Making History Blog

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

  • Navy Dirigible, Shenandoah
    October 17, 1924 – The big Navy dirigible, Shenandoah, sailed majestically over Mendocino at an altitude of 500 feet. The airship had left San Diego at 9 am the day before and was admired by thousands as she flew north along the California coast to Camp Lewis near Tacoma, Washington. In addition to a flight learn more…
  • Accident at the Shipping Point, 1883
    October 16, 1883 – Peter Byron was seriously injured in an accident at the Shipping Point. Peter was the clapperman, responsible for stopping the lumber as it slid down the apron chute from the lumberyard to the ships waiting to be loaded. The brake, called a clapper, was positioned near the end of the chute. learn more…
  • Three Mendocino Water Towers, 1948
    Photograph of three Mendocino water towers, 1948. This photo was taken near the southeast corner of Ford and Calpella streets, looking northeast. The water tower on the left was built by engineer and millwright Gebhard Hegenmeyer in 1884 on the south side of Calpella Street between Ford and Lansing Streets. This 60-foot-tall tower, possibly the 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…
  • Main Street, Mendocino, 1886
    Photograph of Main Street, Mendocino in 1886, looking east. The three-story Central House is visible on the left. Originally built in 1878 and operated by the Bever brothers until their retirement in 1901, the Central House would be renamed the Central Hotel, and finally, the Hotel Mendocino in 1927. It has decorative sawn balusters with learn more…
  • Ethel Silvera
    October 12, 1919 – Two automobiles collided near the intersection of Main and Lansing streets in what may have been the first car accident in town. Miss Ethel Silvera was driving a Dodge when she hit Archie Cameron of Albion. No one was injured, but the fenders of both vehicles were badly bent, and the learn more…
  • “When Mendocino’s Wires Went Away” by Katy Tahja
    When were the utility lines put underground in Mendocino? This question was recently asked at the Kelley House. A few long-term residents guessed it was more than 25 years ago. The accurate records are in our vault, of course, so that’s where we went to get the answer. When the idea originated, utility companies and learn more…
  • Front of Mendosa’s Warehouse Lost in Storm
    October 10, 1962 – The front of Mendosa’s Warehouse was lost during a fierce storm. A crew of men worked hard to prevent greater damage, and the roof and the rest of the walls were preserved. This property, located on the northwest corner of Lansing and Calpella streets, was once home to the Mansion House, learn more…
  • Cattle Invade S & E Garage
    October 9, 1928 – A band of 60 dairy cows were driven through Mendocino by Joe Quaill’s vaqueros. The cattle had been sold and were being herded from the south coast to Fort Bragg for shipment by rail to their destination. While passing the S & E Garage, the cows spied the big open doors, learn more…
  • Kelley House Cypress Trees
    October 8, 1892 – The Mendocino Beacon reported, “Great improvements are being made at the residence of W. H. Kelley. The cypress trees have been trimmed, which greatly adds to the fine appearance of the grounds.” The cypress trees had been planted in 1861 by a little girl and her father – Daisy and William learn more…
  • Partners Gallery in 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…
  • Mendocino Beacon Debuts
    October 6, 1877 – The first issue of the Mendocino Beacon was published. William Heeser bought out the West Coast Star and all of its equipment from M. J. C. Galvin and hired W. H. Meachem as the first Beacon editor. Subscription rates were $3 per year. Meachem explained the newspaper’s name in his first learn more…
  • Mendocino Baptist Church Interior, 1948
    Interior of the Mendocino Baptist Church, 1948. Four of the chairs in this photo now reside in the Kelley House Museum kitchen. The Mendocino Baptist Church was dedicated in 1894 by the Reverend John S. Ross of Caspar. This building was a gift of Eliza Kelley to the congregation and was in use until after learn more…
  • 1924 World Series
    October 4, 1924 – Howard Brown displayed his superheterodyne radio set at Stone’s Jewelry Store on Main Street, allowing Mendocino baseball fans to listen to Game 1 of the 1924 World Series being played at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D. C. The game was relayed from the Oakland Post Enquirer and came in very clear, learn more…
  • Mendocino High Arts & Crafts Class
    October 3, 1934 – An afternoon Arts and Crafts class for adults began at Mendocino High School. Mrs. Anne Valentine, the high school’s Art teacher, offered the class to any member of the community interested in studying Arts and Crafts. Eight ladies attended the first meeting, and several decided to take up leather tooling, one learn more…
  • Big River Bridge Repaired
    October 2, 1907 – The Big River Bridge reopened for public travel after having been closed for 8 days. The closure was needed because the main pier that supported the shore end of the northern span settled 6 feet in one night. Wilder Pullen and Pete Hansen completed the repairs. In the meantime, George A. learn more…
  • The Wreck of the Steamer Santa Barbara, 1905
    October 1, 1905 – The steamer Santa Barbara, headed for Seattle with a cargo of 300 tons of freight and 18 passengers, wrecked on the rocks at Del Mar below Gualala at 4 o’clock in the morning. Despite a big hole in her bow, her officers soon convinced themselves that there was no immediate danger 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…
  • Ukiah & Evergreen Streets, Looking Southwest, c. 1960
    View to southwest at intersection of Ukiah and Evergreen Streets in Mendocino, c. 1960. Note the Mendocino Presbyterian Church in the background and the person walking south on Evergreen Street toward Main Street. The distinctive gambrel roof of the McCornack House (Didjeridoo Dreamtime Inn in 2021) is to the right of the church. The yard learn more…
  • The Denslow-Morgan-Preston House
    The Denslow-Morgan-Preston House was the last of four Mendocino homes designed by Charles Denslow. J. D. Johnson began construction in March 1889, and the 3-story mansion, located on the northeast corner of Little Lake and Williams streets, took more than a year to complete. The interior fittings were as elaborate as the exterior design. Clear, learn more…
  • First Mendocino Mill
    The first Mendocino sawmill was purchased on the east coast by Edwards C. Williams at the direction of Henry Meiggs, and shipped around the Horn of South America to California. The mill arrived in Mendocino Bay on the brig Ontario, landing July 19, 1852. Construction of the first mill building began in the Fall of learn more…
  • Charles Denslow
    September 25, 1890 – Charles Wellington Denslow, pioneer of Mendocino, died of pneumonia at the age of 75. Born in Connecticut in 1815, he arrived in Mendocino in November 1866, working as a bookkeeper for the Mendocino Lumber Company and serving as treasurer of the Bank of Mendocino and of the Mendocino Discount Bank. Denslow learn more…
  • Bonita Donoho, Equestrienne
    September 24, 1933 – Miss Bonita Donoho led a big parade in San Francisco, riding a horse with the 91st Division. She graduated from Mendocino High School in 1930 and Healds Business College in 1932. At the time of the parade, she was employed as a stenographer by the American Legion in San Francisco. While 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…
  • Liquor Sales Banned
    July 27, 1909 – Mendocino voted to ban all alcohol sales within the town limits by a 27-vote margin. The vote was held at the second Odd Fellows Hall (torn down in the 1950s) on the northeast corner of Kasten and Ukiah streets. The early part of the 20th Century had seen a steep rise learn more…
  • Bowman & Tyrrell Garage
    July 26, 1924 – The Mendocino Beacon reported that the Bowman & Tyrrell garage had been painted a gorgeous yellow and red. The Shell Oil Company was painting all the local garages that sold their products in the company’s vivid colors. The previous year, George Daniels tore down the original livery stable on the site to learn more…
  • The Wreck of the Frolic
    July 25, 1850 – The sailing brig Frolic ran aground on the Mendocino Coast just north of where the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse now stands. The Boston-owned Baltimore clipper was returning from China when the crew sailed too close to the shore and struck a submerged reef. The ship was bound for San Francisco where the Gold Rush learn more…
  • Carlson’s City Hotel
    July 24, 1859 – John Edward Carlson married Elizabeth Kupp Broderick. Elizabeth, a widow, was born in County Cork, Ireland and had a 6-year-old son. They had four more children together and operated a successful hotel. John was born in Sweden on June 20, 1827. He came to California in 1849 as a seaman and learn more…
  • Percy Colby Almost Drowned
    July 23, 1911 – Percy Colby, an assistant in John Chambers’ blacksmith shop, had a close call with death while crossing Big River on horseback. He was on a hunting trip near the Mendocino Lumber Company’s Lower Ranch when his horse became mired in quicksand. The horse panicked and began flailing about, landing in a learn more…
  • The Great Lady of Horticulture
    Charlotte Hoak grew up in the wilds of Comptche, a local girl, born in 1874 on ranch land that had formerly been under the jurisdiction of the local Pomo chief, Comptche—hence the name the region became known by. Comptche is, in fact, a Pomo word that means “the valley among the hills.” It’s land the learn more…
  • Silent Movie, “The Promise”
    July 21, 1917 – Joe Nichols presented one of the first motion pictures filmed on the Mendocino Coast at his picture house inside Kellieowen Hall on the southwest corner of Ukiah and Lansing. “The Promise” featured a number of local coast residents including Mendocino Lumber Company woods boss, Ed Boyle. Scenes had been shot in learn more…
  • Mendocino’s First Selfie?
    Is this Mendocino’s first selfie? Family group photograph taken in the north side yard of the Maxwell home on Kasten Street, c. 1915. On the left, Elsie Maxwell is holding her son Kenneth Maxwell, and Joshua Grindle (Elsie’s step-father) sits in a chair with her small daughter, Grace Maxwell. In the rear, Eliza Grindle (Elsie’s learn more…
  • Hellsgate Dam
    July 18, 1922 – John Norberry went to Hellsgate logging dam on the Southfork of Big River to increase the height of the dam by two feet and add another gate to the structure. The improvements would increase the volume of water driving logs down the river during freshet time. Constructed by Norberry in late learn more…
  • Airplane Arrives From Ukiah
    July 17, 1930 – J. W. Moore and P. W. Cleary flew their airplane from Ukiah to Mendocino. What had been a day-long trip in a horse-drawn carriage only a few years before was now completed in just 25 minutes. The aviators taught at a flight school in Ukiah and had started out that morning learn more…
  • St. Vincent’s Catholic Church Demolished
    July 16, 1921 – Work began to dismantle Saint Vincent’s, the first Catholic Church building in Mendocino County. Located on Little Lake Road, the church site is now part of Hillcrest Cemetery, and a tall white cross marks the approximate place where the building once stood. The church building had a long history in Mendocino. learn more…
  • Tenez for Mendocino
    With the 2021 Wimbledon Tennis Championships wrapped up, let’s take a look at where tennis was played in Mendocino. Kelley House has documented five tennis courts in town, starting in 1892 at the Morgan residence on Little Lake Street. At present, this is the site of the Art Center, but from 1890 to 1956, the learn more…
  • Mule Team and Wagon
    Mule team and wagon hauling freight from the Shipping Point in Mendocino, c. 1900. Portuguese Beach is in the background. The first two mules have a set of bells on their harnesses to warn others along the road of their approach. The driver is unknown. This is probably one of Ed Boyle’s outfits taking supplies learn more…
  • Construction of Apple Hall
    July 13, 1912 – The Farmers & Apple Growers Association announced plans to build Apple Hall. This 40 by 100 foot exhibition hall was built to house the annual Apple Fair. The previous Fall, a group of local farmers had organized an agricultural fair to display their products. That first Apple Fair was held in learn more…
  • Liberty Theatre Sold
    July 12, 1924 – Asa Bishop, a well-liked clerk at Burtt Elliott’s general merchandise store, announced that he was buying the Liberty Theatre from Dave C. Crockett. Located in the Kelley building, the business also included a soda fountain, confectionery, and ice cream parlor. In addition to Moving Picture shows 6 days per week (no learn more…
  • Lumber Company Barn Burns Down
    July 11, 1936 – One of Mendocino’s oldest landmarks, the Mendocino Lumber Company Barn, was destroyed in a fire. Located south of the intersection of Lansing Street and the Old Coast Road, this 70-year-old structure had originally been constructed by Jerome B. Ford and had been used as a skating rink, dance hall, bull barn, learn more…
  • Quilted Iconic Buildings of Mendocino
    You won’t want to miss the Kelley House Museum’s summer exhibit, “Quilted Iconic Buildings of Mendocino,” which runs July 2 – August 31. In an extraordinary display of history meets art, 26 iconic buildings are brought to life on quilt squares, including the Temple of Kwan Tai, the Presbyterian Church, the MacCallum House, the Mendocino learn more…
  • Mendocino Woodlands
    July 7, 1945 – The three camps at Mendocino Woodlands were filled to capacity with 375 young people from the Bay Area enjoying outdoor life on Big River to the fullest extent. Each of the camps offered their campers unique opportunities to swim in the river, fish, or hike miles of trails. Built in 1935 learn more…
  • Orr’s Hot Springs Resort
    July 6, 1921 – Daisy Kelley MacCallum, along with her brother Otis Kelley and his family, departed by auto for a stay at Orr’s Hot Springs Resort, about 14 miles northwest of Ukiah. The Kelley family had vacationed at the resort since well before the turn of the century, when their father, William H. Kelley, learn more…
  • Flag Raised for the Fourth – 1979
    July 4, 1979 – The Kelley House Museum raised the flag on our flagpole for the first time. Excerpted from Mendocino Historical Review, Number 8, June, 1981. Written by Beth Stebbins. Barbara Carpenter, although quite ill for eight years, had talked about having a flagpole at Kelley House. She wanted to give us her father’s learn more…
  • Masonic Lodge Planned
    July 3, 1865 – A group of Masons assembled to formulate plans for organizing a Lodge. They included: Erick Jensen Albertson, Silas B. Coombs, William Booth, Richard G. Coombs, Isaiah Stevens, F. B. Lowell, James Bush Rice, George R. Lowell, Albert T. Rodgers and George Canning Smith. The Mendocino Lodge, No. 179, was officially formed learn more…
  • Mendocino-Ukiah Mail Delivery
    July 2, 1906 – Liverymen Boyd & Daniels began fulfilling their contract to carry U. S. mail between Mendocino and Ukiah by horse-drawn stagecoach. The Mendocino-Ukiah Stage Line also carried passengers and ran three times per week. The stages left Ukiah at 7am on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, arriving in Mendocino the following day. One-way learn more…
  • Then and Now on Howard Street
    Two images, taken almost 100 years apart, showing the house located on the southeast corner of Howard and Ukiah Streets in Mendocino.  A Category I historical structure, it was designed and built in 1883 by A. F. Carmichael as a residence for restauranteur and hotel owner W. T. Wilson. Starting in 1887, Dr. William McCornack learn more…