Making History Blog

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

The Ugly Face of Racism

The Ugly Face of Racism
We don’t know who took the picture, but we know when and where it was taken. On Halloween 1954, a trio of teenage boys got together at the Westport Store wearing hats, scarves and blackface. The photograph is important because it shows an era when the use of blackface was nothing out of the ordinary. The young men in the photograph were identified, but it seems more important to note the nature of the choice they made that Halloween, rather than[... see full page]

A Life Cut Short by Tragedy

A Life Cut Short by Tragedy
Health care, education, transportation infrastructure, and youthful employment are all issues found in today’s headlines. These are mutual concerns, which affect us all and are part of the human experience. They also figure in the sadly brief life story of Ethel Silvera, who lived and died on the Mendocino Coast early in the 20th century. As with much of history, Ethel’s story brings to mind how over the decades circumstances have changed, and yet remain the same. Ethel Margaret Silvera was[... see full page]

A Medicine Show Comes to Mendocino

A Medicine Show Comes to Mendocino
In October of 1891, a particular form of entertainment came to town. The Pawnee Medicine Company provided “free entertainments in Murray’s Hall” in Mendocino. The editions of the Mendocino Beacon for both Saturdays, October 10 and 17, included brief mentions of the show.  In the first story, readers of the Beacon learned that the Pawnee Medicine Company’s performers had begun their circuit the previous Tuesday and had “held forth to good houses every evening since.” What was a Medicine Show and[... see full page]

Bear and Stebbins

Bear and Stebbins
Any organization that has been around for a while acquires a history. The Kelley House Museum has a relationship with the Mendocino Coast, as a non-profit devoted to history itself. While there’s the story of the house -- the Kelley family, the town of Mendocino, its life and times, which now span three different centuries -- there’s also the history of this organization. It began with two women, Dorothy Bear and Beth Stebbins. They wanted to enjoy a place and at[... see full page]

"Hello, Central?"

"Hello, Central?"
While researching online for this article, I searched for the date when telephone service first came to Mendocino County. All sorts of hits came up, but alas, they addressed the issue of cellular service! Much of Mendocino County is still known for its remoteness, and one website actually stated that residents and visitors alike can tell when they’ve entered the confines of the county by the disappearance of their signal bars (depending on the service provider). As all serious students[... see full page]

The Remembered Earth

The Remembered Earth
by Sarah Nathe It is generally accepted that reunions are about people. You take a trip back to a place where you once lived in order to spend a couple of days with people you haven’t seen for awhile: family members, classmates, teammates, military buddies, work colleagues, summer camp friends. You spend most of the time “catching up” and reminiscing about the great times you had together whenever. That is certainly the focus of the new exhibit at the Kelley House[... see full page]