Lost in the Mendocino Blow Hole

There are tales, harrowing stories, which have been told and re-told for 167 years about the ship that was sucked into the blow hole in Mendocino Bay. Are they true? Sidebar – we are not talking about the blow hole with a fence around it at The Point on the Mendocino Headlands. But, if you stand there, then turn eastward and look across the Bay at the rocky cliffs to the right of the highway bridge over Big River, you learn more…

A Short History of the Redwood Center Building

This unique building is called THE REDWOOD CENTER and was built in 1966 by Kenneth Ricksecker, one of the original developers of Surfwood Estates.  Located at the curvy south entrance to Mendocino, where Main Street meets Highway 1, the building’s large .84-acre site is just east of Evergreen Cemetery. The lot is actually “new land” composed of mostly fill dirt that lies over former pasture along what was a section of LeBallister Gulch. It was all covered up and made learn more…

Otis and Annie

Of the four children born at the Kelley home in Mendocino, Otis is the most elusive. Details are missing and you can’t help wondering what really happened with him. Big sister Daisy did things in a grand way – from touching the tomb goods of King Tut, to her generous and giving spirit. People today still remember Daisy MacCallum. Older brother Russell, dying at the age of twenty-three, has only a brief history that is memorable because of its poignancy. learn more…

Daisy MacCallum, A Mendocino Matriarch

So much has already been written about Emma Shirley “Daisy” Kelley MacCallum. What more can be said?  Well, plenty. The recent research we’ve been doing at the Kelley House Museum has given us so much information that it should be made into a documentary, or least a good biography. Any writers out there looking for a fascinating project? Born in Mendocino in 1859, the oldest of William and Eliza Kelley’s four children, Daisy is fondly remembered as a generous, intelligent, learn more…

Remembering Eliza Kelley’s Legacy

This fourth installment in our series about the Kelley family features its matriarch, Eliza. Elizabeth Lee Owen was the daughter of Arthur Owen, a Welshman, and Mary Jardine from Scotland. Born in Cardigan, on Prince Edward Island, April 8th, 1825, she lived in Charlottetown until her marriage to William Henry Kelley in 1855, after which the couple made the long trip from the east coast of Canada to California.  It is presumed the newlyweds sailed by schooner to Colon and learn more…

Kelley House Celebrates 160 Years

“W. H. Kelly now in the house.”  This short entry in William Henry Kelly’s notebook from 1861 establishes the Kelley family in their new house 160 years ago. While it’s always remarkable when a wooden structure lasts so many years in this coastal climate, what is also noteworthy is this house was in the hands of one family for most of that time. Unlike other pioneer families of Mendocino who left before the turn of the twentieth century, the Kelleys learn more…

Partners Gallery at the Beacon Building

This past summer, Partners Gallery, a long-time contributor to the local art scene, moved into the 150-year-old Beacon Building on Ukiah Street in Mendocino. The new occupants contacted the Kelley House to learn more about this historic structure, since so many people who came in to look at the artwork were also curious about the setting. What was with the big black safe?  The not unexpected answer to that question – it was once a bank. The Beacon Building is learn more…

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…