Making History Blog

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

Turn On, Tune In, Drop Into Hippies Use the Back Door

Turn On, Tune In, Drop Into Hippies Use the Back Door
When their VW busses brought the first flower children to the Mendocino Coast in the late 1960s, the locals—who had lived in a sort of time warp for the previous 30 years—did not know what to make of them. Mostly, they took a dim view of their abundant hair, their communal lifestyles, and their use of mind-altering substances. When the local newspaper reported that a “hippie couple” was caught squatting on property out on Comptche Road, or another[... see full page]

The Seeds of Temperance

The Seeds of Temperance
The Mendocino area’s reputation for “live-and-let-live” was not always the norm. The local 1909 “dry” election, eliminating legal liquor sales and saloon licensing, grew from seeds planted decades earlier by Little River’s first pioneers. The Coombs, Stickneys, Stevens, Dennens, and other Maine families packed their belongings, and carried especially close their religious beliefs, morality, and state’s temperance history. These, as much as the customs and beliefs of pioneer laborers, would shape our early communities use and views of, alcohol. This[... see full page]

Short Story Contest!

Short Story Contest!
 

The Case of the Diamond in the Drink

Or

How did a Wedding Ring get into Kelley Pond?

And the Winners Are...

Thirty-one stories were entered in the Kelley House short story contest, as part of the fundraising effort to restore the pond. Each was accompanied by a $25.00 entry fee. Seventeen of the stories were submitted by students from the Mendocino Middle School, sponsored by a grant. Thirteen entries from adult writers were submitted. The inspiration for the contest was a man's gold wedding[... see full page]

Mapping Mendocino

Mapping Mendocino
Maps are one of the oldest forms of nonverbal communication. Before humans were writing, they drew maps. Early maps may have only been a diagram in the dirt to show where to find food. As far as historians and geographers can determine, every culture in every part of the world uses and makes maps. The Kelley House has been collecting maps since 1973. In all shapes and sizes, these maps tell a story or solve a problem. There are maps[... see full page]

Jean MacCallum: A Maiden Fond of Flowers

Jean MacCallum:  A Maiden Fond of Flowers
Among the surviving papers describing Jean MacCallum is a letter she wrote as a child. It’s typed, addressed to her grandmother, Eliza Kelley, and charming. It was written after the MacCallums moved from Glen Blair, just north of Fort Bragg, to San Francisco. Jean was born in Glen Blair when her parents, Daisy and Alexander, left their celebrated Mendocino mansion to oversee a logging enterprise purchased by Samuel Blair. For those trying to piece together the family tree, Blair married into[... see full page]

Tourism 123 Years Ago

Tourism 123 Years Ago
In a box of historic resources I was recently given, I found a reprint of a feature story about Mendocino County. It appears to be a magazine piece, extolling the virtues of life in this area, 123 years ago. The article promised: “A region worthy of the closest attention of the traveler on a pleasure bent, the capitalist in search of opportunities with the certainty of royal return, and the agriculturist or stock grower.” The main excitement of the time seemed[... see full page]