Making History Blog

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

Wreck of the Coastal Steamer 'Samoa'

Wreck of the Coastal Steamer 'Samoa'
Falling apart at the seams? That’s what happened a little over a century ago to a coastal steamer belonging to the Caspar Lumber Company. The Samoa carried a crew of 21 men and 380,000 feet of lumber on the morning of January 28, 1913. She was making her usual run from Caspar to San Francisco through a thick blanket of fog. No GPS or even radar in those days. The Samoa hit the beach known as Ten-Mile, not far from[... see full page]

“It is a Dangerous Looking Place: Shipwrecks on the Mendocino Coast”

“It is a Dangerous Looking Place: Shipwrecks on the Mendocino Coast”
Since 1850, more than 160 vessels have met their fate along Mendocino’s rugged coastline while the shouts of drowning sailors and passengers have been heard above the roar of the surf. The most famous shipwreck was the Frolic, a Baltimore clipper ship bound for California from China. A former opium runner between Bombay and Hong Kong, the bulk of the Frolic’s cargo now consisted of silks, ceramics, lacquered ware and even a fabricated house that it loaded in Canton and[... see full page]

Rex Smith, Docent, Cab Driver & Historian

Rex Smith, Docent, Cab Driver & Historian
Rex Smith, our Kelley House docent and local taxi driver, was 'discovered' by Dr. Bunny Vreeland, a talk show host at Mercury Broadcasting. Listen to the interview here.[... see full page]

Christmas at Sea?

Christmas at Sea?
A postcard in the archival collection at the Kelley House Museum brought to mind the fact that not all of us are always able to spend the holidays in our homes. The postcard includes the sentiment, “May this Season’s joys remain/Growing more strong as the year grows long/And Christmas comes again.” Photographs of the steam schooner, Pomo, while anchored off shore and at the wharf, in addition to an oval photo insert, depict Point Arena, ca. 1905. Built in 1903 in[... see full page]

The Great lady of Horticulture: Charlotte Hoak

The Great lady of Horticulture: Charlotte Hoak
Charlotte Hoak grew up in the wilds of Comptche, a local girl, born in 1874 on ranch land that had formerly been under the jurisdiction of the local Pomo chief, Comptche—hence the name the region became known by. Comptche is, in fact, a Pomo word that means “the valley among the hills.” It’s land the Pomo traveled through each summer on their way to the coast and the Comptche-Ukiah Road is an old stagecoach route. Look closely and you might[... see full page]

Old Traditions Die Hard

Old Traditions Die Hard
Demonstrating, once again, that there are few things new under the sun, the Kelley House Museum invites Mendocino and its neighbors to celebrate the season with an opportunity to partake of some ‘liquid cheer!’ We draw your attention to the Perley Maxwell photograph of the guests at the home of Mr. Henry H. Jarvis, Mendocino merchant. The occasion was Christmas Day, 1906. Mr. Jarvis, born in Surrey, Maine in 1849, came to the California coast as a youth, and began[... see full page]