REV. ELI FAY, D. D., was a minister of the Gospel whose zeal, labors and
high character made him widely known over America and England. Doctor Fay
spent his later years in Southern California, and was a greatly beloved
preacher and citizen of Los Angeles and Pasadena. lie founded and built the
old Unitarian Church at Seventh and Broadway at Los Angeles.
He was born in Orleans County, New York, November 8, 1822, and died, at the
age of seventy-seven, in Pasadena August 10, 1899. His home had been in
California since 1886. He was one of a large family of fourteen children.
His parents were poor and hard working people, and Eli had to make his own
living from the age of eleven. He educated himself, and after entering the
ministry he lived for some years in New York City, being identified with
what was then called the Christian denomination, a liberal church. During
the following eighteen years he preached in various Unitarian churches in
and around Boston. From there he went abroad to England and for seven years
held a pulpit in Sheffield. In 1882, on account of the failing health of
himself and wife, he returned to the United States and in 1886 settled in
Southern California. At one time he owned the corner of Fifth and Broadway,
where the Fifth Street Store now stands, and also owned the corner of
Seventh and Broadway, where he built the Unitarian Church, which in later
years was burned, and the site is now occupied by the Loew State Building.
He also preached in the old Opera House at First and Main streets. His home
was in Pasadena, and there was no more familiar, beloved figure in the
community than Doctor Fay. He was a man of the people, and his life was
consecrated to their welfare. Even in advanced years his interest in the
affairs of Pasadena never waned. He retained his membership in the Unitarian
Church at Los Angeles, and until the retirement of Doctor Thomson, a year or
so before his death, he attended with much regularity and was a power in
Doctor Fay was three times married. He was survived by his last wife, whose
maiden name was Harriet Kelsey. He had no children. He was great-uncle of G.
Hamilton Fay, a prominent Los Angeles business man, president and general
manager of the Fay Laundry. Doctor Fay was deeply interested in educational
progress, and among other institutions which benefited from his efforts was
Antioch College of Ohio.
"California & Californians", edited by Rockwell D. Hunt, A.M., Ph.D.
Volume III, published by the Lewis Publishing Company, 1930.