Two seated men getting hair cut by barbers in a shop

A barbershop in Mendocino, c. 1903. On the left, Ruel Armas, barber, cuts the hair of Fred Brown. On the right, Lee Dodge, barber, stands next to client, Ed Boyle. (Kelley House Collection, Kelley House Photographs)

December 4, 1938 – Lee Dodge left Mendocino for the last time, planning to make his home in Elkhart County, Indiana where he had spent his entire childhood. He had lived in Mendocino for almost 44 years.

Born in Baugo Township, Indiana in 1866, Dodge married Mary Morse in 1889. Five years later the couple moved to San Francisco. In February 1895, they relocated to Mendocino, where their children, Morse and Dora, were born.

Soon after arriving in Mendocino, Dodge opened a barber shop in the Alhambra Hotel on Main Street and ran this establishment for 20 years. He left the barber trade due to his health and took up a wide variety of occupations. He worked in the woods at Ten Mile and Big River, was a custodian at the high school for 10 years, maintained Evergreen Cemetery, served as a watchman at the mill, and sold beautiful vases, fruit bowls, and jewelry boxes made from redwood.

The Beacon wished him well on his journey. “His many friends will hope for a pleasant return to the home of his boyhood where the association with old friends and relatives will help him to better bear up over the loss of his wife.” Dodge’s wife had died at their home on Albion Street in November 1937.

Dodge passed away in Indiana on March 1, 1947. He was laid to rest beside his wife and children in the family plot in Mendocino’s Evergreen Cemetery.

Visit Santa at the Kelley House this afternoon, 3:30-4:30 pm! Snap a perfect picture standing next to Santa on our porch! Cookies and cider provided. Suggested donation: $5.

After Santa leaves for the North Pole, join us from 5-7 pm for a Holiday Open House. We’ll toast the bicentennial birthday of William Kelley and the 160th anniversary of the Kelley House itself! We’re decking the halls with a Victorian Christmas theme and serving light refreshments from Fog Eater Café. Spirits courtesy of Mendocino Spirits, Seebass Winery, and Husch Winery. Enjoy caroling from the Mendocino High School Chamber Singers, followed by hammer dulcimer music by Victor Simon. Vaccination required to enter. Free.

The Kelley House Museum is located at 45007 Albion Street, Mendocino.