Making History Blog

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

The Great Flu of 1918 in Mendocino County

The Great Flu of 1918 in Mendocino County
[first published in May 2015] Postcard photograph of the Domestic Steam Laundry’s delivery automobile piled high with bags of laundry, c. 1918 in Fort Bragg. An unidentified man stands next to the car. The laundry offered free washes during the influenza epidemic in 1918 for those who were too sick to do it. (Jeanette Mendosa Hansen Collection, Kelley House Museum) For fascinating reading or listening there is “The Great Influenza” by John Barry. It’s available from the County Library and provides hours[... see full page]

Plot to Steal the County Seat

Plot to Steal the County Seat
On the 16th of February 1871, a group of Mendocino VIPs launched a determined effort to steal the county seat away from Ukiah. Portrait of William Heeser in the regalia of the Masonic Order of Knights Templar, c. 1900. (from the Biage Quattrocchi Collection, Kelley House Museum) Beacon newspaperman William Heeser was among those present and may even have called the meeting. We don’t know who else was on hand, since files of the Beacon’s predecessor, the Independent Dispatch, are incomplete and[... see full page]

Lost Homes of the Mendocino Headlands

Lost Homes of the Mendocino Headlands
Residence of Mr. Freundt, City of Mendocino (1863), looking north-northeast. This is a copy of a Carleton Watkins image found in the Bancroft Library. Not long after Mendocino was founded, the men who built and owned the Big River sawmill went back east to New England and brought their families here to live. While many of the merchants in town resided above their stores, the people associated with running the mill constructed their houses on the south side of Main Street[... see full page]

Albion Bridge Completion in 1944

Albion Bridge Completion in 1944
Tom Wodetzki of the Albion Bridge Stewards recently gave the Kelley House Museum an interesting document. Its title is “Final Construction Report for the Construction of a Timber, Steel and Concrete Bridge Across the Albion River,” dated August 29, 1944. The Albion River and Albion River Bridge before the campground was established. View is looking west towards the ocean, c. 1945. Believe me, readers, this is mostly dry, statistical reading for 97 pages, ending with five pages of cool old photos, but[... see full page]

Talking With...Eleanor Atwood Smith in 2000

Talking With...Eleanor Atwood Smith in 2000
We are featuring here again excerpts from the oral history project that was created 20 years ago by the students of Ryan Olson Day’s Options Class at the Mendocino Middle School. With the help of Steven Jordan and a grant obtained by Deena Zarlin, they made audio recordings of their interviews with 12 “Old Timers,” who told these children what it was like in Mendocino during the first part of the 20th century. Student historians Shawn Spiller, Marina Almquist Zekley, and[... see full page]

Meat Markets on the South Side

Meat Markets on the South Side
As part of the Kelley House Museum’s current show, “South of Main,” featuring buildings and businesses that once existed on the south side of the street, let’s look at the evolution of our local meat market. The interior of Quaill’s City Meat Market on Main Street in Mendocino, c. 1920. Butchers are Tony and Joe Quaill. Children are Virginia and Harry Quaill. On the left is a chopping block made from a very large tree stump. The building that housed[... see full page]