Duncan Walker

Westward view of Main Street in Mendocino, February 1883. A pair of mules pulls a wagon down the graded dirt street lined with wooden sidewalks. On the right is a two-story building occupied by Walker's Saloon and Restaurant. Farther down the street beyond the small tree is Central House, which eventually became the Mendocino Hotel.
Westward view of Main Street in Mendocino, February 1883. A pair of mules pulls a wagon down the graded dirt street lined with wooden sidewalks. On the right is a two-story building occupied by Walker’s Saloon and Restaurant. Farther down the street beyond the small tree is Central House, which eventually became the Mendocino Hotel.

April 26, 1883 – Duncan Walker, owner of Walker’s Saloon and Restaurant on Main Street, died suddenly of pneumonia.

Born near Montreal, Canada about 1848, Duncan came to the Mendocino Coast around 1869. An early settler of the region, he built a cabin on his ranch property just north of Kibesillah. H. E. Whipple described him as, “a very capable and faithful hand on the farm or in the redwoods.” Around 1875, Duncan became one of the coast’s first stagecoach drivers, running a stage line, daily except Sundays, between Mendocino and Kibesillah. In 1878, he was also awarded a contract to carry the mail between these two towns.

In May 1882, Duncan was seriously injured in a run-away stagecoach accident and endured a long recuperation due to a broken knee. A few months later, he sold his stagecoach business and purchased a lot on Main Street in Mendocino. He built Walker’s Saloon and Restaurant on this site, which he ran until he died. After Duncan’s death, this property was purchased by Hiram Seavey and operated as the Alhambra Hotel. The building was demolished in 1924, when the bungalow that currently houses Prentice Gallery was built at this location.

Duncan was buried in Evergreen Cemetery the day after his death. Funeral services were held by Rev. J. S. Ross, who was “long and intimately acquainted with the deceased. This unexpected event brought several persons from other localities, relatives and old friends.” In Kibesillah, “the flag was placed at half-mast while the funeral of Duncan Walker was progressing.”

More historical photos of Mendocino available in “Perley Maxwell’s Mendocino,” by Bruce Levene. Includes the Mendocino High School Photography Students 2002 Then & Now Project. $25.