Making History Blog

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

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]

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]