These two photographs, taken about 50 years apart, show the Seagull Inn Bed & Breakfast on Albion Street between Lansing and Howard streets in Mendocino. The building began as a family residence, constructed by Mendocino pioneer George Switzer in 1878. Born in Ontario, Canada in 1839 to Christopher and Margaret (Buck) Switzer, George was raised on the family’s farm. He left for California at the age of 23 and, after crossing the Isthmus of Panama on horseback, he made his way to Caspar. He found work in the Caspar sawmill, which was then owned by William Kelley.

Black and White photo of a Historical House

Black and white postcard of the Sea Gull Inn from the 1970s. (Gift of Karen McGrath)

George and his brother John later headed to the Comstock Lode in Nevada, where they cut firewood for the miners of Gold Hill and Virginia City. When George grew tired of chopping wood, he returned to Canada to visit family. While there, he met and married Elizabeth Hopkins. George brought his bride to Caspar, where he again worked in the mill. The couple soon moved to Westport, and he started a cattle ranch there. 

Color photo of a historical house

Seagull Inn Bed & Breakfast, 2024. (Photographed by Robert Dominy)

In 1876, George sold the ranch and partnered with Alexander Boyd to buy William Kelley’s livery business on the northwest corner of Lansing and Albion Streets in Mendocino. Together, they ran the very successful Switzer & Boyd Livery Stable at this location for almost three decades. George and Alexander also jointly purchased the empty Albion Street lot where the Seagull Inn now sits, and George built a large L-shaped home with porches on the south and west sides. Alexander, a lifelong bachelor, lived with the Switzer family.

By 1890, the rear of the house had been enlarged and a second story added. George and Elizabeth’s family had grown to nine children by then. Their grandson, Jack Switzer, visited Mendocino two or three times a year in the 1980s and stayed in the inn’s first-floor Lookout Room, where his father Roy, the eighth of their nine children, was born. “I always reserve The Lookout, the living room of which was the bedroom for all the births,” Jack once told Kelley House Museum founder Dorothy Bear.

In 1903, the Switzer family and Alexander Boyd put both their Albion Street residence and the nearby business property up for sale and moved to Fort Bragg. Alexander’s nephew George Boyd purchased the Mendocino livery with George Daniels, forming the new partnership of Boyd & Daniels.

George Boyd also purchased the Switzer residence in 1905 and made extensive improvements before he moved in. He, too, later moved to Fort Bragg, but still owned the home at his death in 1925. His heirs continued to rent out the house, then sold it to Mendocino Postmaster Asa Bishop and his wife Gladys Chambers Bishop in 1936. Gladys passed away in 1948, and Asa sold the home in 1960.

In 1963, Mr. and Mrs. C. Martin Hall, owners of the Sea Gull Restaurant on the corner of Lansing and Ukiah Streets, purchased the Switzer House and converted it into an inn. The Halls sold the property to Anita Klauss in 1964; she, in turn, sold it to David and Cathy Jones and Marlene McIntyre in 1983. In 1986, David and Cathy Jones sold their share to Marlene. In June of 2007, Marlene sold to Jim and Ayla Douglas who had been guests at the inn since 1992.

Today, the Seagull Inn is owned and operated by Ian and Kim Roth, who acquired the property in 2018. One of the hallmarks of the inn is its commitment to showcasing local artistry. Each guest room features exquisite works by talented local artists, and the inn is known for its stained glass artwork. The Shed Room welcomes guests with an intricate stained glass garden door featuring a dragonfly. Local stained glass artist Tangerine created a window art piece with seagulls, water, and sky for the reception area, and a new portrait of the Frolic ship is about to be installed in the door of the newly renovated Frolic Room. In addition, the inn’s gardens boast historical roses planted decades ago by Daisy Kelley MacCallum.

The Kelley House Museum is open from 11AM to 3PM Thursday through Monday. If you have a question for the curator, reach out to to make an appointment. Visit the Kelley House Event Calendar to schedule a Walking Tour of the Historic District.