Making History Blog

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

Fun and Games: Mendocino at Play

Fun and Games: Mendocino at Play
by Anne Cooper, Kelley House Museum Curator Having recently lived without electric power here on the Coast, it is not as difficult to imagine the lives of those who came before the phrase “screen time” came into use!  Our next exhibit at the Kelley House Museum will take a look at how people chose to spend their free time before the arrival of electronic gadgets. Not everyone had much free time, but even the youngest mill workers and their families would have[... see full page]

Log-istics: Part II

Log-istics: Part II
by Tonia Hurst, Kelley House Volunteer If you read Part I of this topic last week, you know that Fort Bragg is the home of the first Pacific Coast cigar raft. As early as 1889, coastal lumber companies experimented with smaller oceangoing rafts on Big River, and had successfully pulled a 700-foot articulated raft to San Francisco. Eager to increase capacity and further drive down shipping costs, local lumber companies hired leading expert H. R. Robertson, and after a year of[... see full page]

Point Cabrillo Light Station Collection

Point Cabrillo Light Station Collection
There is a new special collection in the archives of the Kelley House Museum in Mendocino named The Point Cabrillo Light Station Collection.  The material was provided by the Point Cabrillo Lightkeepers Association (PCLK) and includes architectural drawings, photos, maps, and correspondence relating to the construction and early maintenance of the Light Station.  Physical access to these records is by appointment only at the Kelley House Museum (707-937-5791).  One may order images and view the collection online by searching for “PCLK”[... see full page]

Log-istics: Monster Rafts of the Mendocino Coast

Log-istics: Monster Rafts of the Mendocino Coast
by Tonia Hurst, Kelley House volunteer One of the strangest ocean-going crafts to grace the seas was built locally in Fort Bragg. Hundreds of feet long, brown, tapered at each end, it was sometimes mistaken for a whale or described as a giant “Perfecto” cigar. Invented to bypass high shipping costs, the cigar raft was cheaper and safer transportation—at least in theory. Developed in the 1880s by Captain Hugh Roderick Robertson of New Brunswick, it took years of trial and error to[... see full page]

Accidents

Accidents
by Katy Tahja, Kelley House Volunteer Recently, I went down to the basement archives in the Kelley House Museum, walked over to the subjects file cabinet, pulled out the drawer starting with the letter A and what did I find? Accidents! I must say, Mendocino Coast residents in days gone by found some unusual ways to maim and kill themselves and these events got excellent newspaper coverage. Good old-fashioned transit accidents, be it horse, wagon, or auto, took many lives. Some stories[... see full page]

Power to the People

Power to the People
by Marty Simpson The first two dwellings illuminated by Edison's improved light bulb in the fall of 1880 were the home of Francis Upton and Sarah Jordan's Boarding House, both in Menlo Park, New Jersey.  Upton was an employee of Edison’s laboratory and the boarding house was home to some of Edison's single male employees. As might be expected, gas stocks subsequently took a sharp downturn. It took many more years before electricity and light bulbs came to Mendocino. In the January[... see full page]