Lumberjack Lingo

by Katy Tahja, Kelley House Museum docent Browsing the shelves of the library in the Kelley House Museum Research Office, I found “Lumberjack Lingo” by L.G. Sorden written in 1969. While it’s focused on how vocabulary was adapted to walking around the Great Lakes states, many of those walkers moved west and brought their terms with them. The cookhouse in a logging camp provided many unique terms. If a logger asked for cackleberries, slush, sow bosom, doorknobs and skid grease, learn more…

Rail Lines and Damp April Mornings

The scene is Mendocino’s Shipping Point. The characters are unnamed crew members of the steamer Noyo, longshoremen and a railroad crew of three. The time is 90 years ago this week, April 11, 1928 to be exact. According to the Mendocino Beacon, at approximately 7:30 in the morning of that day, an accident occurred involving eight railcars and 33,000 board feet of lumber. Oh, yes, there was also gravity, and the physics involved in wet rail lines. It must have learn more…

Happy Birthday, Hazel

A little girl in a wicker chair holds a parrot. She is gazing down at the toy and dressed in a white, ruffled gown. Meet Hazel Packard Dennison, born on this day in 1897. She was the youngest of eight children who, along with her parents Charles Oscar and Hannah Cline Packard, made up one of the better known families of historic Mendocino. The original photograph, one of a series of three cut into a strip not unlike those that learn more…

What’s in an Archive?

Do you have a box or two in the back of your closet or a file drawer filled with “stuff” that you may or may not go through before passing to the next world? That must have been what happened to Augie Heeser. Some of the things from his lifetime have found a home in the Kelley House Museum and archives. August Alfred Heeser, son of William and Laura Heeser, was a person of some means and a man of learn more…

Dancing ‘Till Dawn

What is the appeal of a dance? Especially to the folks living and working around here in the old days, did they really need more exercise? No, it wasn’t about the exercise; it was about being amongst people, particularly people from outside one’s immediate environs. It was about getting cleaned up, putting on some nice clothes, being on one’s best behavior and maybe meeting someone new. Even if you didn’t meet that special someone, you could at least say you’d learn more…

Photographic Revelations

Delving into the past can often take one in unexpected directions. That has certainly been my experience conducting research at the Kelley House. This photograph of Gus and Alma Jacobs Mendosa represents an example. We think this was taken either some time before or shortly after their wedding, which occurred on June 29, 1927. It appears that the two of them attended an outing in the woods. At least four vehicles are parked in a clearing behind them and other learn more…

Bonds and Bravery

One of the big stories covered by the Mendocino Beacon 88 years ago this week was the election requesting the passage of bonds to rebuild Mendocino’s grammar school. The “old school,” which had been constructed in 1885, had burned in December 1929. The election was held on March 3, 1930. No lives were lost in the December fire of 1929, although Arthur Lemos had a bad fall while climbing down from the roof! As reported in the Beacon, the fire learn more…

Accidents Will Happen

Whether you have lived on the North Coast for a lifetime or you are just passing through it is clear that this part of the world, with all its attendant beauty, can be a dangerous place. The early days were marked by various accidents, many of which happened in the context of the lumber industry. Inside the mill near whirring saws and slippery belts, working the mill pond, or out in the woods falling and transporting trees, there were multiple learn more…

A Memorable Class

When created in 1865, the historic Little River school district had an average daily attendance of nine pupils. By 1874, a larger school building was needed and it was built on the east side of the road which became Highway 1, on the north side of School House Creek. In 1877, with a school population of 70, a new school was built on a site about one quarter of a mile south of the Little River Inn, on property donated learn more…

Business As Usual

by Katy Tahja, Kelley House Museum docent In exploring the archives of the Kelley House Museum, I discovered a list of business establishments existing in Mendocino in 1883. Here is a sample of the variety of commercial enterprises, which formed the business district 135 years ago, as listed in the Mendocino Beacon. There were seven hotels in the town, one of which was “dry” serving no liquor. Four hotels had stables and two had restaurants, one with a liquor bar learn more…