Making History Blog

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

Prejudice and mistaken identity: A deadly combination

Prejudice and mistaken identity: A deadly combination
It’s not unusual, however unfair, for people to look askance at outsiders who dress, talk, or act differently, especially if they come in groups. One such group, commonly known as Gypsies, have been maligned, even systematically murdered over the centuries, particularly in Europe. The term “Gypsy” originally referred only to ethnic Gypsies, as opposed to other “travelers.” Although the term has derogatory implications, it may have originated among Gypsies themselves, believing they were a lost tribe of Egyptians. Ethnic Gypsies are[... see full page]

The Albion Nation

The Albion Nation
The following article was written by Chuck Bush in 2007. He built a house on Middle Ridge Road in 1990 and lived there, near Salmon Creek Farm, for many years with his wife Marion. We re-publish this article because it is so relevant to our current exhibit, “Mendocino in the Era of Change: Hippies Use the Back Door”. We have added an exciting update on Salmon Creek Farm at the end. Many of us are old enough to remember the Hippies[... see full page]

Val Pawek - One of a Kind

Val Pawek - One of a Kind
Sometimes I thought of him as Prince Val and at other times, Chairman Val. He was a complicated man, dictatorial and opinionated yet generous and surprisingly open minded. Living on Val’s land was a unique and magical time in my life. I moved to Val Pawek’s land in September, 1970. My boyfriend Wayne and I had come to Mendocino to get away from the Bay Area for a few days and to visit a friend from Berkeley who had recently moved[... see full page]

Letting Our Freak Flags Fly

Letting Our Freak Flags Fly
To complement the current Kelley House exhibit, “Hippies Use the Back Door,” we excerpt here Tales of Mendocino: The Way We Were, local author Jay Frankston’s 2006 memoir of life here in the late 60s and early 70s. The exhibit runs Fridays through Mondays until November 30. People came here from everywhere, from the east coast, from Chicago, from L.A. Most were getting away from something like a family that didn’t understand them, a job they could no longer deal with, or[... see full page]

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]