Making History Blog

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

A Rancher's Daughter's Fourth of July

A Rancher's Daughter's Fourth of July
Edith Kent Conway was born into Little River’s pioneering Kent family on August 5, 1901. She kept a diary, which is part of the Kelley House Museum collection, from January to October of 1938. In reading her brief diary entries, one gets the sense that her life was occupied almost entirely by work. She must have been an amazing cook, turning out cakes and pies, roasting meat and making stews on a near daily basis. The men worked hard, too,[... see full page]

Never Say "Cheese"

Never Say "Cheese"
by Sarah Nathe At the opening of the new exhibit on Mendocino photographers at the Kelley House, “Framing History: Worth a Thousand Words,” a couple visitors wondered why people did not smile in those old photos.  Was it because they had bad teeth?  Or because it was easier to hold a stone face during the long exposure times required by early cameras?  Perhaps it was because those Victorians simply weren’t fun people? A little online research shed light on the topic.  While[... see full page]

London Calling

London Calling
by Tonia Hurst On June 19, 1911, Jack London, the notorious bad boy of literature, rumbled into Mendocino City driving a four-in-hand stagecoach. A regular visitor to Greenwood (Elk), and to the Vichy Hot Springs near Ukiah, London had canvassed Mendocino County on horseback after the 1906 earthquake. At the height of his prolific career, he was hired by the North of Bay Counties Association to promote tourism in the area. Though modern advertising was still in its infancy, the story was slated[... see full page]

Help Us Make (Better) History

Help Us Make (Better) History
by Tonia Hurst Every year since 1973, the Kelley House Museum, formerly Mendocino Historical Research, has published a Historical Review dealing with one facet or another of the history of the Mendocino Coast. The most recent release, From Maidens to Mavericks: Mendocino's Women, is in the mail to museum members this week. The next volume in the series, From Byways to Highways, will cover the development of State Route 1 (the Shoreline Highway) in Mendocino County. Starting at Dana Point in Orange[... see full page]

"Framing History: Worth a Thousand Words" Opening May 26

"Framing History: Worth a Thousand Words" Opening May 26
by Anne Cooper, Curator As time machines go, the camera is a good one. Early photographers on the Mendocino Coast, as was true of the men and women engaged in photography everywhere, documented the world around them and the people in it. Their images and the lives they led as photographers -- along with A. O. Carpenter’s equipment as examples of the tools of the trade -- are the subjects of our new exhibit, “Framing History: Worth a Thousand Words,” opening[... see full page]

Mendocino County and the Great White Plague

Mendocino County and the Great White Plague
by Tonia Hurst, Kelley House Museum volunteer “Only four things are necessary in the treatment of this disease: sunlight, fresh air, good food, and rest,” according to Dr. Thomas Darlington, Commissioner of Health, speaking at a conference on Consumption in New York in 1904. In reality, consumption—better known as tuberculosis—remained incurable until the mid 1940s. Before then, 50% of people who contracted the disease eventually would die of it. Tuberculosis spread quickly among the poor and in crowded, urban conditions. It would[... see full page]