 million in exchange for a 99-year concession that would enable him to build and operate all railroads in mainland China, control and operate the Central Bank of China, maintain a monopoly over all coinage minted in China, and have free reign to exploit China’s coal and precious and semi-precious metals. The mansion and site became the Oneonta Congregational Church in 1950.

The former Taiwanese president also stopped at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens to tour the gardens and view several rare manuscripts. Later that day, Ma participated in a roundtable forum held by the Pacific Council on International Policy before boarding a plane heading back to Taiwan that evening.