October 15, 2003 – A dying Monterey Cypress tree on the Kelley House lawn was cut down. “We are very sad about it coming down, but we can’t afford to endanger anyone,” local historian and long time resident Dee Lemos said.

Rich and Jack Lemos estimated the tree to be 100 to 125 feet tall, making it the third-largest cypress on the Mendocino Coast. Although there’s no record of when the tree was planted, it was known as “Daisy’s Tree” because it’s believed Daisy Kelley MacCallum helped her father William Kelley plant it when she was a child.

Large tree, cut near its base, leans to the right

Felling of the Monterey Cypress tree on the Kelley House Lawn, 2003. Tonk stands just to the right of the tree. Kelley House board members and director are standing on the porch. (Photographer: Bill Brazill)

The issue of removing the tree first came before the Mendocino Historical Review Board in early summer. Mendocino County Planning Department staff explained that the cypress tree was diseased and had become a terrible liability for Kelley House.

Bill Jacobson, the project chair and a resident of Mendocino, recounted the discussions, saying, “When we initially went to the historical review board, some people were opposed to it. They talked about trying to nourish the tree or some sort of enhancement in order to save it.” An arborist was consulted, who pointed out the dead limbs at the top and scarred marks halfway around the base, indicating underlying issues with the roots. Due to the extent of disease in the old tree, the Mendocino Historical Review Board approved its removal in the interest of public safety.

Mendocino High School teacher Bill Brazill took the accompanying photo as part of a school project with a 35mm film camera on a tripod. Bill’s students did a survey and determined that Daisy’s Tree was the largest tree in town at the time.

The tree felling crew was led by Tatanka Russell of Tonk’s Tree Service in Fort Bragg assisted by David Lindstrom and Shane Welter of Big River Tree Service.

Haunted Mendocino Walking Tour – Wear your sweater since you’re bound to get goosebumps listening to the ghostly tales of some of Mendocino’s more infamous residents. We’ll stop at the homes, hideouts, and hangouts of all the well-known specters, and learn a little of the town’s history along the way. Gaze into a mirror where people have seen a woman in Victorian dress looking back at them. Peer into the waves in search of a stallion and the rider who took it into the sea. Did you know not all hauntings are about scary visions or terrifying noises, but that some ghosts haunt with scents? What is that thing that goes bump in the night, followed by sounds of a taut rope swinging from the rafters? Why can guests hear the pitter patter of pets in a building where pets aren’t allowed? What is the area’s oldest known ghost story? And how many spooks haunt the streets of Mendocino? All questions will be answered on this hour and a half long tour through Haunted Mendocino. Join us… if you’re not too scared. October 28 @ 5PM. $25.