July 17, 1930 – J. W. Moore and P. W. Cleary flew their airplane from Ukiah to Mendocino. What had been a day-long trip in a horse-drawn carriage only a few years before was now completed in just 25 minutes.

Aerial view of the town of Mendocino and mouth of Big River looking east, c. 1941-1958. (Kelley House Collection, Kelley House Photographs)

The aviators taught at a flight school in Ukiah and had started out that morning with Fort Bragg in mind as their destination. After reaching the coast, they concluded that Mendocino looked like a good landing place. They first circled over Mendocino before executing a pretty landing on the former racetrack field at the Heeser Ranch west of town.

They remained for a few days taking passengers on short sight-seeing flights. Some flew as far east as Comptche, others went up and down the coast, while some ascended directly over the town providing a great view of the surrounding countryside.

See our summer exhibit, “Quilted Iconic Buildings of Mendocino” – 26 iconic buildings, including the Temple of Kwan Tai, the Presbyterian Church, the MacCallum House, the Mendocino Hotel, and the Kelley House Water Tower, brought to life on 18” x 18” quilt squares by members of the Ocean Wave Quilters. The Museum is open 11am-3pm on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.