Ethel Silvera

Graduation photograph of Mendocino High School senior, Ethel Silvera, 1919. (Kelley House Collection, Kelley House Photographs)

October 12, 1919 – Two automobiles collided near the intersection of Main and Lansing streets in what may have been the first car accident in town. Miss Ethel Silvera was driving a Dodge when she hit Archie Cameron of Albion. No one was injured, but the fenders of both vehicles were badly bent, and the steering gear in Archie’s car was jammed.

Ethel, who had just graduated from Mendocino High School the previous June, was working as an operator for the local telephone company. She was born in Fort Bragg to John J. and Margaret Sweetser Silvera in 1900, and her parents moved their growing family to the home on the southeast corner of Little Lake Road and Blair Street in Mendocino in 1903. Ethel was “a girl of particular charm and winsome ways and had an unusual faculty of making and retaining friends.”

By 1921, Ethel was living in Fort Bragg. She first worked as a stenographer for her uncle, A. L. Sweetser, but in September 1921, she took a position as a sales lady in Ray Enders’ Sweet Shop. After suddenly becoming ill in April 1922, Ethel was taken to the Fort Bragg hospital, where she was diagnosed with meningitis. Unfortunately, the medical treatment proved unsuccessful, and Ethel asked to leave the hospital and return to her childhood home in Mendocino. Her family brought her home in the afternoon on April 11, and she passed away that evening.

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