Making History Blog

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

A “Lasting” Legacy - Shoemakers of Mendocino

A “Lasting” Legacy - Shoemakers of Mendocino
by Karen McGrath Putting together the clothing exhibit “Form & Function of Fashion: The Way We Wore,” now showing at the Kelley House Museum through March 18th, I was able to learn a lot about things I typically don’t think too much about. For instance, our lovely women’s hats, gloves and fans were once viewed as absolutely essential if you were to be considered fully dressed. None of these items are found in my closet. One item that hasn’t dropped off the “must-have” list is a pair of shoes. Scientists have[... see full page]

Diary Dilemma

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by Bette Duke, Kelley House Museum history researcher   For genealogists and researchers, diaries can be very enlightening sources for family history and insightful of the character and personality of the diarist. One of the problems, however, is that not many who kept a diary were particularly insightful, often relating too much about the weather or letters they wrote, and very few details of interesting events. Perhaps the main problem with diaries is that there aren’t very many of them. The Kelley[... see full page]

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]

Little Schoolhouse in the Big Woods

Little Schoolhouse in the Big Woods
L by Sarah Nathe Over the past couple of months I have had the pleasure of driving to Ukiah weekly to see a foot doctor.  This has given me the opportunity to become familiar as never before with every twist, turn, and straightaway on Highway 20, and to notice for the first time the little red schoolhouse tucked into the woods on the east end of the meadow at the Camp 20 rest stop near Chamberlain Creek.  I suppose I had failed to see it because the highway at[... 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]