Making History Blog

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

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]

Caspar More Than a Century Ago...

Caspar More Than a Century Ago...
As a historian, it is easy to be researching one project and get waylaid by interesting materials that have nothing to do with the research topic at hand. The book “Caspar Notebook – School Days” by Ann M. Connor, self-published in 1979, was half about the topic I was after (schools) but the rest was stuffed with tidbits of Caspar history from 1895 to 1905 that I share here. The steamer Sea Foam taking on passengers in a trapeze box in Mendocino.[... see full page]

Mendocino City’s Dressmakers and Millineries

Mendocino City’s Dressmakers and Millineries
After giving attention to Mendocino’s early tailor, William H. White, a few weeks ago in a Kelley House Calendar column, recognition is now directed to the female side of the trade -- the dressmakers and milliners (hat designers) of this town. Dressmaker and Millinery Artist America Jane Elliott, c. 1868. (Courtesy Hazel Jarvis Edwards, Lloyd Smith Collection in Kelley House Museum) If a resident was poor or middle class, they may have made their own clothes. But if financial resources allowed there[... see full page]

Kelley House News

Kelley House News
Indeed, the Museum is temporarily closed, and our walking tours are parked for the time being. Even the traditional July the Fourth Lawn Party has been cancelled because of the precautions related to the pandemic. But there are still things happening at the Kelley House. Advertisement - Mendocino had many fine builders in the its early years, such as William Riley Hamilton who constructed at least a dozen documented structures, including the north wing of the MacCallum House on Albion Street[... see full page]

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]