Making History Blog

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

Ethel Nelson, Pioneering the Profession of Pharmacy for Women

Ethel Nelson, Pioneering the Profession of Pharmacy for Women
Out of the Kelley House Archives comes the story of Miss Ethel Nelson, born in Mendocino 1883, daughter of Elizabeth May (Bessie) Carlson and Captain Henry Nelson, owner of the Wilson Hotel on Main Street in Mendocino, as well as ship captain for the barkentine, Servia. Henry and Bessie married in Mendocino on January 18, 1882. She was the granddaughter of a pioneer who brought a complete sawmill around the Horn in a sailing vessel. Ethel never married, instead pursuing a career[... see full page]

More of Mendocino's Dark Side

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Fury Town was not the only enclave where mill workers congregated in the olden days along Mendocino’s coast. Up north, the town of Fort Bragg prospered. As the name implies, Fort Bragg began as a military outpost. Built in 1857, it was named after Confederate general, Braxton Bragg, and established to police local Pomo tribes. The native people had been forced onto a 25,000-acre reservation stretching from Noyo Harbor to MacKerricher. The unpleasant enterprise was short-lived; by 1867, both garrison[... see full page]

Comptche Hippie Kid Returns as Anthropologist

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Growing up in Comptche as a hippie kid during the Seventies is part of my identity. It was a tumultuous time. Declining regional timber jobs during the Sixties caused many families to leave Comptche, creating vacancies for newcomers. Who showed up? Back-to-the-land hippies, lots of us—my family arrived in a purple school bus. The influx of immigrants caused instantaneous polarization between old-timers and newcomers. Conflict included issues of land use, the introduction of marijuana, superficial appearances, nudity, and smell. Interestingly,[... see full page]