The Saloon in the Garden

William Wetherbee Gibbs, whose nickname was “Sam Slick,” operated a saloon out of the front of his Main Street home in the 1870s. Originally, built about 1866, Sam Slick’s Saloon was located just west of the Mendocino Hotel, in the space now occupied by its restaurant. When Mr. Gibbs died, his widow, Petta Van Treat, leased the saloon in 1883 to Jacob Hanson, who named it the Buffalo Saloon. In his advertisements, he invited his friends and the general public learn more…

The Frolic Shipwreck

In 1850, the Baltimore-built Clipper Frolic, en-route to Gold-Rush San Francisco from China, wrecked on a reef just north of today’s Point Cabrillo Light Station. Her story is among the most fascinating in California shipwreck history and is called “the most significant shipwreck on the west coast” by historians. Artifacts and interpretive materials from the shipwreck of the Frolic are on permanent exhibit.

Exhibit on Native Americans

Pomos lived along the Mendocino Coast for thousands of years prior to European settlement in 1850. Pomo simply means “the people.” In 1855, the federal government established the Mendocino Indian Reservation on 25,000 acres between the Noyo and Ten Mile Rivers, with its military headquarters located in what is now the business center of the town of Fort Bragg, ten miles north of Mendocino. It is reported that by 1857, thousands of Native Americans (not all Pomo) had been rounded learn more…

Calling for a Stamp Collector

The Kelley House Museum is on the lookout for a local stamp collector who can help them evaluate three albums of First Day Stamp Covers. An inquiring mind might ask, “What is a First Day Cover?”  With the debut of new U.S. postage stamp designs, people can, for one single day, go to a post office and buy an envelope and on it would be the new stamp cancelled (postmarked) with the day’s date. Some enthusiasts never missed the issuing learn more…

Jewelry for Doors

Vintage Doorknobs from the Larry Sawyer and Harriet Bye Collection Vintage, decorative doorknobs fill the display cases at the Kelley House Museum in the latest installment of the Coastal Collections series. Colorful, intricate, charming, and functional, this assemblage provides a peek into some of the everyday objects people handled in former days. This collection of ornate door hardware is on loan from Larry Sawyer and Harriet Bye, who have lived for many years on the Mendocino coast, and operate as learn more…

Big News at Big River

Last year, the Kelley House was the lucky recipient of numerous items from the David J. Russell Estate. His generous children, Ann, David, Libby and Peter, offered us boxes of photographic prints and scanned negatives that capture their father’s fascination with the Mendocino Coast, (including the activities of the Mendocino Volunteer Fire Department), as well as maps and surveys he had made in his role as a surveyor. They also gave us many copies of “Big River News,” which was learn more…

Then and Now on Howard Street

Two images, taken almost 100 years apart, showing the house located on the southeast corner of Howard and Ukiah Streets in Mendocino.  A Category I historical structure, it was designed and built in 1883 by A. F. Carmichael as a residence for restauranteur and hotel owner W. T. Wilson. Starting in 1887, Dr. William McCornack rented the structure and operated the co-operative Mendocino Hospital there until 1895, when he moved the hospital to Main Street in a building next to learn more…

Meet the Ocean Wave Quilters

“Sunday Afternoon With The Ocean Wave Quilters” will be presented August 15  from 4-5PM in the Escola Room of the Kelley House Museum. This is an opportunity to meet the creators of the museum’s summer display, Quilted Iconic Buildings of Mendocino. $7 public, $5 members. In July of 2019, one of the Ocean Wave Quilters members, Cindi Jo Willey, issued a challenge to guild members to make 18” x 18” quilts of Mendocino’s iconic buildings, to be completed by July learn more…

Quilted Iconic Buildings of Mendocino

The Kelley House’s summer exhibit, “Quilted Iconic Buildings of Mendocino” runs July 2 – August 31. The museum is open Friday – Sunday, 11am – 3pm. Twenty-five different historical buildings are colorfully rendered on 18” x 18” quilt squares, individually pieced and stitched by members of the Ocean Wave Quilters. In an extraordinary display of history meets art, iconic buildings are brought to life, including the Temple of Kwan Tai, the Presbyterian Church, the MacCallum House, the Kelley House Water learn more…

Mendocino Rockhounds

Kelley House docents David and Katy Tahja are rockhounds. Their idea of a perfect day is being out in the middle of no place with interesting rock samples peeking out of an easily accessible creek bed. Their explorations have taken them to the empty back country of California, Oregon, Nevada, Colorado, and Wyoming, following leads they gleaned from books, maps, websites, government publications, and word-of-mouth. While both of them took geology in college, neither consider themselves geologists. Says Katy, “We’re learn more…