Loggers’ Lingo in the Redwoods

Every profession has its own lingo, its way of talking about its work. The timber business jargon is especially colorful, though it differs somewhat from region to region. Take the words logger and lumberjack: on the North Coast, we had loggers in the woods, but in Minnesota, lumberjacks cut trees.  My husband of 47 years has held a variety of jobs in the woods on the North Coast and he uses interesting words and phrases from time to time. One learn more…

Historic Finds at the Kelley House Book Sale

On Sunday, May 29th, the Kelley House Museum will host its annual book sale between 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM. The sale is curated by retired librarian and docent, Katy Tahja, and focuses on history, travel, gardening and cooking. Some real treasures were donated to the museum from the estate of the Malpas family. General Laws of the State of California 1909 is a worn leather-bound volume of 1,775 pages; to extend the regulatory theme, there is a soft-covered 1929 learn more…

Help Wanted. No Museum Experience Necessary!

Do you love learning about your town and talking with people curious about Mendocino’s past? The Kelley House Museum is searching for some new folks to docent in the museum or offer walking tours of the town. The job is easier than you may think! First, you get to meet interesting visitors from all over the world. Some of them have questions, some just want to wander through the house, and some prefer to soak up history while walking through learn more…

The Fate of Kibesillah

In the 1970s, the Mendocino County Historical Society sponsored the publication of “Reminiscences” by often unnamed old-timers. The Kelley House research library has many of these, including “Early Days on the Coast: True Accounts of Fort Bragg, Kibesillah and Vicinity.” No author was listed and “no responsibility was assumed for statements of facts.” It’s still fun reading. The writer stated, “the mind of this old-timer goes back to 1870,” but I think these were tales that were told, retold, and learn more…

POW Camps and Enemy Aliens

While many people are familiar with the internment camps for people of Japanese ancestry that the US government established during World War II, few folks realize this was not the only group incarcerated in California. Residents of Mendocino County born in Germany or Italy were also considered “enemy aliens.”  Starting in 1942, people of Japanese descent were considered threats to national security on the west coast and were forced to leave everything behind – homes, businesses, families – and were learn more…

Albion’s Lost Railroad

Questions about the Albion Lumber Company’s miles of railroad on the Mendocino Coast have been popping up at the Kelley House Museum recently. Here’s a review of how this little-known railroad came to be, what it did, where it went, and what remains for us to see. Albion’s first steam sawmill was built in 1854. It burned in 1867 and was rebuilt. It burned again in 1879 and was rebuilt, again. To bring logs out of the woods and down learn more…

Albion Estuary Ecology from 1949

The Albion Field Station of Pacific Union College has produced an amazing body of work after 60 years of research on myriad topics relating to the Mendocino Coast. Thirty years ago, Dr. Richard White was publishing “Mendocino Medicine and Gazetteer” and highlighted the station’s research on natural history. Here’s some information on the Albion area I’d bet most folks don’t know exists. From 1984 to 1993, White shared research fascicles (chapters) in his publications including: Ecological Studies of the Albion learn more…

Historic Postcards Find a New Home

Below is a tale of serendipity that illustrates the talents of one of our most enthusiastic (and smart) volunteers – Ms. Katy Tahja. Her ability to bring together seemingly unrelated facts and recall items from years ago make her a great storyteller and one of our most valued supporters. The chatter in the Kelley House archives sounded something like this…”Does anyone know where this pile of postcards came from? Who gave them to us? They’re OLD! This scenery is not learn more…

Incendiary Balloons in the Northwest

An event happened during World War II in Oregon that could have easily happened on the Mendocino Coast if Mother Nature’s winds had blown farther south.  On the bright spring day of May 5, 1945, a minister and his wife took a youth group on a hike in the Oregon woods near Bly, east of Klamath Falls. Christian Alliance Church leader Archie Mitchell dropped his wife and five youngsters off on a trail, then drove his car down the road learn more…

History Tidbits of Orr Hot Springs

As a Kelley House docent researching a book on the Orr Hot Springs area, I have amassed more information than I could ever possibly use in what I plan to be a small publication on the subject. While the who, what, when, where, why and how facts get arranged into chronological order, it’s the odd, poorly documented tidbits of information that keep distracting me. For those who may not know of this place, Orr Hot Springs was a popular resort learn more…