Making History Blog

Many of these articles have been published in the Mendocino Beacon’s Kelley House Calendar.

Roof Matters

Roof Matters
A dilapidated Kelley House when it was acquired in 1975. Collecting, preserving, protecting and sharing. This is the mission of the Kelley House Museum. Kelley House has been around long enough for three generations to have experienced it, enjoyed its history-themed events, or dug into its archives to research family stories and photos. Some have called it Mendocino’s most important cultural institution It all began with Dorothy Bear and Beth Stebbins, now gone, who had come to Mendocino in the late 1960s[... see full page]

Barn-Storming

Barn-Storming

Cattle Invade Garage

This odd headline appeared on the front page of the Oct 13, 1928 edition of the Mendocino Beacon. The story goes on to say, “A band of some 60 head of dairy cows being driven up the coast were going through Mendocino and when passing the S. & E. Garage, spied the big open doors, and evidently taking it for a barn, they rushed in, in a body. They crowded into the show room, back out in the[... see full page]

The View from the Shingle Mill

The View from the Shingle Mill
1920 topographic map showing the area of Siewers ranch on the south side of Mendocino Bay. Naming places is something people do to orient themselves and connect with their environment. In our homes, we have “Grandma’s chair” or the “back forty.” Moving outwards, our neighborhoods have local designations, too. These hyper-local labels often commemorate events, such as “Two-Buck Turn” on Little Lake Road east of Mendocino. It was given that peculiar name because Witherle Atwood, who was not an experienced deer[... see full page]

Talking With . . . Dave Sverko in 2000

Talking With . . . Dave Sverko in 2000
Dave Sverko (seated) with middle school students Adam Channel, Sadie Pepper and Morgan Matthews in 2000. Back in 2000, students of Ryan Olson Day’s Options Class at the Mendocino Middle School created an oral history project with the help of Steve Jordan and a grant obtained by Deena Zarlin. They made audio recordings of their interviews with twelve “Old Timers” who told these children what it was like back in the day. Two decades later, the transcripts of these stories have[... see full page]

Cemeteries: Headstones convey messages

Cemeteries: Headstones convey messages
Photograph of the marble grave monument of Mary F. Freathy, located in Evergreen Cemetery. The stone has a bas relief of clasped hands at the top and is crowned by an arch of ivy leaves, supported by scrolled brackets. Down in the archives of the Kelley House, I was working on a research project tracing a local family’s name through graveyard records when I found something that answered questions I’d long had about the images on gravestones. The Victorians were engravers[... see full page]

The Voyage of the Sailing Vessel FRI Began with a Dream

The Voyage of the Sailing Vessel FRI Began with a Dream
Norman de Vall’s sailing cargo ship, Fri, as she enters San Francisco Bay on her ocean voyage from Denmark in 1967. In the late 1800s, schooners like these carried goods to ports all over the world, including the Mendocino Coast. This season’s exhibit at the Kelley House Museum, “Wind & Water: the Nautical Collection of Norman de Vall” showcases antique charts, old navigational instruments and other sea-going items gathered over the years by one of our coastal residents. However, Norman is not[... see full page]