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So far Katy Tahja has created 76 blog entries.

Back When Peas Had a Chance

It’s easy to associate pears with Ukiah, apples with the Anderson Valley, hops with Hopland, and grapes with just about every inland valley, but how many of us connect peas with the Mendocino coast? Surprisingly enough, old-fashioned garden peas were once a profitable crop here. Early settlers quickly learned that the coastal marine terraces were excellent places to grow root crops like beets, turnips and potatoes, [...]

By |2022-11-17T14:30:19-08:00November 17, 2022|

How Big Was It?

It used to be unsurprising to see someone carrying a piece of produce into the Mendocino Beacon office so the editor could inspect it and determine how big it was. If it was a record-setting fruit or vegetable, it made it into the next edition of the paper. Inspection of old Beacon issues reveals some of the important local records. Americans have long been fascinated with [...]

By |2022-11-02T12:35:02-07:00November 3, 2022|

The Hippy Aesthetic

The current exhibit on Cat Mother & the All Night Newsboys, and the poster art they inspired, had curators at the Kelley House Museum in Mendocino digging through the archives and finding wonderful depictions of local folks, and flights of fantasy, produced by illustrators and cartoonists of the late 1960s and 70s. On August 14th at 3:30 p.m., “Sunday Afternoon With…the Cat Mother Illustrators” will take [...]

By |2022-08-11T01:58:00-07:00August 11, 2022|

New Museum Curator

After serving as curator at the Kelley House Museum for four years, and guiding it through the challenges of COVID, Karen McGrath has retired. Her tenure was marked by interesting projects and exciting technological advancements, and we shall miss her greatly. However, there is a silver lining: we have hired a new, young curator who could not be more perfect for the job. We welcomed Marguerite [...]

By |2022-07-21T01:43:00-07:00July 21, 2022|

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.  Large pots of Arbuckle are visible on the tables of this timber cookhouse in the Pacific [...]

By |2022-06-16T01:56:00-07:00June 16, 2022|

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. A small sample of the antiquarian treasures available at the Kelley House book sale. Some real treasures were donated to the museum from the estate of the [...]

By |2022-05-26T01:46:00-07:00May 26, 2022|

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! Juliet Way sports a Victorian outfit for her walking tours, but other guides wear whatever they put on that morning. First, [...]

By |2022-05-12T01:04:00-07:00May 12, 2022|

The Fate of Kibesillah

Village of Kibesillah in 1879. At one time, Kibesillah was one of the most important of the early north coast towns. First settled in the 1860s, the first business was a blacksmith shop in 1867. In its prime it had twenty to thirty buildings, including three hotels, three saloons, a public school and a Baptist church. Nothing of this is left – not even a sign [...]

By |2022-04-07T01:48:00-07:00April 7, 2022|

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.”  Pete and Rosa Piccolotti posing at their Big River ranch in 1930 with their children: Ida, Fred, [...]

By |2022-03-17T01:11:00-07:00March 17, 2022|

Albion’s Lost Railroad

Map illustrating the extent of the Albion Branch of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad (“Western Railroader” by Stanley T. Borden, Vol. 24, No. 12. December 1961, Issue No. 264) 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 [...]

By |2022-11-06T16:09:32-08:00February 24, 2022|

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