August 16, 1890 – J. D. Johnson was completing construction of a second cottage on the north side of Ukiah street between Lansing and Howard streets. Two years earlier, he had purchased part of Maria Walsh’s lot, just west of her house on the northwest corner of Ukiah and Howard streets.

Houses on the north side of Ukiah Street in Mendocino, 1934. The house on the left and its mirror twin next door were built in 1890 as rental properties by master carpenter and builder John D. Johnson. The next house to the right, with just the roof and second story dormers visible, sits back from the street and was built in 1883 by William Riley Hamilton for Mrs. Maria Walsh. The house on the right was also built by J. D. Johnson in 1879 for George Bowman.  (Roger Sturtevant (photographer), Kelley House Collection, Kelley House Photographs)

Johnson built two identical, but mirrored, houses here and rented them out as residences. These ornate cottages feature small porches and large bay windows. The buildings had cresting and finials on the roofs, and a scroll-cut wood plank fence separated the small front yards from the boardwalk at the street.

The small cottages appealed to a variety of residents. In early 1891, Mrs. Z. E. Packard became one of Johnson’s first tenants. She and Justin Packard had divorced, and their home on the northeast corner of Main and Evergreen streets had been sold to L. H. Bither, the brother of her ex-husband’s new wife.

Others rented the cottages while they attended Mendocino High School. In August 1899, Fort Bragg siblings Maud, Delia, and Charlie Weller rented one of the Johnson Cottages on Ukiah Street so they could be closer to the school.

In 1931, H. J. Stauer purchased these two cottages from the estate of J. D. Johnson, who had died in 1927. The cottages have since changed from residential to commercial use and have housed several businesses, including Tickle Your Fancy, Fine Line Gallery, On Angel Wings, and most recently, the Leonard Moore Cooperative.

The Iconic Mendocino Buildings by Ocean Wave Quilters is now available online! This beautiful coffee-table book will delight anyone with a love of Mendocino and an appreciation for art. Twenty-six iconic buildings in Mendocino are colorfully-rendered on quilt squares. Each photo beautifully captures the detail and craftsmanship of the original, and is accompanied by a black and white photo of the building plus a brief history. $40.