Kelley House Announces New Look Tin Eli Book

The Kelley House Museum in Mendocino is pleased to announce the publication of its latest book, Look Tin Eli – The Mendocino-Born Visionary Who Helped Shape the Chinese-American Experience.  With almost fifty historic images, the 114-page publication is the first to present a comprehensive life history of the innovative Look Tin Eli (LTE). Bringing together Look family memorabilia, government documents and extensive research, authors Jane Tillis and Robert Becker have told a remarkable story. As a teenager returning home from learn more…

Rediscovering the Kelleys

The Kelleys were in the town of Mendocino at its founding in 1852. And over these last many years, we thought we had come to know a lot about them.  However, new research has shed more light on the interesting lives of this pioneer family. Using internet search capabilities not available to earlier scholars, coupled with fresh materials recently brought to the Kelley House Museum from family descendants, volunteer Carol Dominy and curator Karen McGrath have assembled information that expands learn more…

A Kelley House Holiday Celebration

December 4, 2021 Family fun with Santa and a toast to William Kelley’s 200th Birthday! VISIT SANTA 3:30-4:30 PM Bring your family and your holiday good cheer to snap a perfect picture standing next to Santa on our porch! Cookies and cider provided. Suggested donation: $5 HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE 5-7 PM After Santa leaves for the North Pole, join us as we toast the bicentennial birthday of William Kelley and the 160th anniversary of the Kelley House itself! We’re decking learn more…

William Kelley Turns 200 Years Old

This week we celebrate the bicentennial of William Henry Kelley’s birth. And who is this W. H. Kelley? That is a question many people visiting the Kelley House Museum want answered when they walk through the door. He was a remarkable man, and his tale is worth telling. William Kelley was born at Morell, Prince Edward Island, Canada, November 2nd, 1821, to Peter and Elizabeth (Webster) Kelley. As the oldest in a family of eight, he began his working life learn more…

History Mystery

The Kelley House Museum could use your help in identifying this group of intriguing women. As the original paper matt frame indicates, the photograph was taken by the Fitch and King photography studio in Fort Bragg. We estimate the date between 1904 to 1914. Could this be your great grandmother and her friends? Why are they gathered together at the studio? How are they related? Please contact Karen McGrath at curator@kelleyhousemuseum.org with any clues you might have.

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…