Making History Blog

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

Three Vanished Landmarks

Three Vanished Landmarks
by Bette Duke, Kelley House Museum volunteer Take a look at any panoramic photo of early Little River and you’ll notice that where once stood many structures -- houses, the mill, and hotels -- are now a lot of trees and bushes. Of the several vanished landmarks of long ago, there is one that wasn’t readily seen even when it existed: the shipyard of Thomas Petersen. A native of Denmark, hence the “sen”, his name remains on a little street at[... see full page]

A Little History of the Little River Improvement Club and Museum

A Little History of the Little River Improvement Club and Museum
by Bette Duke, Kelley House Museum volunteer It’s such a small, plain little white building, set back from the road, you probably don’t even notice it when you drive by. Besides, you’re keeping your eye on the road, which is a good thing, because it’s at the top of the curvy part of Highway 1. On March 11, 1885, Etta Pullen wrote in her diary, “Wilder off early to commence work on "Good Temples Hall", the land father gave at Little River,[... see full page]

Mendocino: First There Was A Shipwreck…

Mendocino: First There Was A Shipwreck…
by Bette Duke, Kelley House Museum volunteer There are many ways that a town can come into existence. In the case of Mendocino, how that happened is a very interesting story. The Gold Rush changed everything. Thousands of people, mostly men, came to California. For most, the Gold Rush was a flop and many went back home. Many stayed. Four who stayed were partners in a sawmill in Bodega on the Sonoma coast. One day in the summer of 1850, several men arrived[... see full page]

“Dear Mr. Zacha,”

“Dear Mr. Zacha,”
Zacha’s Bay Window Gallery, owned by Lucia Zacha, closes today. This marks the end of a historic era in the life of Mendocino. Walking through the final exhibit, one sees the works of the Mendocino Heritage Artists:  Dorr Bothwell (1902-2000), Sasha Makovkin (1928-2003), Fran Moyer (1922-2006), Hilda Pertha (1911-2011), Charles Marchant Stevenson (1927-2004), Toshida Yoshida (1911-1995) and William Zacha (1920-1998). The history of what Bill and Jennie Zacha meant to this town and how their dedication in bringing artists here[... see full page]

How We Remember

How We Remember
While enjoying a barbecue with friends, it might be of interest to consider that a place as remote from the battlefields of Virginia and Pennsylvania as is the Mendocino Coast has ties to the Civil War. The holiday we observe this Memorial Day has its origins in the sadness and losses resulting from the American Civil War of 1861 to 1865. Initially known as “Decoration Day,” it was widely observed on Saturday, May 30, 1868, to commemorate the sacrifices of[... see full page]

Skeins of History

Skeins of History
Think of a cat or kitten playing with a ball of yarn as you read this story. It is the perfect metaphor for what happens when a historical question surfaces. It is a story of the Ladies Aid Society, organized by women of the Presbyterian Church in Mendocino. In the Kelley House Museum’s archives are receipts from the Jarvis and Nichols store which provide some hints as to what the Society purchased. Beginning in 1884 and stretching into 1893, the[... see full page]