The Packard Homestead

On the far side of Mendocino, at the east end of Main Street, there is a narrow ribbon of pavement just a few blocks long now called Evergreen Avenue. Its name doesn’t conform to the protocol that most of the other north-south streets follow, which reflects the last names of early families, such as Lansing, Kelley, and Heeser. It refers instead to the nearby cemetery. But it once had another name – Packard Avenue – and this has an interesting learn more…

Biggest on Earth History Mystery

We need some help from the public – what are these people doing? Several years ago the Kelley House Museum was given this vintage photograph taken around 1924 showing a scene on Main Street, Mendocino. We see costumed performers in front of the former Ford House, which has a large sign on the roof that reads, “BIGGEST ON EARTH.” The writing on the back of the photo identifies the people: “Black horse, Tambo” (David Elviro Tamborini ?), Gray horse Vernon learn more…

Tenez for Mendocino

With the 2021 Wimbledon Tennis Championships wrapped up, let’s take a look at where tennis was played in Mendocino. Kelley House has documented five tennis courts in town, starting in 1892 at the Morgan residence on Little Lake Street. At present, this is the site of the Art Center, but from 1890 to 1956, the town’s only bona fide mansion occupied most of this site. It had a glass conservatory, an elaborate, enclosed water tower and windmill, and enough flat learn more…

Highlight Gallery at Odd Fellows

With the Highlight Gallery now in residence at the Odd Fellows Hall on Kasten at Ukiah Streets, one of Mendocino’s venerable landmarks is once again brought back to life. For several years it has stood mostly empty – but the doors are open again. Beautiful objects occupy the well-lit, high-ceilinged rooms, and voices fill the air like it did 143 years ago. It was 1878 when Stellar Lodge No. 213 of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows constructed this special learn more…

Flong but not Forgotten

The Kelley House has two postcards with photographs of the now gone Southside Hotel in Albion. Until recently, that’s about all we had to remember the once popular complex of buildings that Bob Kerr and Joe Rushing started in 1903.  The hotel was located on the Coast Road near the draw bridge which once carried traffic over the Albion River, and incorporated for its dining room and kitchen an existing building once occupied by Jon Newgard’s old store.The main part learn more…

The Jasperson House

Tom Burnham, a friend and supporter of the Kelly House, wanted to know the story of his house on School Street. He’d heard something about a sea captain named Jasperson and someone falling on their nose, but that was about it.  A review of our Historic Structures files gave us some information, but it was clear we needed to roll up our sleeves and do some in-depth “house genealogy.” Like tracing a family tree, a building that has stood for learn more…

Paving Our Ways

Concrete Sidewalks Come to Mendocino by Karen McGrath and Carol Dominy This charming photograph, taken by our very own Mendocino photographer, Perley Maxwell, captures a group of friends, family, and neighbors on Christmas Day, 1906.  At the front, the smiling man on the left with beard and bowler is Dr. Frank Peirsol. Behind him stands Henry Jarvis, co-owner of the Jarvis & Nichols general store on the corner of Kasten and Main Streets (Gallery Bookstore today) and also the owner learn more…

An Ocean View House

Recently, the Kelley House received an email from a woman named Heather requesting any history we might have on a house located at 11275 Lansing Street. We love questions like this, as we’ve been collecting information on structures and the people who occupied them for almost 50 years, and we’re eager to share what we have. But we were stumped. The inquirer called it “the McCloud House.” Database and file searching revealed no such house or persons of that name learn more…

Mendocino’s Community Library

The latest chapter in the library history of Mendocino began back in 1974, when the Mendocino Study Club, keeper of the community’s lending library, was faced once again with the task of finding a new home for its club rooms, and also for its ever-growing collection of books. As we covered in an earlier column, the Club rooms in the much loved Kellieowen Hall, on the corner of Lansing and Ukiah Street, had to be vacated when Daisy MacCallum’s heirs learn more…

The Study Club Library

Our previous column bookmarked the story of Mendocino’s many libraries at the part where the venerable Mendocino Study Club has become the patron for the town’s bibliophiles.  In 1938, the Club unexpectedly needed another place to hold their meetings. Since 1924, they had convened for business and pleasure on the second floor of the old Templar’s Hall – coincidentally the location of the town’s first (short-lived) lending library, located on the south side of Main Street, across from the Hotel learn more…