Making History Blog

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

Cheers for 90 Years

Cheers for 90 Years
It was going to be a humdinger of a Comptche party in late June. The whole town was invited to show up at the community hall, family would be arriving, all to celebrate Buddy Stenback’s 90th birthday in style. Only problem? A nasty pandemic got in the way and cancelled the party. Buddy Stenback 9 mos old baby photo. Photo  courtesy of the Stenback family Stenback was pretty easy about it, knowing that sometime in the future there will be a[... see full page]

Voepel's and Point Cabrillo

Voepel's and Point Cabrillo
So, a family ancestor writes an autobiography 25 years ago and shares it with the family. Is it of interest to folks outside the family? If it shares some of the history of the Mendocino Coast, then YES! The Kelley House Museum thanks the Voepel/Stenback family of Comptche for a donated 68-page autobiography with a peek into life on the coast in the 1950s and 1960s. A page from the Point Cabrillo Auto Court’s 1948 Guest Register. Auto Courts, popular during[... see full page]

A Banner Day

A Banner Day
The 2020 Fourth of July will not be the celebration we were hoping for. The expected parade along thronged streets, and the music-filled lawn party in front of the Kelley House – enjoyed by hundreds for more than 30 years – has been cancelled for public health reasons. We will have to celebrate our country’s birthday in other, less crowded ways. Mendocino’s 1883 4th of July parade down Main Street. Photograph taken by Ira C. Perry. (Emery Escola Collection, Kelley House[... see full page]

Building Really Steep Railroads

Building Really Steep Railroads
In studying history, one of my favorite discoveries is how creativity and ingenuity solved problems, like moving really BIG things. Incline railways were one such invention. These rail lines had nicknames for their many parts – they were “sidehill railroads” using “gravity systems” to run “log slide engines” and “dropping machines.” Basically, what the systems accomplished was moving logs or lumber in really steep terrain. Hare Creek Tramway, 1904. A carload of logs coming down a cable incline tramway to the[... see full page]

Vintage Love Letter

Vintage Love Letter
My momma always said life was like a box of chocolates.You never know what you're gonna get.Forrest Gump The 184-year old letter written by Charles W. Drechlser to his wife Mahalia, given to the Kelley House Museum from the collection of John and Rosemary Kelley Maulbetsch. Kelley House received a remarkably interesting “box of chocolates” last month – a well-packed bin of papers that had belonged to members of the Kelley family, a gift from John Maulbetsch.  Lifting the lid, we unwrapped cardboard[... see full page]

Visiting Mendocino in the 1880s

Visiting Mendocino in the 1880s
As the communities of the Mendocino coast emerge from the recent public health closures, we will be able to fully welcome visitors back to the area.  The Earl family at Alder Camp on Big River, a rustic camping spot created by the adult children of Jerome and Martha Ford. While they lived elsewhere, members of the Ford clan often brought their children and friends to camp near their hometown of Mendocino. Their favorite was Alder Camp, located below Big Hill near[... see full page]