Making History Blog

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

A Mystery School in Albion

A Mystery School in Albion
A Mystery School in Albion Why is it a mystery? Because if you check in “What Became of the Little Red Schoolhouse” Volume 1-Mendocino Area, there is no school pictured that looks like this one. Behind the schoolhouse, it looks like the coastline, but it could be a bluff top inland. And, of course, if I have five of the six volumes that make up the set of Little Red Schoolhouse books in my personal library I was missing the South[... see full page]

Adventures with Coastal Lumber Schooners

Adventures with Coastal Lumber Schooners
Coastal Lumber Schooner These tidbits of shipping history on the Mendocino Coast started from an investigation into why the Union Lumber Company’s California Western Railroad Navigation subsidiary had the word “navigation” in the title. Well, in 1905 all finished lumber products were sent to the San Francisco Bay Area by sea. It would be a decade before the railroad from Fort Bragg to Willits was finished and a new rail connection to the outside world established. Because Fort Bragg’s Union Lumber[... see full page]

Missing Streets of Mendocino City

Missing Streets of Mendocino City
Metsker's Atlas of Mendocino County, California, May 1954 As a docent at the Kelley House Museum, I love looking at old maps of Mendocino. While there are many to peruse in the archives there, I made an internet discovery that has entertained me for hours. Google “Historic Map Works” and “Mendocino County 1954” and you will see extremely detailed maps of our county fully indexed by location. On big tracts, especially in rural areas, the landowner’s name is shown. Highway 1[... see full page]

Fire and Water

Fire and Water
It’s been years -- generations -- since anything has happened at that place in Mendocino where Lansing Street comes down the hill to meet Main. This level area above the bluffs overlooking the Bay has been empty since 1941 when the biggest hotel in town, the three-storied Occidental, was destroyed by fire and never rebuilt. Over the years, footpaths wound through the volunteer trees and wild blackberries, but the lot remained vacant and quiet, until recently. This last month, a huge[... see full page]

Little Schoolhouse in the Big Woods

Little Schoolhouse in the Big Woods
Over the past couple of months I have had the pleasure of driving to Ukiah weekly to see a foot doctor.  This has given me the opportunity to become familiar as never before with every twist, turn, and straightaway on Highway 20, and to notice for the first time the little red schoolhouse tucked into the woods on the east end of the meadow at the Camp 20 rest stop near Chamberlain Creek.  I suppose I had failed to see it because the highway at that point[... see full page]

Recycling History Documents

Recycling History Documents
In a historian’s world, primary resources are original materials which researchers can study in order to write books or articles about any person or subject. If someone collected my handwritten draft of this newspaper article and saved it, they would have a primary resource. Once the Mendocino Beacon put the story in print in a published issue, that story becomes a secondary resource. The Peralta Family Through the passing of Kelley House Museum docent and walking tour guide[... see full page]