Making History Blog

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

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]

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]