Making History Blog

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

Fire and Water

Fire and Water
by Karen McGrath, Kelley House Museum Director-Curator It’s been years -- generations -- since anything has happened at that place in Mendocino where Lansing Street comes down the hill to meet Main. This level area above the bluffs overlooking the Bay has been empty since 1941 when the biggest hotel in town, the three-storied Occidental, was destroyed by fire and never rebuilt. Over the years, footpaths wound through the volunteer trees and wild blackberries, but the lot remained vacant and quiet,[... see full page]

Recycling History Documents

Recycling History Documents
by Katy Tahja In a historian’s world, primary resources are original materials which researchers can study in order to write books or articles about any person or subject. If someone collected my handwritten draft of this newspaper article and saved it, they would have a primary resource. Once the Mendocino Beacon put the story in print in a published issue, that story becomes a secondary resource. The Peralta Family Through the passing of Kelley House Museum docent and walking[... see full page]

There and Back Again: The Bell of Westport's Schoolhouse

There and Back Again: The Bell of Westport's Schoolhouse
by Anne Cooper, Kelley House Museum curator The Westport Bell Like many of the objects from the nineteenth century, the Westport bell was made to last. There are some gaps in its history, but according to a Kelley House newsletter article by Teresa Jardstrom, a teacher at the Westport School from 1932 to 1952, the bell’s working life began on board a ship. Unfortunately, the name of that ship has been lost, however, the bell had found its[... see full page]

Get You a Copper Kettle

Get You a Copper Kettle
by Karen McGrath, Kelley House Museum Director-Curator Sign for Jack Peters Creek Bridge on Highway 1. The bridge was completed in 1939, one of the Works Progress Administration projects of the New Deal. Get you a copper kettle, get you a copper coil. Fill it with new made corn mash and never more you'll toil. (Folksong written by Frank A Beddoe in the 1950s)   This summer, I stopped by the Kelley House Research Office to look at the birth and death[... see full page]

Speakeasys and Blind Pigs

Speakeasys and Blind Pigs
by Anne Cooper, Kelley House Museum curator The early years of the 20th century were a time of innovations. The automobile had come to stay. People enjoyed the new fashions brought about in the wake of the First World War. With the vote, women had reason to hope that their social status would change for the better. It was also the decade during which national prohibition, or “The Great Experiment”, was underway. In the town of Mendocino, the voting population, meaning men[... see full page]

What’s on Your Shopping List?

What’s on Your Shopping List?
by Anne Cooper, Kelley House Museum curator Both Aileen Gomes and her husband, Joseph, came from Portuguese families. Joseph Antone Gomes was born on the island of Flores on April 19, 1893. He left the Azores and immigrated to the United States in 1911. When the First World War came along, he registered for the draft and by 1920 his papers for naturalization had been submitted. Aileen Victoria Francis was born in California January 7, 1897, but both her parents were[... see full page]