Making History Blog

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

Fit to Be Tied

Fit to Be Tied
by Tonia Hurst A little more than 125 years ago, the Mendocino Coast was alive with activity as men moved redwood from the forests down to the coast where it was gathered and sorted, milled or split, and then loaded onto ships headed for San Francisco and elsewhere. Before the Panama Canal, all building materials had to be shipped around the horn. The discovery of local redwood provided a vital alternative for West Coast construction. This discovery came shortly before the start[... see full page]

Gaining Perspective While Having a Good Time!

Gaining Perspective While Having a Good Time!
By Anne Cooper The Kelley House Museum will be the scene of holiday cheer and good vibes on Friday, December 2nd from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m..  We are offering our members, their guests and those who join at the door, a holiday gathering complete with libations and food.  The 1861 William and Eliza Kelley home will be decorated for the season in keeping with the Victorian era.  We will also offer optional single-malt scotch tastings again this year, five tastes[... see full page]

Talkin’ Turkey

Talkin’ Turkey
by Tonia Hurst The last native turkey of California (Meleagris. californica) foraged here more than 10,000 years ago, and what we know of it comes to us only through the fossil record. It disappeared probably due to climate change. Had you wanted a Thanksgiving turkey more than one hundred years ago, you would have bought one or raised one of your own. The native bird, where it did occur, had been hunted so aggressively that only an estimated 30,000 birds remained[... see full page]

Mystery Launch in Mendo Bay

Mystery Launch in Mendo Bay
by Tonia Hurst A drifting skiff and an attentive night watchman kicked off one of Mendocino County’s strangest maritime mysteries one quiet afternoon in 1921. Around 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 13th, had you been looking out to sea, you might have noticed a boat racing towards Mendocino Bay from a distance due west. She pulled into harbor and drew close to the blowhole, where her crew secured her near the southeast buoy. As dusk fell, four men loaded into a skiff and[... see full page]

Abalone Love, Part II

Abalone Love, Part II
by Tonia Hurst If you visit the Kelley House Museum Archives and go down the short flight of stairs into the chilly vault, it’s not hard to imagine you are diving for knowledge—especially where abalone are concerned. Should you chance to don a pair of white gloves and take a look through the old, bound copies of The Beacon, the public’s concerns over the misuse of local natural resources quickly become evident. By 1913, despite prior actions by the Mendocino County[... see full page]

Abalone Love, Part I

Abalone Love, Part I
by Tonia Hurst What do people and sea otters have in common? Well, for one thing, the love of a particular single-shelled mollusk more commonly known as the abalone. What many people don’t realize is how Mendocino became a premier location for abalone fishing, nor do they realize how lucky we are that our wise predecessors conserved this resource for us—their future generation. Delicious and desirable, abalone grew wherever kelp was available. Pomo people collected and ate it and used the iridescent shells[... see full page]