1979 Flagpole Dedication at Kelley House. Left to Right: Aldine Gorman, Miles Paoli, James O’Donnell, Edna Jackson, Dora Doolittle. (Kelley House Collection, Kelley House Photographs)

July 4, 1979 – The Kelley House Museum raised the flag on our flagpole for the first time.

Excerpted from Mendocino Historical Review, Number 8, June, 1981. Written by Beth Stebbins.

Barbara Carpenter, although quite ill for eight years, had talked about having a flagpole at Kelley House. She wanted to give us her father’s large 5’x8’ flag. We could never afford a pole… but after Barbara’s death, memorial gifts came into MHR for her.

Michael MacDonald rescued the old bench, or at least what was left of it, that used to be in front of the old Kelley store building. Across its back at the top were the words “Behold the Sea”… Bill Lemos cut a 40’ redwood tree on his place and shaved and smoothed it while it dried for four or five months. Bob Collier had a round ball about 6” in diameter suitable for a newel post, but just right for the top of a flagpole. It was in his Mendocino Ornament Shop and I offered to buy it, but Bob insisted on donating it to Kelley House. With it under my arm I went to Bruce Sloan to have it gilded, at the same time I ordered 22” x 24” plaque for the dedication of the pole in Barbara’s memory and her father’s flag in his memory.

The pole was finally painted by Karen Lowell, its halyards attached by Charlie Lambie and with much pulling and pushing it was ready for the flag on July 4th, 1979. With Jack Bishoff making the dedication speech, Don Carpenter raising the flag, the American Legion firing the gun salute, and cameras popping all around the scene, Barbara’s flagpole and her father’s flag were a high point of the day. The only disappointment was for the young Boy Scout who just could not bring his lips and bugle to work compatibly and after several tries he had to give up.

The Kelley House Museum will be open July 4th, 2021 from 11am-3pm, and David Tahja will lead a Walking Tour of the Historic District ($20/person to support the Kelley House) at 10:30am.