Making History Blog

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

Paradise Lost

Paradise Lost
by Tonia Hurst, Kelley House Museum volunteer Far from prying eyes on land as beautiful and forlorn as the Scottish Highlands stood the town of Wheeler. Today, less than fifty-six years later, nothing remains of this once vibrant community but the memories shared by the thirty or so families who called it home. Wheeler sat along the Coast at the mouth of Jackass Creek sixty miles north of Fort Bragg, isolated by the King Mountain Range. Once a Sinkyone fishing community, used[... see full page]

Pioneering Images: The Photography of M.M. Hazeltine

Pioneering Images: The Photography of M.M. Hazeltine
by Tonia Hurst, Kelley House Museum volunteer During his long and peripatetic life, Martin Mason Hazeltine lived in many places. Born in Vermont in 1827, he was raised with his seven siblings in St. Charles, Illinois. In 1850, he came west in search of gold, following in the footsteps of his younger brother George, but things didn’t pan out and the brothers returned to the East Coast and became daguerreotypists. Originally trained in St. Charles, as they advanced, they moved to[... see full page]

Pipe Dreams

Pipe Dreams
by Tonia Hurst, Kelley House Museum volunteer When people think of water pipes, they generally think of PVC, copper, iron, clay or concrete pipes, but one material which rarely comes to mind yet which was cheap, abundant, local, and in many respects, a manufacturer’s dream was . . . redwood. The many old water towers prominent around Mendocino attest to redwood’s durability for freshwater storage. It was equally prized for tanning vats and septic tanks, some of which are still in use[... see full page]

Constant Lover

Constant Lover
by Sarah Nathe, Kelley House Museum Board Member The French may be glad to die for love, as the old song goes, but Auggie Heeser was willing to live for it -- a very long time.  Heeser, son of pioneer Mendocino Beacon publisher, William Heeser, fell in love with Edith Nichols when he was 21 and she 15 (Beacon, June 29, 1956), but 50 years passed before she married him.  Dante met Beatrice when he was nine years old and burned[... see full page]

Every Picture Tells A Story

Every Picture Tells A Story
by Anne Pierce Cooper, Kelley House Museum Curator This looks like a sweet group of friends enjoying an evening together and quite obviously posing for the camera. Some look more aware of the presence of the lens than others. The mystery behind this photograph is that we know just enough about it to compel us to want to know more. On the back of the original, from the Kelley House Museum’s archives, a note was written: “This is a flash light[... see full page]

Can-tastic

Can-tastic
by Tonia Hurst, Kelley House Volunteer On a wet winter morning, few things are better than shelter, a hot cup of coffee, and a story, especially a local one. In 1938, a steamer ran aground off the Mendocino Coast. Built in 1918 in Toledo, Ohio, as a military ship, she was christened the Lake Cayuga. With the end of World War I, she was repurposed as a merchant vessel and renamed the Dorothy Wintermote, after the daughter of the founder of the[... see full page]