Making History Blog

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

Mill Inclinations

Mill Inclinations
When thinking of working in a saw mill, many of us who have never done so have a tendency to focus solely on the space where logs were sawn into lumber; but there were other functioning spaces at “the mill” that were needed in order to arrive at that task. In short, it was all about getting the logs to the saws and then the lumber to the yards. Coming across this photograph in our collection brought to mind the fairly[... see full page]

Outlaw Dentist

Outlaw Dentist
When John F. Wheeler came to Mendocino in 1878, few would have suspected his checkered past. He was married, though we don’t know anything of his wife. He had been trained in dentistry somewhere along the way. Born about 1843, his place of birth was variously recorded as either Arkansas or the Cherokee Nation. His father was born in Tennessee and his mother in Indian Territory. Either way, he may have been raised in Oklahoma. He traveled to points west[... see full page]

Discovering Family Ties at the Temple

Discovering Family Ties at the Temple
Two families whose histories are nothing short of remarkable recently met in Mendocino. The Look family held a reunion here during the last week of July and the Hee family gathered in Mendocino the second weekend of August. Both families are descendants of people who sailed to California because of the Gold Rush. Their families contributed to the building of the town of Mendocino; their stories inform not only local history, but also that of our nation. The Looks trace their[... see full page]

Every Dog Must Have Its Day

Every Dog Must Have Its Day
by Sarah Nathe, Kelley House Museum Board Member and Docent As we come to the end of Dog Days 2017, it seems fitting to recognize the significant canines in Mendocino’s past. Wee Doggies!—were there ever lots of them. A search of the Kelley House Museum’s online collections database turned up 90 photographs of people with their dogs, some in studio portraits and others in informal outdoor shots.  There are dogs with little girls and their dolls, dogs in the laps of[... see full page]

Banding Together

Banding Together
Along with baseball teams and volunteer hose brigades, brass bands were a symbol of a town’s spirit and pride across America around the turn of the twentieth century. The towns of the Mendocino Coast were no exception. Groups of new immigrants, such as those from Italy and Finland, often showed their patriotic devotion and pride by forming a band. There were competitions and, of course, parades. As the twentieth century opened, women were increasingly determined to proclaim and prove their own[... see full page]

The Radio Days of Miles Paoli

The Radio Days of Miles Paoli
Miles Paoli, born in Mendocino in 1906, was instrumental in bringing radio to the Mendocino Coast. As a young man, Miles was not drawn to school particularly. Miles’ parents, Raffaelo and Emelia, were hard working immigrants who had found opportunity in the logging industry. Later, the Paoli family purchased the hotel on Mendocino’s Ukiah Street, which had belonged to the Borgnas, and had been known as the Sempione Hotel. Miles was thirteen when his family moved from their home near[... see full page]