Making History Blog

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

  • Main Street, Mendocino, 1975
    THEN: Looking westward down the north side of Mendocino’s Main Street in 1975. The Village Barn is the business in the building on the far right. Next comes Dick’s Place with neon cocktail glass sign, then the Mendocino Hotel, followed by the old post office building, the old Remedy Store, then Dostal’s Clock Shop (in learn more…
  • Aircraft Warning Station
    Photograph of Eleanor Sverko, Burtt Elliott, and Lena Baumgartner at one of the Army Air Force’s World War II aircraft warning stations. According to Alvin Mendosa, this one was located on the hill near Mendocino High School. The sign on the station wall reads, “19 Rose-5-O.P.” Hand-written on the bottom border of the photographic print learn more…
  • The Sotoyome
    December 6, 1904 – The Albion Lumber Company launched its new three masted schooner-barge, the Sotoyome. Andrew Peterson, an experienced ship builder, constructed the ship using Albion’s native Douglas Fir which he called “a superior timber for the purpose of ship building.” The ship was 170 feet long and 36 feet wide with three 86.5 learn more…
  • Lee Dodge Leaves Mendocino
    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 learn more…
  • Mendocino High School Science Club
    December 3, 1925 – The General Science class at Mendocino High School organized a science club, mostly composed of members of the Class of 1928. The elected officers of the club were: President, Hugh Granskog; Vice-president, Grace Nichols; Secretary, Ernest Gossett; Treasurer, Thelma Smith; Librarian, Harold Reep; Sgt. at Arms, Charles Jarvinen; and Scout, Ernest learn more…
  • Rediscovering the Kelleys
    The Kelleys were in the town of Mendocino at its founding in 1852. And over these last many years, we thought we had come to know a lot about them.  However, new research has shed more light on the interesting lives of this pioneer family. Using internet search capabilities not available to earlier scholars, coupled learn more…
  • Mendocino Post Office Established
    December 1, 1858 – The Mendocino Post Office was established when President James Buchanan appointed Lafayette Woodward its first postmaster. The post office was located inside Woodward’s mercantile store, which was on the property just west of the building that houses Circa today. Born in Bath, New York on August 1, 1821, Woodward came to learn more…
  • Mendocino Mill Closes
    November 30, 1938 – The Mendocino mill shut down for the last time. This was the third sawmill built at Mendocino.  The equipment for the first mill had been purchased on the east coast and shipped around the Horn of South America to San Francisco. From there, it arrived via the brig Ontario, landing July learn more…
  • Norton House Hotel Burns Down
    November 29, 1879 – About 4:30 am, the town’s night watchman discovered smoke coming from the barroom at Norton House Hotel, located on the southeast corner of Lansing and Main Streets. The school bell was rung, and the mill whistle sounded, alerting the townsfolk. A large crowd gathered at the scene. Flames were just beginning learn more…
  • Mrs. Elizabeth Carlson
    November 28, 1880 – Mrs. Elizabeth Carlson died. She was born in County Cork, Ireland around 1828, and it’s unknown when she immigrated to the United States. She first married Mathew Kupp, who was born in New York. In 1853, their son, John, was born in Newark, New Jersey, and the following year Mathew died learn more…
  • West Main Street, Mendocino, 1874-1878
    A view of buildings along west Main Street in Mendocino, looking westward between 1874 and 1878. The photograph would have been taken four to eight years after the devastating fire of 1870, which destroyed all the buildings that originally stood on this block. On the right is the Chinese laundry, with a sign over the learn more…
  • Valentine-Mason House – THEN and NOW
    In the Spring of 1941, Frank and Anne Valentine began construction on this home, located on the northeast corner of Little Lake and Ford Streets. Mrs. Valentine’s father, Carl Sorensen of Oakland, was in charge of the construction work. In April, a concrete foundation was poured. Anne was the Home Economics teacher at Mendocino High learn more…
  • A Contest of Wills
    The old MacCallum family of Mendocino included not just Alex and Daisy, but also their children, Donald and Jean. We don’t know a great deal about these two. Neither married.  Donald was always a quiet one, sometimes described as “odd.” He lived most of his life with his mother in the MacCallum residence or traveled learn more…
  • Mrs. Swanson and Two Water Towers, 1948
    A view of two water towers in Mendocino, looking north from Main Street. A wood plank fence occupies the space between two buildings. Mrs. Carl Swanson sits on a bench at the foot of the outside staircase of her home. The address of the building on the left is 45140 Main Street. It was constructed learn more…
  • Dr. Preston’s Office Burglarized
    November 23, 1927 – The medical office of Dr. Russell Preston, Mendocino’s beloved physician, was ransacked by burglars. The Beacon speculated that the crime was carried out “evidently by amateur cracksmen, as marks of a jimmy or screw driver are plainly discernible on the door frame where the burglar endeavored to pick the lock. The learn more…
  • Antone Carvalho and Maria Pacheco
    November 22, 1896 – Antone Carvalho and Miss Maria Pacheco were married at the Catholic Church by the Rev. Father H. K. White. Antone was born in the Azore Islands in 1864. He came to the United States when he was a boy and became a US citizen in San Francisco in 1894. He was learn more…
  • Mitch Ortiz’s Customers
    Mitch Ortiz owned the barbershop on the northeast corner of Lansing and Ukiah Streets from 1975 to 2009. He photographed all his customers and pinned the photographs on his wall. His collection, which is now housed at the Kelley House Museum, can be seen on the wall behind him. Can you help us identify Mitch’s learn more…
  • Fire Chief Foggy Gomes
    November 20, 1956 – Mendocino Volunteer Fire Chief Foggy Gomes added another achievement to his credit, other than being “a mere fire chief.” The Fire Department’s Ladies Auxiliary declared him the Champion Pie Eater of the department. When the ladies gave their annual pie feed to the volunteer firefighters, Foggy came out well ahead of learn more…
  • Mendosa Water Tower on Main Street
    In January 1976, the old water tower behind Mendosa’s general merchandise store was dismantled after it was found to be structurally unsafe. Barry Cusick, Jim Coupe, and Gus Costa salvaged what they could, transported the materials, and rebuilt the tower east of The Deli building on Main Street. Deli owner Jim Coupe told the Beacon, learn more…
  • Daisy MacCallum, A Mendocino Matriarch
    So much has already been written about Emma Shirley “Daisy” Kelley MacCallum. What more can be said?  Well, plenty. The recent research we’ve been doing at the Kelley House Museum has given us so much information that it should be made into a documentary, or least a good biography. Any writers out there looking for learn more…
  • Barry Building – THEN and NOW
    The Barry Building began as a barber shop on Main Street, on the lot just east of the Jarvis & Nichols store (today’s Gallery Bookshop). In 1893, Jarvis & Nichols purchased the property and sold the existing structure to George Switzer who moved the building onto his lot on the northwest corner of Howard and learn more…
  • J. S. Cabot
    November 15, 1860 – Twelve lives were lost in a terrible maritime disaster in Mendocino Bay. The brig J. S. Cabot had approached the loading chute to take on a cargo of lumber. Seeing the chute was currently in use, the captain attempted to turn back to sea but a sudden gale brought in a learn more…
  • David Lansing
    November 14, 1877 – Captain David F. Lansing died in Mendocino. Born in Albany, New York in 1809, Lansing came to the California coast in 1849 with his wife and two oldest children. He sailed on several successful whaling voyages, and then, in 1852, Captain Lansing arrived in Mendocino in command of the brig Ontario, learn more…
  • Jennie’s Court Dress
    Jennie Blair, Daisy (Kelley) MacCallum’s San Francisco socialite cousin, wore this elaborate gown when she was presented to the Court of Saint James in England. The gown features ivory silk with lace, fine embroidery, and ribbon-work wrought into flowers, baskets, and scrolls. The slashed appearance of the fabric is an unfortunate byproduct of the practice learn more…
  • Remembering Eliza Kelley’s Legacy
    This fourth installment in our series about the Kelley family features its matriarch, Eliza. Elizabeth Lee Owen was the daughter of Arthur Owen, a Welshman, and Mary Jardine from Scotland. Born in Cardigan, on Prince Edward Island, April 8th, 1825, she lived in Charlottetown until her marriage to William Henry Kelley in 1855, after which learn more…
  • The MacCallum House, Mendocino, c. 1920.
    The original house, built by J. D. Johnson in 1881, was smaller and located farther north on the lot. After her husband, Alexander MacCallum, died in 1908, Daisy Kelley MacCallum returned to Mendocino from San Francisco, where they had been living. In 1908, she had the house moved to the center of the lot and learn more…
  • Steam Schooner Brooklyn Sinks
    November 8, 1930 – The wooden steam schooner Brooklyn sank while crossing the Humboldt bar at the entrance to Humboldt Bay. Seventeen crew members were lost; only the first mate survived. The Beacon reported, “The sea was extremely rough as the vessel attempted to cross the bar and the steamer suddenly turned over when hit learn more…
  • Gus Johnson Installs Concrete Sidewalks
    November 7, 1907 – August “Gus” Johnson was installing concrete sidewalks around town. The Beacon reported that a 9-foot-wide sidewalk was being put down in front of the Jarvis & Nichols Store (today’s Gallery Bookshop) on Main Street. This strip of concrete stretched 300 feet from the corner of Main and Kasten Streets eastward to learn more…
  • H. B Seavey Dies
    November 6, 1899 – Hiram Brooks Seavey passed away at the Alhambra Hotel from cancer of the throat. Despite several trips to San Francisco for medical care and multiple surgeries, the disease had progressed in a matter of months. Born in Maine in the mid-1840s, Seavey came to California as a young man and was learn more…
  • Nannie Flood Votes for President
    November 5, 1912 – Miss Nannie Flood was the first woman in Mendocino to cast a vote for President of the United States. She marked her ballot a few minutes after 6 am, stopping at the polls on her way to teach at the Little River school. Although the 19th Amendment – which guaranteed voting learn more…
  • William Kelley Turns 200 Years Old
    This week we celebrate the bicentennial of William Henry Kelley’s birth. And who is this W. H. Kelley? That is a question many people visiting the Kelley House Museum want answered when they walk through the door. He was a remarkable man, and his tale is worth telling. William Kelley was born at Morell, Prince learn more…
  • Mendocino Lumber Company Clock
    November 3, 1913 – Clocks at the mill were set ahead 20 minutes. This practice was carried out annually during the early days to allow employees a longer period of daylight for their work, since the oil lanterns needed to light the mill in the dark were a constant fire danger. Life in town revolved learn more…
  • Lansing Street Between Albion and Ukiah Streets
    Buildings along Lansing Street between Albion and Ukiah Streets, Mendocino, looking northeast, c. 1912-1923. This photo was likely taken from the water tower at the Kelley House.  The barn-like building on the left, on the northwest corner of Lansing and Albion Streets, is the livery stable first built by William H. Kelley, later owned by learn more…
  • Mendocino-Fort Bragg Football Game of 1930
    November 1, 1930 – Businesses in town closed their doors for two hours in support of the Mendocino High School football team. The Mendocino Cardinals met the Fort Bragg Timberwolves for what promised to be the hardest fought game of the season for both teams. The game began at 2pm on the Mendocino High School learn more…
  • Ford House Water Tower
    October 31, 1948 – The old water tank at the Ford House crashed to the ground with a roar that could be heard for many blocks. The tank and tower had recently been inspected for safety, and the cause of the collapse was unknown. Albert Eddy, local handyman, was an eyewitness to the fall of learn more…
  • Lauriston Avery Morgan
    October 30, 1899 – Lauriston Avery Morgan died at his home in Mendocino, following a long illness. He was born in Connecticut in 1846, and came to California with his parents in 1852. The family lived in Sacramento and San Francisco before settling in Noyo in 1862. As a young adult, Morgan worked at the learn more…
  • Tank Alley
    October 29, 1974 – The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors voted to sell Tank Alley, a skinny 13’ wide by 75’ deep parcel fronting on Main Street between Woodward and Kasten Streets. Mendocino County had recently become the owner of this small rectangular finger of land after a deed was discovered giving ownership to the learn more…
  • A Real Fixer-Upper
    The Kelley House may be one of the jewels in Mendocino’s quaint Victorian crown, but it took a lot of work over almost fifty years by many generous people to make it look this good. When  Beth Stebbins and Dorothy Bear first clapped eyes on it in 1969, it was dilapidated and, in Stebbins’ words, learn more…
  • Storm Damage, 1924
    October 27, 1924 – A howling gale from the southeast began blowing about midnight, accompanied by torrents of rain. The storm damage was extensive and hit every part of town. The Beacon listed examples of the destruction: blew the garage doors off at Dave Cole’s place ripped the tail off Burbeck’s windmill tore down Chester learn more…
  • Mendocino High School
    October 26, 1893 – The steamer Point Arena delivered 10,000 bricks for the foundation of the first Mendocino High School. 20,000 additional bricks were expected to arrive soon. Work had begun just that week on the 4.5-acre hilltop parcel donated by William Heeser for the high school. A crew of men and a six-horse team learn more…
  • Jerome B. Ford
    October 24, 1889 – Jerome Bursley Ford, the first lumber company man to arrive in Mendocino, died at his home in Oakland. He was one of the original pioneers who settled the town, and he was instrumental in the establishment of the Mendocino Lumber Company. Ford is generally considered to be the founder of Mendocino. learn more…
  • First Plane Lands in Mendocino
    October 23, 1919 – Dayton Murray, a former Mendocino resident, flew down from Eureka, a distance of 120 miles, in just 77 minutes to give exhibition flights at the Apple Show. His Curtiss biplane was the first airplane to land at Mendocino, and for many of the waiting citizens, this was their first opportunity to learn more…
  • Kelley House Celebrates 160 Years
    “W. H. Kelly now in the house.”  This short entry in William Henry Kelly’s notebook from 1861 establishes the Kelley family in their new house 160 years ago. While it’s always remarkable when a wooden structure lasts so many years in this coastal climate, what is also noteworthy is this house was in the hands learn more…
  • Preserve Your Historic Garment
    Preserving history comes in many forms. You might keep photo albums (remember those?), create scrapbooks, save letters and journals, or collect ephemera and heirlooms that help tell the story of you and your family. What is the best way to safeguard these treasures for the future? Small objects like photographs or letters can be easy learn more…
  • Partners Gallery at the Beacon Building
    This past summer, Partners Gallery, a long-time contributor to the local art scene, moved into the 150-year-old Beacon Building on Ukiah Street in Mendocino. The new occupants contacted the Kelley House to learn more about this historic structure, since so many people who came in to look at the artwork were also curious about the learn more…
  • Modern Philanthropy
    The Kelley House relies on philanthropists. Not the Daddy Warbucks variety with the signature cigar and sacks of money but the dedicated, resourceful, and unfailingly generous philanthropists that support our mission, contribute to our annual appeal, and serve as volunteers. When you hear the word philanthropy, what comes to mind? Wealthy individuals, prominent foundations, and learn more…
  • History Mystery
    The Kelley House Museum could use your help in identifying this group of intriguing women. As the original paper matt frame indicates, the photograph was taken by the Fitch and King photography studio in Fort Bragg. We estimate the date between 1904 to 1914. Could this be your great grandmother and her friends? Why are learn more…
  • The Bank House
    Originally built by Perley Maxwell in 1908 as a residence, the Bank House was later occupied by restaurants such as the Pyewacket, the Uncommon Good, the Blue Heron Inn and Mousse Cafe, and most recently, Trillium. The Bank House was also the location of the Cabot Cove Travel Agency in Season 4 of Murder, She learn more…
  • Mendocino Post Office
    September 21, 1966 – Construction of the Mendocino Post Office, located on the corner of Ford and Ukiah Streets, began. Before his death earlier that summer, Auggie Heeser sold the land east of the Beacon office to be used for the site of the new post office. Don Pollard was in charge of the construction, learn more…
  • Mendocino, looking north across Big River Beach
    Photograph by Mendocino photographer Bill Foote of the town of Mendocino, taken across Big River beach, looking north, c. 1966. In the center is the Mendocino Presbyterian Church and its manse, Eidseth House. On the left, one can see the south facade of the building once known as the Mendocino Hospital, located at Ukiah and learn more…
  • The Steamer Sequoia
    September 19, 1898 – The steamer Sequoia left Mendocino with the largest cargo of railroad ties that had been shipped in many years. This was the first visit to Mendocino of this new vessel, which had been built near the sawmill at Fort Bragg the previous spring specifically for the lumber trade. She was 151 learn more…
  • World War I Draft Begins
    September 18, 1917 – William Vaughn, John Figaro, and Robert Mathison departed Mendocino to serve in the military during World War I. They were the first to be drafted from the Mendocino community, although many others had already enlisted. During the next four days, Guiseppe Reilli, John Bertolini, and Clarence L. Jarvis followed. The draftees’ learn more…
  • Long Distance Telephone Service Arrives in Mendocino
    September 17, 1897 – The telephone line extension from Mendocino to Elk was completed. Four copper wires were strung. Two wires were for local service, and the other two were for long distance calls. Long distance service was not available until the end of the month, and even then, service was spotty, due to everyone learn more…
  • Historical Geography of Mendocino County
    Here is another fascinating look into county history left to us by the late Dr. Richard White’s “Mendocino Medicine and Gazetteer.” In the 1990s, White published this small magazine of rural health information for medical practitioners and always made space for writings about his science and nature interests. Deborah White of Ukiah loaned bound volumes learn more…
  • Joseph Borgna Arrested For Selling Liquor in “Dry” Mendocino
    September 16, 1910 – Joseph Borgna, owner of the Sempione Hotel on Ukiah Street, was arrested and hauled into the Big River Justice Court for violating the ordinance prohibiting liquor sales in the “dry” town of Mendocino. Borgna pled Not Guilty to the charge of selling liquor without a license, and his trial was set learn more…
  • Schooner Phil Sheridan
    September 15, 1878 – The schooner Phil Sheridan sank off the mouth of the Umpqua River in Oregon following a collision in a thick fog with the wooden sidewheel steamship, Ancon. The Phil Sheridan had been built in 1869, the first of 14 two-masted schooners built by Thomas Petersen in his shipyard at Little River. The learn more…
  • J. D. Johnson Water Tower
    J. D. Johnson, the prolific Mendocino building contractor, built this water tower on his property just north of the Masonic Hall on Lansing Street in June 1885 to furnish water to his nearby construction and undertaking buildings. By January 1949, the tank had not been used for a number of years, and the tower was learn more…
  • The Ford House, THEN and NOW
    Jerome B. Ford was one of the pioneers who came to Mendocino in 1852 to establish the lumber mill at Big River. In April 1854, he returned to Connecticut to marry Martha Hayes. They arrived back in Mendocino on July 4 after a journey of 25 days, coming by way of the Isthmus of Panama. learn more…
  • Albert Brown
    September 11, 1935 – Albert Brown died at the age of 86. One of Mendocino County’s most respected citizens, Brown had worked tirelessly to improve the Mendocino Coast for over 50 years. Born in Argyle, Maine in 1849, Brown came to Mendocino around 1881. He was first a clerk in the mercantile store of his learn more…
  • Brown & Gray
    September 10, 1907 – The Brown & Gray general merchandise store began their Close-Out sale. After 22 years in business together, partners H. H. Brown and P. W. Gray announced their plans to retire. This store was located in William Kelley’s old store building on the northwest corner of Lansing and Main Streets. Gray was learn more…
  • The Saloon in the Garden
    William Wetherbee Gibbs, whose nickname was “Sam Slick,” operated a saloon out of the front of his Main Street home in the 1870s. Originally, built about 1866, Sam Slick’s Saloon was located just west of the Mendocino Hotel, in the space now occupied by its restaurant. When Mr. Gibbs died, his widow, Petta Van Treat, learn more…
  • Truck Packed Out of Woods on Mules
    September 8, 1921 – Ed Rasmussen and James Bowman, the local garage owner and Ford dealer, went out to Mettick Creek on the Southfork of Big River to get Rasmussen’s truck. Rasmussen had bought the Ford truck from the Caspar Lumber Company. The only problem with his purchase was that the truck was on a learn more…
  • The Steamer Fort Bragg
    On this day in Mendocino history… September 7, 1932 – The wooden steam schooner Fort Bragg was declared a total loss after becoming stranded on the south jetty at Coos Bay, Oregon. Fifteen of the 20-man crew were taken off immediately by the Coast Guard, who then returned to the wreck to remove Capt. John learn more…
  • Labor Day, 1943
    Labor Day advertisement for Safeway in the Mendocino Beacon, 1943. Note the Red Stamp and Blue Stamp Values in the ad and the Red Points mentioned in the cartoon at the bottom. Color-coded stamps and points were part of the food rationing system put in place during World War II. Food rationing began in the learn more…
  • The Remedy Store
    In 1928, Dr. Russell Preston, beloved Mendocino physician, purchased the town’s only pharmacy, Pioneer Drug Store. There had been a drug store in this Main Street location since 1877, operated by a series of druggists including  R. H. Witherell, C. O. Packard, and Horace Nichols. In addition to renovating the store and stocking a complete learn more…
  • The British Tramp Steamer, Oswestry
    September 4, 1909 – The Mendocino Beacon reported that five sailors had deserted the big British tramp steamer Oswestry. While the ship was anchored in Mendocino Bay, the sailors took the ship’s boat to the shore and abandoned it in the surf. The boat was found the next morning, damaged from being bashed against the learn more…
  • The Byrnes House
    Michael J. Byrnes was born in Boston in 1840. While a young man he traveled extensively, spending time in Europe and South America. He came to Mendocino County in the early 1860s, and after working in the woods for a while he volunteered for the U.S. Army. After leaving the military, he settled in Humboldt learn more…
  • Calling for a Stamp Collector
    The Kelley House Museum is on the lookout for a local stamp collector who can help them evaluate three albums of First Day Stamp Covers. An inquiring mind might ask, “What is a First Day Cover?”  With the debut of new U.S. postage stamp designs, people can, for one single day, go to a post learn more…
  • The Occidental Hotel Fire
    September 1, 1941 – Mendocino lost one of its landmarks when the Occidental Hotel, located at the junction of Lansing and Main Streets, burned down. The fire was caused by a defective flue which ignited a wall in the early morning hours. The owner of the hotel, Kate Gorman, immediately called out to her grandson learn more…
  • Allie Grindle
    August 31, 1915 – The United States Submarine F-4 was raised from the sea floor, and the bodies of the crew were recovered. Aliston Hills Grindle, the only child of prominent Mendocino banker Joshua Grindle, served on the F-4 as the chief electrician. Allie and all 20 fellow crew members had lost their lives in learn more…
  • The Brien House
    John Brien arrived in Mendocino in the winter of 1863-1864 at the age of 19. He worked on a ranch in Cuffeys Cove for a short time, but soon returned to Mendocino, where he worked for the Mendocino Lumber Company for 50 years, first on the river and later in the mill. The Brien House learn more…
  • William and Laura Heeser House
    On August 29, 1855, William H. Kelley returned to Mendocino with his bride, the former Eliza Lee Owen of Prince Edward Island. They arrived on the schooner Mansfield and stayed with Mr. and Mrs. Jerome B. Ford for two days before moving into this house, their first home at 45080 Albion Street. This home was the learn more…
  • National Bow Tie Day
    Celebrate National Bow Tie Day with this photo from the Mendocino Fourth of July Parade, 1990. Tony Graham is riding a penny farthing (bicycle) on Main Street in front of the Mendocino Hotel. He is dressed in a period (c. 1880s) hat, pleated shirt with cuff links, bow tie, and knickerbocker pants. Penny farthing has learn more…
  • Telephone Operator Receives Electrical Shock
    On August 27, 1923, Coast residents were treated to a thunderstorm that got most people out of bed in a hurry. There were heavy peals of thunder and numerous vivid flashes of lightning, which were followed by a brief but heavy shower of rain. The lightning struck several trees, but no real damage was done. learn more…
  • Apple Walk
    This framed photograph of the Kelley House and its water tower currently hangs in the Kelley House Museum kitchen. The photo shows the view looking west from Lansing Street near the corner of Albion Street. A double-height Mendocino picket fence encloses the yard along the street. An elaborate wooden gate in the fence opens to learn more…
  • Kellieowen Hall – THEN and NOW
    Kellieowen Hall, on the southwest corner of Lansing and Ukiah Streets in Mendocino, was originally built in 1887 by William H. Kelley as a skating rink and dance hall and was known as “Kaze Hall” in its early days. At that time, the Beacon called the 40’ x 90’ building “the largest hall in the learn more…
  • Frank Mendosa Family – World War I
    On this day in Mendocino history… August 24, 1918 – Frank Mendosa received notification of the safe arrival in France of his son, John. In October 1917, John Mendosa had been called up in the third draft to serve his country during World War I. Five of Frank’s sons served in the First World War. learn more…
  • Pete Piccolotti
    August 23, 1889 – Pete Piccolotti was born in Crespano, Italy. He immigrated to the United States through Ellis Island, New York in 1907. Three years later, Rosa Vagliana also arrived at Ellis Island from Italy. Individually, each made their way to Fort Bragg where Pete found work at the lumber yard and Rosa had learn more…
  • Bank of Commerce
    August 22, 1905 – Mendocino Bank of Commerce incorporation papers were filed with the county clerk. The incorporators were Casmir J. Wood, John S. Ross, William B. Coombs, Fred H. Perkins, Joshua Grindle, and Fred Stickney. Grindle was elected President, and Stickney served as the bank’s first cashier. For the first few years, the Bank learn more…
  • Jacob Stauer’s Blacksmith Shop
    August 21, 1882 – Jacob H. Stauer purchased the blacksmith and wheelwright business of Albert T. Rogers, including the shop located on Lansing Street where the Mendocino Volunteer Fire Department building is now. In a Beacon advertisement, Stauer offered custom-built wagons and carriages, wood and iron repairs, and horseshoeing. He also promised quick turnaround, moderate learn more…
  • Erick Jensen Albertson
    On this day in Mendocino history… August 20, 1872 – Erick Jensen Albertson died. Born on the island of Aero, Denmark in the late 1830s, he immigrated to the United States as a young man, becoming a naturalized citizen on March 30, 1861 in San Francisco. In 1865, Albertson and ten other Masons formed the learn more…
  • Pioneering the Profession of Pharmacy for Women
    Out of the Kelley House Archives comes the story of Miss Ethel Nelson, born in Mendocino 1883, daughter of Elizabeth May (Bessie) Carlson and Captain Henry Nelson, owner of the Wilson Hotel on Main Street in Mendocino, as well as ship captain for the barkentine, Servia. Henry and Bessie married in Mendocino on January 18, learn more…
  • Mendocino Survey Map, 1868
    August 17, 1868 – William Heeser began conducting a land survey of the town of Mendocino, by order of the County Judge. His survey map was recorded with the Mendocino County Clerk, James Fowzer, on March 18, 1869. Heeser was a land surveyor and mapped most of Mendocino and its surrounding land. Written in Heeser’s learn more…
  • Johnson Rental Cottages
    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. Johnson built two identical, learn more…
  • The Phoenix Boiler Explosion
    August 15, 1910 – The boiler exploded on the steam schooner Phoenix, killing four men including the Chief Engineer and Second Mate. The Phoenix was headed to San Francisco, making its way slowly southward against a brisk breeze in a choppy sea. The explosion occurred a little after 9pm about ten miles north of the learn more…
  • Ship Passengers Boarding Barge
    Photo of ship passengers boarding a barge using ropes and pulleys at the Shipping Point in Mendocino between 1883 and 1902. One woman is being lowered in a chair. Another man is climbing down a rope ladder while several men stand on what appears to be a stack of lumber in the barge below him. learn more…
  • Death Claims Daisy MacCallum
    August 13, 1953 – Daisy MacCallum died. She was the oldest of Eliza and William H. Kelley’s four children. Born in Mendocino on August 2, 1859, Daisy spent her childhood in the Kelley House on Albion Street. She was an adventurous child, and in later years, she often told of an early escapade which frightened learn more…
  • Big News at Big River
    Last year, the Kelley House was the lucky recipient of numerous items from the David J. Russell Estate. His generous children, Ann, David, Libby and Peter, offered us boxes of photographic prints and scanned negatives that capture their father’s fascination with the Mendocino Coast, (including the activities of the Mendocino Volunteer Fire Department), as well learn more…
  • Centennial Celebration
    August 10, 1952 – Mendocino celebrated the 100th anniversary of the founding of the town with a parade, barbecue, and dancing. An estimated 5,000 people attended the weekend Centennial celebration. The event began on Saturday with a display of antiques and heirlooms loaned by local residents. Later, an old-fashioned revue was held at the high learn more…
  • Mansion House Hotel
    In 1882, O. B. Ackerman, an architect and builder from Willets, built a 36′ x 68’ hotel for A. T. Rogers on the southwest corner of Little Lake and Lansing streets. The Beacon described the hotel as “three stories in height and well built. On the first floor at the right of the entrance is learn more…
  • New Smoke Stacks for the Mill
    August 8, 1907 – Iron workers, Edwin Graves and Charles Smith, of the Eureka Boiler Works arrived on the steamer Sea Foam to install twin smokestacks at the mill. The two 125-foot tall chimneys, 7 feet in diameter, were installed, painted, and ready for business in less than two weeks. The previous smokestack, a 90-foot learn more…
  • Kelley Warehouse
    August 7, 1880 – William H. Kelley was renovating his warehouse on the southeast corner of Albion and Lansing Streets. This structure sat on the property that is now Rotary Park. In 1887, the Kiser brothers opened a meat market in this building. Over the next 25 years, eight different meat markets operated here. In learn more…
  • Sankey Gallery
    August 6, 1965 – The Sankey Gallery announced an exhibit of paintings, paint drawings, and reliefs by award-winning artist Ada Garfinkel of Marin County. This Mendocino art gallery was operated by Laura and Elwood Sankey from 1963 to 1971, first on Little Lake Street, but by 1965, they had moved their business to a former learn more…
  • The Packard Homestead
    On the far side of Mendocino, at the east end of Main Street, there is a narrow ribbon of pavement just a few blocks long now called Evergreen Avenue. Its name doesn’t conform to the protocol that most of the other north-south streets follow, which reflects the last names of early families, such as Lansing, learn more…
  • Thomas Dollard
    August 4, 1879 – Thomas Dollard, Superintendent of the Woods, received a telegram from J. B. Ford of the Mendocino Lumber Company, instructing him not to start work in the Big River woods until he received further orders. Dollard had been preparing to begin work that very morning, hiring men and obtaining provisions to open learn more…
  • Alhambra Hotel
    The Alhambra Hotel, also known as Seavey’s Hotel, was located on the north side of Main Street, where the building that houses Prentice Gallery sits today. Hiram Brooks Seavey and Cy Galbraith purchased Duncan Walker’s Saloon and Restaurant, a two-story building on this site, after Walker died suddenly of tuberculosis in 1883. In October 1884, learn more…
  • The Lisbon House
    August 1, 1881 – Antone Fernandez Luiz purchased a lot on the south side of Ukiah Street, west of Kasten Street. Later that year, J. D. Johnson built a hotel on the site, and Luis began operating the Lisbon House. This hotel catered primarily to immigrants from Portugal, who were beginning to arrive in Mendocino. learn more…
  • Freundt House
    The Freundt house sat on the Mendocino bluffs, on the south side of Main Street, overlooking Mendocino Bay. This house was built around 1855-56 by the Mendocino Lumber Company, and John Freundt lived there while keeping the company records. “Mr. Freundt, a Frenchman and early partner . . . had a fine house handsomely furnished, learn more…
  • Biggest on Earth History Mystery
    We need some help from the public – what are these people doing? Several years ago the Kelley House Museum was given this vintage photograph taken around 1924 showing a scene on Main Street, Mendocino. We see costumed performers in front of the former Ford House, which has a large sign on the roof that learn more…
  • The Barry Building
    July 28, 1883 – The Mendocino Beacon reported that John Barry was enlarging his barber shop on Main Street to provide more room for his shaving parlor and bath rooms. When complete, the building would be 25’ wide, 50’ deep, and two stories high. The following year, Barry and his wife Amelia sold the property learn more…