Making History Blog

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

Get You a Copper Kettle

Get You a Copper Kettle
by Karen McGrath, Kelley House Museum Director-Curator Sign for Jack Peters Creek Bridge on Highway 1. The bridge was completed in 1939, one of the Works Progress Administration projects of the New Deal. Get you a copper kettle, get you a copper coil. Fill it with new made corn mash and never more you'll toil. (Folksong written by Frank A Beddoe in the 1950s)   This summer, I stopped by the Kelley House Research Office to look at the birth and death[... see full page]

Speakeasys and Blind Pigs

Speakeasys and Blind Pigs
by Anne Cooper, Kelley House Museum curator The early years of the 20th century were a time of innovations. The automobile had come to stay. People enjoyed the new fashions brought about in the wake of the First World War. With the vote, women had reason to hope that their social status would change for the better. It was also the decade during which national prohibition, or “The Great Experiment”, was underway. In the town of Mendocino, the voting population, meaning men[... see full page]

What’s on Your Shopping List?

What’s on Your Shopping List?
by Anne Cooper, Kelley House Museum curator Both Aileen Gomes and her husband, Joseph, came from Portuguese families. Joseph Antone Gomes was born on the island of Flores on April 19, 1893. He left the Azores and immigrated to the United States in 1911. When the First World War came along, he registered for the draft and by 1920 his papers for naturalization had been submitted. Aileen Victoria Francis was born in California January 7, 1897, but both her parents were[... see full page]

Something in the Air

Something in the Air
by Bette Duke, Kelley House Museum History Researcher In the last half of the 19th century, most of Little River was cultivated farmland, from acres of field crops and grazing land for livestock, to family vegetable gardens. Even in early Mendocino vegetable gardens were grown between houses, with some of the produce to feed the cows and horses, like sugar beets; other crops fed families and the mill workers at the cookhouse. Katie Ford (1857-1944), daughter of Jerome and Martha Ford,[... see full page]

An American Venus

An American Venus
by Sarah Nathe, Kelley House Museum Board Secretary As the Miss America pageant prepares for its annual show this Sunday in the wake of the #MeToo movement, it is trying to remake itself. Among its changes, Miss America 2.0, as it calls itself, has gotten rid of the swimsuit competition! That made me think back to 1925, when the pageant didn’t pretend to be anything but a beauty contest (notwithstanding those ugly gabardine swimming suits), when a woman was a woman[... see full page]

Simple Pleasures

Simple Pleasures
by Bette Duke, Kelley House Museum History Researcher In its earliest days, social activities in Little River were not much different from the way folks have fun today. There were bars and saloons, card games and gambling for those who liked that sort of pleasure. There were parties, dances, family gatherings for holidays, birthdays and such, often with singing, sometimes with a musical instrument or two. The 74th birthday of Isaiah Stevens, as recorded in the newspaper, was celebrated with his three[... see full page]