Making History Blog

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

Talking With … Lena Luzzi in 2000

Talking With … Lena Luzzi in 2000
We are featuring again transcribed excerpts from the oral history project that was created 20 years ago by the students of Ryan Olson Day’s Options Class at the Mendocino Middle School. With the help of Steven Jordan and a grant obtained by Deena Zarlin, they made audio recordings of their interviews with 12 “Old Timers,” who told these children what it was like living here on the Coast in the first part of the 20th century. Lena Luzzi in 2000 with[... see full page]

Culinary Chaos

Culinary Chaos
A Headline in the November 23, 1918 issue of the Mendocino Beacon read: “Drunken Woodsmen Wreck Cookhouse – Raise Hades at Little Valley Camp”  Head Cook Wah Bow with his crew at the cookhouse door of Caspar Lumber Company's Camp #1 in 1900-1920. Lee Sing John cooked there in the early years and Wah Bow worked there later. Many other Chinese men worked in the Mill Cookhouse and in those at the Company's outlying camps. (Source: Harry Wakerley Collection, Kelley House[... see full page]

Mendocino’s Tailor William H. White

Mendocino’s Tailor William H. White
Tailor sitting in traditional cross-legged sartorial posture on platform in front of a window. (National Library of Wales) In today’s world of readymade clothes, we may not think much about where clothing came from in the late 1800’s on the coast. Depending on the wealth of the family, your clothing was made at home from what were called dry goods, or you used the services of a tailor or dressmaker. One such service provider was William H. White (1817-1896), a native of[... see full page]

Historic Calla Lilies

Historic Calla Lilies
One of the most attractive spots in town at present is the little lake on the grounds of Mr. W. H. Kelly’s residence on Main Street. It is full to overflowing of clear water, while around its banks the calla lilies are blooming in all their beauty. A miniature sailboat gracefully skimming over the water adds to the picturesque scene. --Mendocino Beacon, 16 January 1886 This short description, penned 134 year ago, reminds us that late winter and spring is the[... see full page]

Main Street Cinderella

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It’s not every house in Mendocino that can have a complicated evolution and been occupied by a genuine town “character,” but 44771 Main St. deserves note. Today it’s an old yellow house east of Alegria Inn, next to a realty office and across the street from Evergreen Cemetery on the east end of town. In the Kelley House Museum records, it’s called the Ferrill House. It’s a vacation house being worked on. It’s got the name Rueckert, Wallace, Ferrill and more[... see full page]

Big River Enumerators

Big River Enumerators
Last week I did my citizen’s duty and completed my response to the 2020 Census using just my phone, while sitting on the sofa. So easy. It took less than 10 minutes. I enumerated myself. This got me thinking about how counting everybody correctly used to be a really hard thing to do. And who, I wondered, did the enumeration back then? Whoever they were, the people who agreed to spend a month or two riding on horses all over[... see full page]