The acquisition of the Kelley House for an organizational headquarters began in earnest a year later. In 1975 the house and property were deeded to the organization by Robert O. Peterson, founder of the Jack In The Box fast food chain, and then owner of the Mendocino Hotel. Peterson’s roots were in early Mendocino; his father was born here and his grandfather worked in the mill. Through community engagement, energetic fundraising (and some general arm twisting), the restoration of the 114 year old building was eventually completed.
In 1993 an environmentally controlled vault was constructed, which allows the Kelley House to safely store the 10,000+ donated photographs and artifacts. It is the only museum-quality storage and research facility open to the public on the Mendocino coast.