April 16, 1880 – Mendocino Coast pioneer Albert Maxwell died at 4pm at his home in Mendocino, “after a lingering and painful sickness,” according to the Beacon. Albert, a well-known carpenter and builder, had constructed the home at 45164 Little Lake Street just two years earlier.

Born in Cape Elizabeth, Maine in 1829, Albert married Jane Randall in 1852. The couple had two daughters before Albert left for California, arriving in Mendocino County in 1861. He established a home three miles north of Mendocino in Pine Grove, and Jane and their daughters joined him there in 1867. Their son Perley was born the following year, and in the summer of 1872, the family moved to Mendocino.

Albert “was well known as an industrious man, a good citizen and a useful member of society.” In addition to the Maxwell home, he built several other structures that can still be seen in Mendocino. L. A. Morgan contracted with Albert in 1877 to build the home and water tower on the northeast corner of Kasten and Little Lake Streets (now the Packard House Inn). In 1878, he built a home for Eugene Brown on Main Street (now a private residence just east of Circa) and another at 45271 Ukiah Street for Albertus T. Rogers. That same year, Albert built the first Odd Fellows Hall on the southwest corner of Kasten and Ukiah Streets, which now houses Highlight Gallery.

Church Interior with pews, looking towards front of chapel

Mendocino Presbyterian Church Interior, 1868. (Gift of Alice Earl Wilder)

Albert was also the builder of the Mendocino Presbyterian Church on Main Street. Designed by S. C. Bugbee & Son of San Francisco, the church is constructed of prime growth redwood, milled in Mendocino. Construction began on Oct. 7, 1867, and the finished building was dedicated on July 5, 1868. It is the oldest Presbyterian Church in continuous use in Northern California.

In August of 1879, Albert went to San Francisco to seek treatment for cancer. He returned home in January, following an operation to remove a tumor from his neck. “Mr. Maxwell, however, informs us that his health is not as good as when he left here, as the doctors could not succeed in effectually removing the cancer.” Albert’s health continued to decline following his return to Mendocino.

Albert was buried in Evergreen Cemetery, after a funeral conducted by Mendocino Lodge No. 70. A. O. U. W., a lodge Albert had helped organize in 1878. Survivors included his wife Jane, daughters Arabell McKee and Ardell Jarvis, and 11-year-old son, Perley. “The funeral was one of the largest ever held here, and the large number of friends present from neighboring towns testified to the regard felt for him.”

Join us for a special tribute to the beloved actress, Angela Lansbury on Friday, May 5, 5pm-8pm. The evening begins with a hosted reception at the Blair House Inn, followed by a screening of clips from Angela Lansbury’s career at the Matheson Theater. $60 Members, $70 for General Public.