Making History Blog

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

Dancing ‘Till Dawn

Dancing ‘Till Dawn
What is the appeal of a dance? Especially to the folks living and working around here in the old days, did they really need more exercise? No, it wasn’t about the exercise; it was about being amongst people, particularly people from outside one’s immediate environs. It was about getting cleaned up, putting on some nice clothes, being on one’s best behavior and maybe meeting someone new. Even if you didn’t meet that special someone, you could at least say you’d[... see full page]

A Little History of Little River: Where to Get a Drink

A Little History of Little River: Where to Get a Drink
When Little River was starting to hum with a mill, mill workers, and more folks settling in the area in the mid-1860s, the Pioneer Hotel would have been the only place to get a drink. The owner, August Frederick Mahlman, who had been working in the mills, realized that the growing community needed lodging and libations, so he built his hotel, which had rooms for his family, a large hall for community events, a saloon and restaurant, and in the[... see full page]

Photographic Revelations

Photographic Revelations
Delving into the past can often take one in unexpected directions. That has certainly been my experience conducting research at the Kelley House. This photograph of Gus and Alma Jacobs Mendosa represents an example. We think this was taken either some time before or shortly after their wedding, which occurred on June 29, 1927. It appears that the two of them attended an outing in the woods. At least four vehicles are parked in a clearing behind them and other[... see full page]

Bonds and Bravery

Bonds and Bravery
One of the big stories covered by the Mendocino Beacon 88 years ago this week was the election requesting the passage of bonds to rebuild Mendocino’s grammar school. The “old school,” which had been constructed in 1885, had burned in December 1929. The election was held on March 3, 1930. No lives were lost in the December fire of 1929, although Arthur Lemos had a bad fall while climbing down from the roof! As reported in the Beacon, the fire had[... see full page]

Accidents Will Happen

Accidents Will Happen
Whether you have lived on the North Coast for a lifetime or you are just passing through it is clear that this part of the world, with all its attendant beauty, can be a dangerous place. The early days were marked by various accidents, many of which happened in the context of the lumber industry. Inside the mill near whirring saws and slippery belts, working the mill pond, or out in the woods falling and transporting trees, there were multiple[... see full page]

A Memorable Class

A Memorable Class
When created in 1865, the historic Little River school district had an average daily attendance of nine pupils. By 1874, a larger school building was needed and it was built on the east side of the road which became Highway 1, on the north side of School House Creek. In 1877, with a school population of 70, a new school was built on a site about one quarter of a mile south of the Little River Inn, on property donated[... see full page]