Making History Blog

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

Bear and Stebbins

Bear and Stebbins
Any organization that has been around for a while acquires a history. The Kelley House Museum has a relationship with the Mendocino Coast, as a non-profit devoted to history itself. While there’s the story of the house -- the Kelley family, the town of Mendocino, its life and times, which now span three different centuries -- there’s also the history of this organization. It began with two women, Dorothy Bear and Beth Stebbins. They wanted to enjoy a place and at[... see full page]

"Hello, Central?"

"Hello, Central?"
While researching online for this article, I searched for the date when telephone service first came to Mendocino County. All sorts of hits came up, but alas, they addressed the issue of cellular service! Much of Mendocino County is still known for its remoteness, and one website actually stated that residents and visitors alike can tell when they’ve entered the confines of the county by the disappearance of their signal bars (depending on the service provider). As all serious students[... see full page]

The Remembered Earth

The Remembered Earth
by Sarah Nathe It is generally accepted that reunions are about people. You take a trip back to a place where you once lived in order to spend a couple of days with people you haven’t seen for awhile: family members, classmates, teammates, military buddies, work colleagues, summer camp friends. You spend most of the time “catching up” and reminiscing about the great times you had together whenever. That is certainly the focus of the new exhibit at the Kelley House[... see full page]

Mill Inclinations

Mill Inclinations
When thinking of working in a saw mill, many of us who have never done so have a tendency to focus solely on the space where logs were sawn into lumber; but there were other functioning spaces at “the mill” that were needed in order to arrive at that task. In short, it was all about getting the logs to the saws and then the lumber to the yards. Coming across this photograph in our collection brought to mind the fairly[... see full page]

Outlaw Dentist

Outlaw Dentist
When John F. Wheeler came to Mendocino in 1878, few would have suspected his checkered past. He was married, though we don’t know anything of his wife. He had been trained in dentistry somewhere along the way. Born about 1843, his place of birth was variously recorded as either Arkansas or the Cherokee Nation. His father was born in Tennessee and his mother in Indian Territory. Either way, he may have been raised in Oklahoma. He traveled to points west[... see full page]

Discovering Family Ties at the Temple

Discovering Family Ties at the Temple
Two families whose histories are nothing short of remarkable recently met in Mendocino. The Look family held a reunion here during the last week of July and the Hee family gathered in Mendocino the second weekend of August. Both families are descendants of people who sailed to California because of the Gold Rush. Their families contributed to the building of the town of Mendocino; their stories inform not only local history, but also that of our nation. The Looks trace their[... see full page]