Making History Blog

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

Bonds and Bravery

Bonds and Bravery
One of the big stories covered by the Mendocino Beacon 88 years ago this week was the election requesting the passage of bonds to rebuild Mendocino’s grammar school. The “old school,” which had been constructed in 1885, had burned in December 1929. The election was held on March 3, 1930. No lives were lost in the December fire of 1929, although Arthur Lemos had a bad fall while climbing down from the roof! As reported in the Beacon, the fire had[... see full page]

Accidents Will Happen

Accidents Will Happen
Whether you have lived on the North Coast for a lifetime or you are just passing through it is clear that this part of the world, with all its attendant beauty, can be a dangerous place. The early days were marked by various accidents, many of which happened in the context of the lumber industry. Inside the mill near whirring saws and slippery belts, working the mill pond, or out in the woods falling and transporting trees, there were multiple[... see full page]

A Memorable Class

A Memorable Class
When created in 1865, the historic Little River school district had an average daily attendance of nine pupils. By 1874, a larger school building was needed and it was built on the east side of the road which became Highway 1, on the north side of School House Creek. In 1877, with a school population of 70, a new school was built on a site about one quarter of a mile south of the Little River Inn, on property donated[... see full page]

Business As Usual

Business As Usual
by Katy Tahja, Kelley House Museum docent In exploring the archives of the Kelley House Museum, I discovered a list of business establishments existing in Mendocino in 1883. Here is a sample of the variety of commercial enterprises, which formed the business district 135 years ago, as listed in the Mendocino Beacon. There were seven hotels in the town, one of which was “dry” serving no liquor. Four hotels had stables and two had restaurants, one with a liquor bar and one[... see full page]

Arithmetic from the Archives

Arithmetic from the Archives
If you’ve ever been to the Kelley House Museum, you no doubt have seen the 150-year-old wedding dress on display in the front hall. The two-piece brown plaid taffeta jacket and skirt belonged to Phoebe Allen Marsan, who married John Peter Marsan in Kansas in the late 1860s. Their only child, David Allen Marsan, was born March 19, 1870, in Ossawatomie, Kansas. The young family headed out West, but Phoebe died along the way in Colorado Springs, Colorado, circa 1875.[... see full page]

This Will Fix You Right Up

This Will Fix You Right Up
by Sarah Nathe, Kelley House Museum Board secretary Two weeks ago at the opening of the new Kelley House exhibit, “Medicine on the Mendocino Coast: Say Ahh…”, I was looking at pioneer druggist C.O. Packard’s prescription ledger from 1882 and wondering about some of the potions and pills he dispensed. I noticed a “Morph. Sulph.” prescription for a Mrs. Johnson, a “Cocaine Wine” prescription for a Mr. Hardy, and a “Codeine” prescription for a Mr. Gibbs for Rosie. Rosie must have[... see full page]