Making History Blog

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

  • July 4, 1908
    by Nancy Freeze I love reading old articles from the Beacon, and last week, I stumbled across a story of a past July 4th celebration. I am continuously amazed at the energy of the early settlers. Their lives were filled with hard work and long hours, and yet they still found time to decorate floats, learn more…
  • Full House Near the Big Woods
    When we left off last week, Footprints on the Mendocino Coast had John Simpson Ross hurrying to finish his house in Caspar before his family arrived from Canada. In mid-June of 1870, before the house was completely ready, Jane Ross and the three children (William, John, and Lizzie) and her aged parents,  Ann and Robert learn more…
  • Mendocino Peace Fair
    June 29, 1966 – A Peace Fair opened at the Mendocino Coast Gallery located on the northwest corner of Main and Lansing streets. Running thru July 4th, the theme of the fair was “Peace and War,” and its purpose was to explore the critical issues involved in the search for peace during the Vietnam War learn more…
  • The Eugene Brown House
    Looking northeast towards the Eugene Brown House, located at 45120 Main Street, Mendocino, c. 1973. (Gift of Beth Stebbins) Albert Maxwell constructed this two-story home for Eugene Brown in 1878. At that time, Eugene owned and operated the mercantile store just to the west. Eugene and his mother were living in Pine Grove, but his learn more…
  • Little House Near the Big Woods
    Last week in the Mendocino Community Library I was sorting through donated books and found a publication called Footprints on the Mendocino Coast with a drawing of a strangely familiar house on its cover. I recognized the house almost immediately and opened the book to learn more. Published in 1970 by the Mendocino County Historical learn more…
  • Joe Nichols’ Poolroom
    Joe Nichols’ Poolroom in Skating Rink Hall in Mendocino, c. 1910. Between 1909 and 1918, Joseph H. Nichols operated a poolroom, concession stand, and moving-picture theatre in the building located on the southwest corner of Ukiah and Lansing Streets. Skating Rink Hall was built by William H. Kelley in 1887 to serve as a dance learn more…
  • Tom Doyle Lands Big Fish
    June 21, 1919 – Thomas Doyle, sawyer at the Mendocino Lumber Company mill, caught a 32-pound codfish “in a crab net off the boom-sticks at the mill. Tom thought he had netted a submarine or a trunk of buried treasure when he started to haul in the net. When the big fish came to the learn more…
  • Silver Workman’s Key-wind Pocket Watch
    Silver workman’s key-wind pocket watch, manufactured by the American Watch Company between 1890 and 1910 and owned by Antone Carvalho. Watch has a leather strap with key, two bottom hinges to open face, and top strap loop, white face with black roman numerals and a “seconds” dial, on face. Inscription on watch says “Am Watch learn more…
  • Piccolotti Children Fishing at Boyle’s Camp, c. 1928
    Piccolotti Children Fishing at Boyle’s Camp, c. 1928. The children are standing on what appears to be a wharf or bridge with a wooden railing, and are holding up several strings of small fish they have presumably caught from Big River. A fishing pole is held upright by one child. The youngest are wearing overalls, learn more…
  • Loggers’ Lingo in the Redwoods
    Every profession has its own lingo, its way of talking about its work. The timber business jargon is especially colorful, though it differs somewhat from region to region. Take the words logger and lumberjack: on the North Coast, we had loggers in the woods, but in Minnesota, lumberjacks cut trees.  My husband of 47 years learn more…
  • Main Street, c. 1934
    Main Street in Mendocino looking east, c. 1934. Chet Bishop’s General Store can be seen at the far left. The next building to its right is the Remedy Store with its distinctive round sign in front on the street. The buildings on the right, on the south side of Main Street, were owned by the learn more…
  • Sheriff Raids Illicit Liquor Sellers
    June 13, 1913 – Mendocino County Sheriff Ralph Byrnes raided the homes and businesses of Joseph Granskog and Michael Nolan, searching for contraband liquor. Alcohol sales were banned in Mendocino in 1909, long before National Prohibition took effect in 1920. Armed with search warrants issued by Judge William True Wallace, “the Sheriff, his deputy, and learn more…
  • Work That Has No End
    June 12, 1885 – Inez Milliken Philbrick was born in Mendocino, the third of six children born to James and Lizzie Milliken. Inez grew up in Mendocino, graduating from Mendocino High School in 1904. After attending San Jose Normal School (now San Jose State University) to obtain her teaching degree, she returned to Mendocino County learn more…
  • Readin’ Writin’ and Local History
    In late May, the Kelley House welcomed Mendocino High School students and gave them a glimpse of what life was like for people their age over 100 years ago. There were no phones! Kids rode horses to school or walked. Teenagers dressed up and went to tea parties, of all things. Life on the coast learn more…
  • Charles Oscar Packard
    June 8, 1917 – Charles Oscar Packard passed away at his home on Little Lake Street after a long illness. Born in Redfield, Maine, in 1848, he came to California in 1868 and arrived in Mendocino in early 1869. His first employer here was N. E. Hoak at Comptche, where he logged for the Albion learn more…
  • Charles Bever
    June 6, 1942 – Charles Bever died at the Fort Bragg hospital at the age of 66 from heart disease. Auggie Heeser, editor and proprietor of the Beacon, began Charles’ obituary, “It is with great regret we chronicle the passing of one of our boyhood friends and a Mendocino man whom all loved for his learn more…
  • Elizabeth Rice
    June 3, 1922 – Elizabeth Carolyn Rice, only daughter of James Charles and Eva Milliken Rice, died at the home of her parents following a very short illness. Born in Fort Bragg in 1916, she was just 3 months shy of her 6th birthday. “The deceased passed all of her short life in our midst. learn more…
  • Boogie Fever
    The Kelley House Museum is bringing back the boogie with a community-curated heartfelt love letter to local musical legends, Cat Mother and the All Night Newsboys. Beginning on June 2nd and running through August 28th, the exhibit includes original albums, posters, flyers, newspaper articles, ticket stubs, and more, some of which were donated by community learn more…
  • Main Street Businesses, c. 1877
    View of businesses on the north side of Main Street in Mendocino, looking northwest, c. 1877. On the right is the home of William Gibbs, aka “Sam Slick,” who operated Sam Slick’s Saloon in the front part of his house. Gibbs and his family lived in the rear. Next business to the left is the learn more…
  • Memorial Day at Kelley House, 1975
    Mounted photo montage of Memorial Day at Kelley House, 1975, consisting of about 45 B/W photos and one color photo (in center). Size 40.5 x 46 cm (16 x 18 in).  Identifications on reverse: MEMORIAL DAY, 1975 Top Row, Left to Right: back to camera, two unknowns, Beth Stebbins; Aldine Gorman; High School Band, Bob learn more…
  • Emil Seman
    May 28, 1926 – Pioneer blacksmith, Emil Seman, died at his home on Little Lake Road following a brief illness. Born in Germany around 1856, Emil began an apprenticeship as a blacksmith when he was 17. He immigrated to America in 1879 and began working for Carl White in Whitesboro the following year. He next learn more…
  • Dr. James Milliken
    May 27, 1909 – Dr. James W. Milliken, Mendocino physician and surgeon, died at his Main Street home (Didjeridoo Inn in 2022) at the age of 57 from heart disease. Although the doctor hadn’t felt well for several weeks and had never fully recovered from a bout with the flu in April, his death came learn more…
  • Historic Finds at the Kelley House Book Sale
    On Sunday, May 29th, the Kelley House Museum will host its annual book sale between 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM. The sale is curated by retired librarian and docent, Katy Tahja, and focuses on history, travel, gardening and cooking. Some real treasures were donated to the museum from the estate of the Malpas family. General learn more…
  • The Russians Are Coming!
    May 25, 1966 – The comedy movie, “The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!” – filmed almost entirely on location along the Mendocino Coast – was released. The Fort Bragg Advocate described the film, “Fort Bragg and the adjoining coastline will be the setting for the accidental grounding of a Russian submarine because its learn more…
  • Henry Swanson
    May 22, 1875 – Gustave Henry Swanson was born in Smaland, Sweden. Henry left home at the age of 16, going first to Canada, where he worked for a year, before immigrating to northern California. In 1902, Henry joined the crew of the Caspar sawmill. Hoping to become a filer, “the most exacting and well-paid learn more…
  • The British Tramp Steamer, Anerley
    The British Tramp Steamer, “Anerley,” loading at Caspar, California, c. 1911. This postcard is addressed to Edward Law in Little River and dated May 20, 1911, eight days after his 7th birthday. The Anerley was a defensively-armed cargo steamship built in 1910 by Sunderland Shipbuilding Company of England for Una Ltd. of London. In 1913 she learn more…
  • New Self-Guided Walking Tours for Your Phone!
    The Kelley House Museum just made learning about Mendocino’s history a whole lot easier if you have a smart phone or tablet. Go to the App Store appropriate for your device and search for “Kelley House Tours.” You’ll find the KH icon and several narrated, self-guided walking tours of historic Mendocino. For years, our trained learn more…
  • Riccardo “Dick” Cecchi
    May 17, 1894 – Riccardo “Dick” Cecchi was born in Fornovolasco, Italy. When he was 10 years old, he immigrated with his father to California, and in 1908, Riccardo, now known as Dick, moved to Elk to live with his uncle, Ottavio Viviani. Dick spent the next 20 years working in logging camps in the learn more…
  • Eugene Brown Store/Barn
    In 1874, Eugene Brown opened his mercantile store in this building on Main Street. At the time, this structure had a false front which was later removed. Eugene sold a wide range of goods, including groceries, tobacco, clothing, housewares, and home decorating supplies. The store also served as the office for Wells Fargo’s Express for learn more…
  • Big River Maru
    May 15, 1900 – A steamer delivered the boiler and engine for the new river boat that was being built at the Mendocino Mill. John Peterson, younger brother of shipbuilder Thomas Peterson of Little River, was in charge of building the new flat-bottomed boat, which would be used to guide rafts of logs from the learn more…
  • Florence King
    May 14, 1922 – Florence King passed away at the Calpella Street home of her mother-in-law following a long illness. Born in Mendocino in 1896, Florence was the daughter of Joseph Ignacio Lawrence, who immigrated from Flores, Azores Islands in 1878, and Mary Ferro Lawrence, who was born in Petaluma. The Lawrence family lived on learn more…
  • Help Wanted. No Museum Experience Necessary!
    Do you love learning about your town and talking with people curious about Mendocino’s past? The Kelley House Museum is searching for some new folks to docent in the museum or offer walking tours of the town. The job is easier than you may think! First, you get to meet interesting visitors from all over learn more…
  • Annie L. Stone
    On May 11, 1885, Annie L. Brown was born in Mendocino. Her parents were John Q. and Maria Brown, immigrants from the Azore Islands and early day settlers of Mendocino. John and Maria had ten children, eight of whom survived to adulthood. Annie attended school in Mendocino. Annie married Bert Stone in Oakland in 1911. learn more…
  • Mendocino Hospital & Drug Company
    May 10, 1895 – Dr. William McCornack and pharmacist Herman Baum purchased Mrs. Murray’s drug store, located on Main Street across from the Ford House. A clause in the purchase contract stated that the property could be used for any activity, “excepting for saloon use or immoral purposes.” Since 1887, Dr. McCornack had operated a learn more…
  • John H. Ferrill
    May 9, 1968 – John H. Ferrill died at St. Mary’s Hospital in San Francisco at the age of 71, following a short illness. Born in Manchester on Christmas Eve in 1896, he was the youngest son of Henry Reed Ferrill, who operated the general merchandise store in Albion. John graduated from Mendocino High School learn more…
  • Four Generations of the Flood Family
    Four Generations of the Flood-Escola Family in Mendocino, 1948. Four generations starting with Rose Watkins Flood, who is seated in this photo. Standing behind Rose, on the right, is Rose’s daughter, Nannie Flood Escola, and on the left, is Nannie’s daughter, Dorothy Escola Schlafer. Dorothy’s son (Rose’s great-grandson) Steve Schlafer, standing in front.  Photograph taken learn more…
  • Kelley Baptist Church, Mendocino – THEN and NOW
    In July 1893, construction began on the Kelley Baptist Church building on Ukiah Street. The church was dedicated in June 1894 by the Reverend J. S. Ross, and the building was in use until about 1936. Although it was still owned by Kelley family descendants at that time, the church sat vacant for almost 40 learn more…
  • The Languages Sleeping on the Hill
    As I was strolling through Hillcrest Cemetery the other day, I counted up all the languages spoken by the people buried there. In the early days, immigrants came to the Mendocino Coast from nearly every corner of the world, leaving behind their mother lands, but bringing with them their mother tongues. Judging from the birthplaces learn more…
  • Charles Knight
    May 3, 1920 – Mill Superintendent Charles Knight was buried in Evergreen Cemetery. He had unexpectedly died three days earlier from an internal hemorrhage. Born in Pennsylvania in 1860, Charles came to California with his parents when he was 15 years old. According to the Beacon, he “soon located at Schooner Gulch on the south learn more…
  • Shipping Hazard in Mendocino Harbor
    In the Spring of 1884, the Mendocino Lumber Company hired Captain J. Palmer, an experienced diver and explosives expert, to remove the top of an underwater rock that posed a hazard to ships in the Mendocino Harbor. The Beacon described the operation, “There is a sunken rock about seventy-five yards from the bottom of the learn more…
  • Jughandle Creek Trestle
    The Jughandle Creek trestle was completed early in 1884, under the direction of engineers and bridge builders from the Central Pacific Railroad. This huge wooden trestle was 1,000 feet long, 146 feet high, 82 feet wide at the base, and 12 feet wide at the top. At the time, it was one of the largest learn more…
  • Bridges
    Seventy-five years ago, on October 13, 1947, a public hearing was held at the high school to consider building a new bridge over Big River. The mill had been dismantled, and the estuary and river were beginning to recover some pristine beauty. The existing truss bridge, more than twenty years old, was inadequate and failing. learn more…
  • Main and Lansing Intersection
    Intersection of Main and Lansing Streets, 1957. Traffic signs at the intersection of Main and Lansing Streets in Mendocino, looking eastward. At the time this photo was taken, Lansing Street was Highway 1 through town. The pine tree visible on the right side in this intersection was planted by Dr. Russell Preston (1878-1954), and in learn more…
  • Duncan Walker
    April 26, 1883 – Duncan Walker, owner of Walker’s Saloon and Restaurant on Main Street, died suddenly of pneumonia. Born near Montreal, Canada about 1848, Duncan came to the Mendocino Coast around 1869. An early settler of the region, he built a cabin on his ranch property just north of Kibesillah. H. E. Whipple described learn more…
  • Cultivated Land South of Big River, c. 1900
    View looking northwest of cultivated fields and rural houses south of Big River, taken c. 1900 by A. O. Carpenter, according to a note on the back of the photo. The town of Mendocino is in the background. In the foreground a pile of sawn boards lies on the ground. Fields are enclosed with a learn more…
  • The Unknown Sailor
    April 23, 2013 – The remains of a 19th-century “Unknown Sailor” were re-interred in Evergreen Cemetery, approximately 150 years after his death. His skeleton had been discovered buried in a redwood coffin on the bluff at the edge of the Mendocino headlands. Katy Tahja reported for the Beacon, “On April 21, 1986, a hiker reported learn more…
  • Occidental Hotel Livery Stable
    April 22, 1899 – The Occidental Hotel’s livery stable was destroyed by fire. Shortly after 5 am, heavy smoke was discovered coming from the roof of the barn located southeast of the intersection of Lansing and Main Streets. The Beacon reported, “The fire bell was rung, and before many minutes a sufficient number had responded learn more…
  • Pipes and Bottles at Kelley House Exhibit
    On display at the Kelley House Museum’s current exhibit are several clay pipes. Most are incomplete – missing a stem or the bowl – but are nonetheless intriguing – as are the old glass bottles and other remnants of an earlier times that we have dug out of our archives for this show, “Neighbors Across learn more…
  • Main Street Mendocino, 1966 AND 2022
    Main Street, Mendocino, 1966, near the corner of Main and Kasten Streets, looking west. A Volkswagen Bug automobile is parked on the street.  Behind it is the Bank of America in the two-story white structure on the west side of Kasten. Dostal’s Clock Shop (note sign) occupies the Jarvis & Nichols Building on the east learn more…
  • Elevated View of Mendocino, c. 1909
    Elevated view of the town of Mendocino c. 1909. View is looking southeastward from the corner of Lansing and Main Streets, and probably taken from the Kelley water tower. Power poles are on both sides of Main Street. In the immediate foreground is the roof of the old Kelley Building. Right front is the Occidental learn more…
  • Wreck of the Smilax
    April 18, 1923 – A fatal train wreck occurred on the Caspar Railroad when the Caspar Lumber Company engine “Smilax” derailed after hitting two horses on the Digger Creek trestle. The engine was bringing in twelve loaded cars of logs, when the crew spotted the two horses on the tracks about 9 pm. The approach learn more…
  • Easter Sunrise Service
    April 17, 1927 – An Easter Sunrise Service was held on high school hill, the first of its kind to be held on the Mendocino Coast. The Beacon described the scene, “Easter morning dawned bright and beautiful and a group of worshipers gathered on high school hill to greet the rising sun and hold religious learn more…
  • John Edward Carlson
    April 16, 1899 – One of Mendocino’s earliest pioneers, John Edward Carlson passed away in San Francisco at the home of his son Edward. “He had been ill for some months with cancer of the throat, but was able to be up and around until a short time before his death. Although he had been learn more…
  • Track Record
    Competition is native to the American character. To be first seems of great value. First at the clam chowder cook-off, first in Little League, first in line. Historians prattle about who or what was first. So, let’s prattle about the trains that once rattled through town, carrying lumber to the Point. That energetic enterprise began learn more…
  • Melody’s Cookies
    Melody’s Cookies opened in 1973 on Lansing Street across from Mendosa’s grocery store. Owner Melody Joy sold giant ginger, peanut butter, chocolate chip, and oatmeal raisin cookies. The cookie shop’s little building was constructed in the 1960s as the office of McDonell’s lumber yard. The Beacon predicted that Melody’s Cookies “should become a popular shop learn more…
  • Cathrin Denslow Morgan
    April 12, 1925 – Cathrin Morgan died from pneumonia in Long Beach at the age of 72. Described by the Beacon as one of the community’s best beloved and finest characters, Cathrin, “as had been her custom for some five or six years past, was spending the winter with her son in the southern city,” learn more…
  • Run-Away Lumber Cars
    April 11, 1928 – A tremendous crash was heard at 7:30 AM throughout Mendocino as eight train cars loaded with lumber ran through the Shipping Point’s loading shed and fell to the rocks below. The Beacon reported, “When the crew of the steamer Noyo and the longshoremen were busily engaged in loading the boat with learn more…
  • Alphonso Riede
    April 10, 1930 – Alphonso Riede was born in Toronto, Ontario, the only child of Alphons and Katharine Hingel Riede. His father was a wood sculptor who served in the Pacific during World War II. After the war, the Riede family moved to Santa Barbara, and Alphonso graduated from high school there, before majoring in learn more…
  • Gleneice Silvia
    April 8, 1958 – Gleneice Silvia died at the age of 45. She suffered a heart attack while at work as a teacher at the Abraham Lincoln High School in San Francisco. Her brother, Everett, who also taught at a nearby school, was summoned to her side, but by the time the ambulance arrived, she learn more…
  • The Fate of Kibesillah
    In the 1970s, the Mendocino County Historical Society sponsored the publication of “Reminiscences” by often unnamed old-timers. The Kelley House research library has many of these, including “Early Days on the Coast: True Accounts of Fort Bragg, Kibesillah and Vicinity.” No author was listed and “no responsibility was assumed for statements of facts.” It’s still learn more…
  • West Main Street, 1975
    West Main Street in Mendocino, 1975. View looking west along the north side of Mendocino’s Main Street in 1975. The farthest building on the left is the old Neto Hotel Barbershop, which in 1975 was occupied by Victorian Vignettes, a photographic studio. Next is the Zacha Building, built in 1965, then the old Lemos Saloon/Store learn more…
  • Hazel Packard Dennison
    A little girl in a wicker chair holds a parrot. She is gazing down at the toy and dressed in a white, ruffled gown. Meet Hazel Packard Dennison, born on this day, April 5, in 1897. She was the youngest of eight children who, along with her parents Charles Oscar and Hannah Cline Packard, made learn more…
  • Women’s Suffrage Debate
    April 4, 1890 – A very interesting and instructive debate took place in Professor W. H. Greenwell’s department of the public school on the question of whether women should be allowed to vote. The Beacon reported on the scene, “Long before the hour appointed for the debate, the room was filled with parents and friends learn more…
  • Thomas Rowe
    April 2, 1929 – Thomas Foster Rowe died at his home near Albion at the age of 91. His passing “takes from the community a beloved neighbor, a loyal citizen and a real pioneer, whose characteristics of industry and integrity were widely known and deserved the utmost respect.” Born in Maine in 1838, he left learn more…
  • John Chalfant
    April 1, 1905 – The Beacon reported the death of Mendocino pioneer John E. Chalfant at his home in Cloverdale. His health had been failing for some time, and death was not unexpected. John was born in Pennsylvania in 1825. “When gold was discovered in California he caught the fever and came west, landing in learn more…
  • Locomotive Falls Into Big River
    March 30, 1921 – The Mendocino Lumber Company’s locomotive “Climax” fell into Big River, landing in 6 feet of water. The engine had been in the machine shop at the mill for weeks undergoing repairs. The overhaul had been completed, and the engine was being loaded on a lighter for shipment to the Boom when learn more…
  • Caspar Lumber Company Store Fire
    March 29, 1947 – A fire destroyed the interior of the Caspar Lumber Company Store. The night watchman had made his usual hourly rounds, but just a half-hour later at 3am, the yard watchman, Melvin Main, saw flames break through the roof of the brick structure. The Beacon reported, “The alarm was turned in immediately, learn more…
  • Wire Chute at the Shipping Point
    March 28, 1902 – The wire chute at the Shipping Point was used for the first time to transfer lumber to a waiting ship. Jerome C. Ford supervised the installation. Previously, lumber was transferred to a ship by lighter or by apron chute (also called slide or gravity chute). During the previous decade, wire chutes learn more…
  • John Q. Brown
    March 26, 1846 – John Q. Brown, a pioneer of Mendocino, was born at Punto del Gada on the island of Flores, Azore Islands. The Beacon reported, “Of his childhood, we know that from his tenderest years, he was remarkable for his strict honesty, candor and veracity. At the age of thirteen, he was taken learn more…
  • Tennis Tournament, 1896
    March 25, 1896 – A tennis tournament was held on the property that is now the Mendocino Art Center. The Beacon reported, “The strife for the supremacy in the tennis contest last Saturday was a very interesting affair, and highly exciting at times. Our sporting reporter was present from the tossing of the coppers, and learn more…
  • A Vanished Landmark at Little River
    Take a look at any panoramic photo of early Little River and you’ll notice that where once stood many structures – houses, the mill, hotels – there are now a lot of trees and bushes. Of the several vanished landmarks of long ago, there is one that wasn’t readily seen even when it existed: the learn more…
  • The Potato Club
    March 23, 1927 – A Boys’ Potato Club was organized, and a potato-growing contest was announced. Officers of the club were: Francis Alfred Nichols, President; Henry Triplett, Vice-President; Harold Reep, Secretary; and Joseph August, Reporter. O. A. Hamblin, ranch manager of the Heeser Ranch, was the club advisor. The club work was done under the learn more…
  • Jackson Vulcanizing Company
    March 22, 1920 – Walter Jackson opened the Jackson Vulcanizing Company in the old Flanagan Saloon, which he rented from the Kelley estate. This building faced Lansing Street on the west side of today’s Rotary Park and was torn down in 1929. Jackson’s company advertised Archer, Dayton, and Sampson Tires for sale, and he also learn more…
  • Steam Schooner Albion
    March 21, 1913 – The steam schooner Albion wrecked on the rocks at Stewart’s Point, 57 miles north of San Francisco. While on her southbound trip from Bowen’s Landing for San Francisco, the Albion, commanded by Captain Victor Jacobson, put into Stewart’s Point early in the day to load railroad ties. At noon, after only learn more…
  • Ruel Armas
    March 19, 1938 – Ruel Rodgers Armas, a former resident of Mendocino, died at his home in Oakland. Born in Boston in 1873, his parents moved their family to Mendocino when he was just a year old. “It was here where he spent his boyhood days attending the local schools. It was here where he learn more…
  • Chester Barry
    March 18, 1925 – Chester L. Barry passed away in Mendocino at the home of his brother-in-law and sister, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Knacke. He had been ill for several weeks, but insisted on getting up for a few hours every day and sitting outside in the sunshine. The night before, he had fallen into learn more…
  • POW Camps and Enemy Aliens
    While many people are familiar with the internment camps for people of Japanese ancestry that the US government established during World War II, few folks realize this was not the only group incarcerated in California. Residents of Mendocino County born in Germany or Italy were also considered “enemy aliens.”  Starting in 1942, people of Japanese learn more…
  • MacCallum House – THEN and NOW
    MacCallum Residence, c. 1950. Black & White photograph taken by Ray Wolfe from the south side of Main Street looking over the Kelley House pond to the MacCallum House. Visible to the right of the house is the MacCallum water tower, then the Hegenmeyer water tower (torn down around 1970), and then the Eliza Kelley learn more…
  • Cat Mother and the All-Night Newsboys
    The Kelley House Museum is interested in collecting materials related to the 1970s band Cat Mother and the All-Night Newsboys for an exhibit in Summer 2022. We are looking for pictures, posters, flyers, music, videos, or memorabilia for consideration as part of the show. If you were there and have something to share, please contact learn more…
  • Antone Valadao
    March 14, 1907 – A funeral was held for Antone Valadao, a 26-year-old mill worker who was struck in the head by a falling log at the Mendocino mill the previous week. The mill had been running less than 3 hours when the accident occurred. He was taken home under a physician’s care, but the learn more…
  • Main Street Courtyard, Mendocino – THEN and NOW
    The Courtyard Walk is a space between two nineteenth century buildings that was created when the three-story building that once occupied this space was moved down Main Street to a new location on large wooden rollers. In 1893, George Switzer bought the old Barry building on this property and moved the house onto his lot learn more…
  • Mendocino Presbyterian Church – THEN and NOW
    Albert Maxwell built this beautifully preserved English Gothic structure out of native redwood, milled in Mendocino. Construction began on October 7, 1867, and the finished structure was dedicated on July 5, 1868. It is the oldest Presbyterian Church in continuous use in California and is a California Historical Landmark. The nave is 33 x 54 learn more…
  • Fast Cars, Loose Clothing
    A typical way to date unmarked photos is by studying the people or objects in an image. Hairstyles, hats, and even clothing are all accurate markers of period and time, and the Kelley House archives abound with examples of austere families, their children trussed up in their Sunday best, their expressions suggesting that life was learn more…
  • Jarvis & Nichols, 1907
    Photograph of the Jarvis & Nichols Building, located on the north side of Main Street in Mendocino. It has been exuberantly draped with bunting and decorated with flags for the July 4th, 1907 Parade and Celebration. The view is looking to the northeast and is taken from the second floor of the Meat Market on learn more…
  • Big River Justice Court
    March 8, 1916 – A number of young boys were taken before Judge William True Wallace at the Big River Justice Court. The lads were accused of tampering with the switches that controlled the street lights, turning them on and off at will. In addition, the local electric company had suffered considerable annoyance and financial learn more…
  • Charles Boyle
    March 7, 1940 – Charles Boyle died at his Mendocino home shortly after 8 pm. The 5th of 8 children, Charles was born in Albion in 1872 to Thomas and Mary Boyle. His father had come to California in 1863 from Oldtown, Maine, and his mother and infant brother John followed a year later. The learn more…
  • Wagon at the Occidental Hotel, 1887 – 1899
    Photograph of people loaded in an open wagon with a three-horse team in front of the Occidental Hotel on Main Street in Mendocino. Other people are on the porch and balcony of the hotel. The hotel’s livery stable is on the left, and its water tower and windmill are behind the structures. The steeple of learn more…
  • Fernando Fraga
    March 4, 1975 – Fernando Fraga passed away at his home on Calpella Street at the age of 83. He had been a Mendocino resident for 65 years and worked for the Union Lumber Company for 50 years prior to retiring in 1960. Born on Flores Island in the Azores, Fernando was the son of learn more…
  • Early Chinese in Fort Bragg
    The earliest documentation of the Chinese presence in Mendocino County is clearly shown in the town of Mendocino. It would seem the natural migration of the Chinese should be seen in Fort Bragg in the late 1850s, shortly after they appear in Mendocino, but that is not the case.  Newspapers and maps help confirm the learn more…
  • Elevated View of Central Mendocino, 1909-1912
    An elevated view of central Mendocino probably taken from the water tower belonging to the Sempione Hotel, formerly the Lisbon House, 1909-1912. This is a view to the east, looking across Kasten Street and down Albion Street. On the left, the roof of the John Dougherty House is visible, with its small water tank in learn more…
  • Ocean Cave, 1898
    Man and child standing in front of an ocean cave at low tide. Caption on back of photo, “This is a cave in Cape Mendocino 9 miles from here. Taken March 1, 1898. That’s the ocean back of those boys.” (Kelley House Collection, Kelley House Photographs) Mendocino from the Beginning: Twenty Billion Years of History learn more…
  • North Side of Main Street, c. 1883
    View of businesses on the north side of Main Street in Mendocino, looking westward, c. 1883. The two-story J. D. Murray Drug Store is the structure on the far left. To its right is the Chung Kow Wash House and Laundry, which was located on the northwest corner of Kasten and Main Streets. Both buildings learn more…
  • Joel Fisher Hills
    February 26, 1897 – Joel Fisher Hills died at his home in San Francisco at the age of 74. “He was a man of genial disposition and displayed considerable activity in business even up to his last years.” Born in Maine, Hills arrived in Mendocino in 1853 or 1854. He was the first Mendocino shopkeeper, learn more…
  • Sarah Prentiss
    February 25, 1912 – Sarah Prentiss began teaching the 1st and 2nd grade classes at the Mendocino Grammar School. Miss Prentiss, who never married, was a devoted educator over the course of her 18-year career in Mendocino. Born in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1870, Sarah came to California with her parents in 1887. Following her graduation learn more…
  • Albion’s Lost Railroad
    Questions about the Albion Lumber Company’s miles of railroad on the Mendocino Coast have been popping up at the Kelley House Museum recently. Here’s a review of how this little-known railroad came to be, what it did, where it went, and what remains for us to see. Albion’s first steam sawmill was built in 1854. learn more…
  • Stone Jewelry Store, Main Street, 1924
    Albert “Bert” Grindle Stone inside his family’s jewelry and clock store located on the south side of Main Street in Mendocino. Bert is dressed in a suit and tie and stands on the right, behind chest-high, glass-topped display cases filled with jewelry and other goods. A row of clocks sits on a long wall shelf learn more…
  • Main Street, Mendocino, 1883
    A westward view of Main Street in Mendocino in 1883. A pair of mules pulls a wagon down the graded dirt street lined with wooden sidewalks. On the right is a two-story building occupied by Walker’s Saloon and Restaurant, which became the Alhambra Hotel after Duncan Walker died suddenly on April 26, 1883 of tuberculosis. learn more…
  • Daisy Henderson
    February was always the best month of Daisy Henderson’s short life. The other months weren’t quite so kind. Born in Mendocino on February 18, 1899, Daisy was the middle child and only daughter of James Albert and Daisy Gregor Henderson. She and her brothers attended the Mendocino Grammar and High Schools. Growing up, Daisy performed learn more…
  • Aerial View of West Main Street, 1900
    Early view of Mendocino looking southwest along Main Street toward the Shipping Point with stacks of lumber waiting to be loaded. The small white dwelling in the foreground is a Chinese dwelling, and is behind the Chung Kow Wash House, which is not visible to the left. A total of three Chinese buildings are on learn more…
  • Wreck of the Coastal Steamer
    Falling apart at the seams? That’s what happened a little over a century ago to a coastal steamer belonging to the Caspar Lumber Company. The Samoa carried a crew of twenty-one men and 380,000 feet of lumber on the morning of January 28, 1913. She was making her usual run from Caspar to San Francisco learn more…