Making History Blog

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

The Voyage of the Sailing Vessel FRI Began with a Dream

The Voyage of the Sailing Vessel FRI Began with a Dream
Norman de Vall’s sailing cargo ship, Fri, as she enters San Francisco Bay on her ocean voyage from Denmark in 1967. In the late 1800s, schooners like these carried goods to ports all over the world, including the Mendocino Coast. This season’s exhibit at the Kelley House Museum, “Wind & Water: the Nautical Collection of Norman de Vall” showcases antique charts, old navigational instruments and other sea-going items gathered over the years by one of our coastal residents. However, Norman is not[... see full page]

Schooners, Cargoes and Adventures

Schooners, Cargoes and Adventures
The Bobolink c. 1880, in full sail and fully loaded with lumber. She was a two-masted schooner built in 1868 in Oakland, California by L. S. Allen, with her home port being San Francisco. In 1884, she was sold to Jerome B. Ford of the Mendocino Lumber Company. After a 30-year sailing career, Bobolink wrecked on March 24, 1898, at Kent's Point, south of Mendocino Bay. (Photograph from the Emery Escola Collection, Kelley House Museum archives) “Schooners were small vessels always sailing at the mercy[... see full page]

A Collector’s Tale

A Collector’s Tale
Norman de Vall aboard the WAPAMA while working on the Beaches and Parks Historic Ships Project in 1959-1961. Ferry in background would be either the EUREKA, BERKELEY or SAN LEANDRO. As soon as I got my first boat at age12 or 13, I found in the back waters of Los Angeles Harbor a scrapped steam schooner that had been reduced to a hollow shell stripped of anything metal or polished wood. I was fascinated thinking of the lives of the men[... see full page]

The Fiery Story of the Schooner J. C. Ford

The Fiery Story of the Schooner J. C. Ford
The Schooner J. C. Ford loading lumber under the chute in Mendocino Harbor, c. 1985. Photo from the Alice Earl Wilder Collection, courtesy Kelley House Museum. If there is only one vessel the Kelley House can feature during its current nautical exhibit, the Schooner J. C. Ford is a good choice. In the May 20, 1882 issue of the “Mendocino Beacon” newspaper, it was reported the new three-masted schooner J. C. Ford had arrived. Messrs. Samuel B. Blair, Jerome C. Ford, and Edwards C.[... see full page]

If You Remember Woodstock,…

If You Remember Woodstock,…
The big trees in the background reveal that these festival goers were not at Woodstock, but rather the Albion People’s Fair, a few years later. They are Katy and David Tahja on the right and Susan Alban and Wesley Stoft on the left.    On the August weekend in 1969 that saw nearly half a million children of God on their way to Yasgur’s farm in upstate New York “to try and get their souls free,” what could the Aquarian peace[... see full page]

Dance Hall Days

Dance Hall Days
Dancing at a picnic on the Albion River with the Stevens, Gray and Pullen families. (Kelley House Museum Photo Archives, gift of Steve & Sue Sanor) When the dancers start busting their moves at the up-coming Woodstock 50th Anniversary Dance Party at Crown Hall on August 17th, they will not only be celebrating the golden jubilee of that iconic rock festival, but also taking their places in a long line of hoofers who have dipped and twirled in many Mendocino halls[... see full page]