Making History Blog

Many of these articles have been published in the Mendocino Beacon’s Kelley House Calendar.

Kelley House, and the Coast, Lose Two Champions

Kelley House, and the Coast, Lose Two Champions
Within ten days of each other, two people fundamental to the traditions and support of the Kelley House passed away.  Chuck Bush and Martha Wagner both gave of themselves, their time and their treasure to help establish the Kelley House Museum and make it what it is today.  This is not meant to serve as an obituary for either of these benefactors, but rather a remembrance of some of their contributions to Mendocino through the Kelley House and a tribute[... see full page]

A Shipping Point Mystery

A Shipping Point Mystery
Between Tuesday, March 7th and Saturday, March 11th, some rather low tides occurred.  They are printed in red on the tide table booklet made available by the Mendocino Area Parks Association and are noted at the back of that booklet as “minus tide days.”  On the afternoon of March 7th, a Mendocino resident came by the Kelley House to let us know that he had spotted something of potential interest at the bottom of the “blow hole” out at Shipping[... see full page]

The Mean Streets of Mendocino

The Mean Streets of Mendocino
by Tonia Hurst, Kelley House Museum volunteer The Mendocino downtown of old was a wild and wooly place -- literally. Today, if you browse the narrow alleys and shops around town, or if you are driving a truck on Albion Street between the Kelley House and the MacCallum House, you can’t help but notice the narrow confines produced by on-street parking, two-way traffic, and eager tourists savoring Mendocino’s unquestionable charms. With that picture in mind, add one more thing to your[... see full page]

Hard Times

Hard Times
by Tonia Hurst, Kelley House Museum volunteer According to poet Alice Walker, “hard times require furious dancing,” though the traditional idea of a Hard Times Dance is something altogether different. Similar to the Calico Balls of the mid-nineteenth century, which were started for debutantes and morphed into Civil War-era fundraisers for soldiers and wartime widows, a Hard Times Dance was part fun and part fundraiser. In lieu of expensive silks and satins, women wore dresses made of cheap cotton calico, the idea[... see full page]

Friends in Life . . . and in the Archives

Friends in Life . . . and in the Archives
by Anne Cooper, Kelley House Museum Curator How lasting are our friendships and other relationships? Will our facebook posts exist in perpetuity? Answers to these and similar questions may not be forthcoming until we are all figures of the past. The couple shown here, if couple they were, seem to have shared some sort of relationship. It isn’t merely the photograph which suggests this, but rather what was pasted to the back of the print which measures seven by three and one[... see full page]

Caspar’s Saloons

Caspar’s Saloons
by Katy Tahja, Kelley House Museum Docent While volunteering one Sunday as a docent at the Kelley House Museum, a visitor asked, “How many saloons existed in Caspar in the old days?” I didn’t know, but replied that I’d do some research and write about it. I can now share that information. Much of what I found was in the book that featured entries from the Mendocino Beacon that discussed Caspar. We forget in our busy world today how every form of[... see full page]