August 28, 1937 – The high school’s new gymnasium was dedicated with a dance that was open to the public. The Beacon reported that almost 550 people attended the dance, which was sponsored by the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA). The PTA President was Mamie Mendosa.

Two-story gymnasium building

First Mendocino High School Gym, c. 1954

Dancing started about 9 o’clock, and “the floor is in excellent shape and will accommodate a larger crowd than any hall on the coast.” Music was provided by the popular Coast Harmonizers who played the latest dance melodies “till the wee hours of the early morning.” The ladies of the PTA prepared a chicken supper which was served at midnight on the lower floor of the building.

“Door prizes have been donated by various business houses in Mendocino and Fort Bragg. Electrical pieces such as a percolator, hot point iron, Silex coffee maker, a toaster, and other appliances will be awarded to the holder of the lucky numbers, other prizes include ten gallons of gas, a large box of candy; and merchandising orders complete the list.”

Admission was “the usual price of 75 cents for men and 25 cents for ladies. Figured at the rate of six hours of dancing, that is a cost of only 17 cents per hour per couple. Cheap enough for the value received.”

The following week, the Beacon reported, “About $270 was cleared on this dance. This money is to be used to purchase supplies and equipment for the new gymnasium auditorium.”

In 1982, during a renovation of the gym, “extensive dry rot was found when new siding was being put on. The dry rot was so bad that the State Department of Architects condemned the gym and it was closed on September 1, 1982, never to be used by students again. In July of 1984, the old gym tragically burned down only a month before it was scheduled to be torn down.” A new gymnasium was dedicated in 1985.

Last Day! The Kelley House pays tribute to legendary local ‘70s band Cat Mother with a collection of ephemera, albums, and artwork. Cat Mother was an eclectic rock band formed in Greenwich Village, New York in 1967. By 1970, Cat Mother was living on the Mendocino Coast inspiring locals with outdoor “Boogies” and sparking creativity and community on the coast. Museum Hours: Thurs – Sun, 11 AM – 3 PM.