Making History Blog

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

Carlson's City Hotel

Carlson's City Hotel
Carlson's City Hotel, c. 1871-1886. Note the windmill behind the hotel. (Kelley House Collection, Kelley House Photographs) July 24, 1859 - John Edward Carlson married Elizabeth Kupp Broderick. Elizabeth, a widow, was born in County Cork, Ireland and had a 6-year-old son. They had four more children together and operated a successful hotel. John was born in Sweden on June 20, 1827. He came to California in 1849 as a seaman and arrived in Mendocino in 1852 on the ship Ontario. He[... see full page]

Percy Colby Almost Drowned

Percy Colby Almost Drowned
On the way to hunting camp, 1902-1906. (Steve and Sue Sanor, Gray - Nielson - Sanor Family Collection, Kelley House Photographs) July 23, 1911 - Percy Colby, an assistant in John Chambers’ blacksmith shop, had a close call with death while crossing Big River on horseback. He was on a hunting trip near the Mendocino Lumber Company’s Lower Ranch when his horse became mired in quicksand. The horse panicked and began flailing about, landing in a 20-foot deep hole, but Colby was[... see full page]

The Great Lady of Horticulture

The Great Lady of Horticulture
Charlotte Hoak grew up in the wilds of Comptche, a local girl, born in 1874 on ranch land that had formerly been under the jurisdiction of the local Pomo chief, Comptche—hence the name the region became known by. Comptche is, in fact, a Pomo word that means “the valley among the hills.” It’s land the Pomo traveled through each summer on their way to the coast and the Comptche-Ukiah Road is an old stagecoach route. Look closely and you might[... see full page]

Silent Movie, "The Promise"

Silent Movie, "The Promise"
July 21, 1917 - Joe Nichols presented one of the first motion pictures filmed on the Mendocino Coast at his picture house inside Kellieowen Hall on the southwest corner of Ukiah and Lansing. “The Promise” featured a number of local coast residents including Mendocino Lumber Company woods boss, Ed Boyle. Scenes had been shot in several coast locations during December 1916. The Maru and log raft at one of the Big River booms, 1916. This photograph was posed for the filming[... see full page]

Mendocino's First Selfie?

Mendocino's First Selfie?
Is this Mendocino’s first selfie? Family group photograph taken in the north side yard of the Maxwell home on Kasten Street, c. 1915. On the left, Elsie Maxwell is holding her son Kenneth Maxwell, and Joshua Grindle (Elsie's step-father) sits in a chair with her small daughter, Grace Maxwell. In the rear, Eliza Grindle (Elsie's mother) stands with a man that is perhaps Henry Jarvis. On the right, Perley Maxwell leans against the house holding a string he has pulled to[... see full page]

Hellsgate Dam

Hellsgate Dam
Hellsgate Dam with a full head of water. (Kelley House Collection, Kelley House Photographs) July 18, 1922 - John Norberry went to Hellsgate logging dam on the Southfork of Big River to increase the height of the dam by two feet and add another gate to the structure. The improvements would increase the volume of water driving logs down the river during freshet time. Constructed by Norberry in late 1912, Hellsgate was originally 33 feet high and 200 feet wide across the[... see full page]