Making History Blog

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

1939 Golden Gate International Expo

1939 Golden Gate International Expo
by Katy Tahja, Kelley House Museum Volunteer I wish I could have gone to the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition. At a recent book sale I picked up the official guide book, priced 25 cents, and was fascinated by the attractions offered, even if they happened 78 years ago. Called a World’s Fair, it lasted from February 18 to December 2, 1939, and featured nations on parade with art and industry added to make a pageant of the Pacific for 20 million[... see full page]

Last Days of Mendocino’s Mill

Last Days of Mendocino’s Mill
Seeing Mendocino as it is today, it may be difficult to think of the town as a mill town, but it certainly was. The mill was central to the existence of the town, and to the presence of the other towns which came into being as a result of the lumber industry. The mill’s beginning is well-documented, with the players named and the chronology established. The end of the mill, however, seems to be a somewhat different story. There is[... see full page]

The Joy of Pickling

The Joy of Pickling
The Kelley House recently received a bound booklet containing a handwritten collection of recipes given to Elise A. Drexler by San Francisco friends in 1898. Elise was born into the William and Eliza Kelley family in 1866, Daisy’s younger sister. It is hard to imagine her with so much as a pin curl out of place or a bead of sweat on her brow, but she must have had a talent in the kitchen and a desire to share with[... see full page]

A Rancher's Daughter's Fourth of July

A Rancher's Daughter's Fourth of July
Edith Kent Conway was born into Little River’s pioneering Kent family on August 5, 1901. She kept a diary, which is part of the Kelley House Museum collection, from January to October of 1938. In reading her brief diary entries, one gets the sense that her life was occupied almost entirely by work. She must have been an amazing cook, turning out cakes and pies, roasting meat and making stews on a near daily basis. The men worked hard, too,[... see full page]

Never Say "Cheese"

Never Say "Cheese"
by Sarah Nathe At the opening of the new exhibit on Mendocino photographers at the Kelley House, “Framing History: Worth a Thousand Words,” a couple visitors wondered why people did not smile in those old photos.  Was it because they had bad teeth?  Or because it was easier to hold a stone face during the long exposure times required by early cameras?  Perhaps it was because those Victorians simply weren’t fun people? A little online research shed light on the topic.  While[... see full page]

London Calling

London Calling
by Tonia Hurst On June 19, 1911, Jack London, the notorious bad boy of literature, rumbled into Mendocino City driving a four-in-hand stagecoach. A regular visitor to Greenwood (Elk), and to the Vichy Hot Springs near Ukiah, London had canvassed Mendocino County on horseback after the 1906 earthquake. At the height of his prolific career, he was hired by the North of Bay Counties Association to promote tourism in the area. Though modern advertising was still in its infancy, the story was slated[... see full page]