Making History Blog

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

Doghole Schooners and Mr. Turner

Doghole Schooners and Mr. Turner
What’s a doghole schooner? The standard joke about Mendocino County’s 30 shipping ports 120 years ago was that they were so small and tight a dog getting ready to settle down would have a hard time turning around to settle down. The ships were small with two masts fore and aft and sails, though many were later converted to steam power. They existed to haul finished lumber from mills on the coast to bigger marketplaces and to deliver merchandise to[... see full page]

Courting Coastal Tourists

Courting Coastal Tourists
Katy Tahja’s article a couple of weeks ago about the Point Cabrillo Auto Court got me wondering about other auto courts and where people used to spend their nights when visiting the Mendocino coast.  The Lazy Eye Cottages, c. 1932-1950. Cars and people could lodge together in this early day auto court along Highway 1, south of Little River. Now called The Inn at Schoolhouse Creek. (Kelley House Museum photo postcard) Back in the late 1800s (and before), people would walk to[... see full page]

Cheers for 90 Years

Cheers for 90 Years
It was going to be a humdinger of a Comptche party in late June. The whole town was invited to show up at the community hall, family would be arriving, all to celebrate Buddy Stenback’s 90th birthday in style. Only problem? A nasty pandemic got in the way and cancelled the party. Buddy Stenback 9 mos old baby photo. Photo  courtesy of the Stenback family Stenback was pretty easy about it, knowing that sometime in the future there will be a[... see full page]

Voepel's and Point Cabrillo

Voepel's and Point Cabrillo
So, a family ancestor writes an autobiography 25 years ago and shares it with the family. Is it of interest to folks outside the family? If it shares some of the history of the Mendocino Coast, then YES! The Kelley House Museum thanks the Voepel/Stenback family of Comptche for a donated 68-page autobiography with a peek into life on the coast in the 1950s and 1960s. A page from the Point Cabrillo Auto Court’s 1948 Guest Register. Auto Courts, popular during[... see full page]

A Banner Day

A Banner Day
The 2020 Fourth of July will not be the celebration we were hoping for. The expected parade along thronged streets, and the music-filled lawn party in front of the Kelley House – enjoyed by hundreds for more than 30 years – has been cancelled for public health reasons. We will have to celebrate our country’s birthday in other, less crowded ways. Mendocino’s 1883 4th of July parade down Main Street. Photograph taken by Ira C. Perry. (Emery Escola Collection, Kelley House[... see full page]

Building Really Steep Railroads

Building Really Steep Railroads
In studying history, one of my favorite discoveries is how creativity and ingenuity solved problems, like moving really BIG things. Incline railways were one such invention. These rail lines had nicknames for their many parts – they were “sidehill railroads” using “gravity systems” to run “log slide engines” and “dropping machines.” Basically, what the systems accomplished was moving logs or lumber in really steep terrain. Hare Creek Tramway, 1904. A carload of logs coming down a cable incline tramway to the[... see full page]