Making History Blog

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

A “Lasting” Legacy - Shoemakers of Mendocino

A “Lasting” Legacy - Shoemakers of Mendocino
Ad for "The Trilby Shoe", circa 1900 Putting together the clothing exhibit “Form & Function of Fashion: The Way We Wore,” now showing at the Kelley House Museum through March 18th, I was able to learn a lot about things I typically don’t think too much about. For instance, our lovely women’s hats, gloves and fans were once viewed as absolutely essential if you were to be considered fully dressed. None of these items are found in my closet. One item that hasn’t dropped off the “must-have” list is[... see full page]

Diary Dilemma

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For genealogists and researchers, diaries can be very enlightening sources for family history and insightful of the character and personality of the diarist. One of the problems, however, is that not many who kept a diary were particularly insightful, often relating too much about the weather or letters they wrote, and very few details of interesting events. Perhaps the main problem with diaries is that there aren’t very many of them. The Kelley House Museum archives, for instance, has only[... see full page]

Vince Johnson's Gift

Vince Johnson's Gift
1867 Survey Map of Mendocino It’s always interesting to go back to the beginning. We like to know where it all started, what it was like before, how it was different from today. Perhaps that’s why books and movies with historical settings are popular. Authors and screenwriters provide us with wonderfully detailed pictures of an earlier world with compelling drama, interesting plot twists and intriguing characters we want to know more about. Without a time machine to physically transport us back, those[... see full page]

Kelley House Welcomes New Director

Kelley House Welcomes New Director
by Jane Tillis, Board member Kelley House Museum Director-Curator Karen McGrath There’s new leadership at the Kelley House Museum. Karen McGrath, Director-Curator, has succeeded Anne Cooper, who held the position for three years before returning to her home in San Diego. Karen is a relatively new resident of the Coast, having moved here in October 2016, but she and her husband have been visitors to the area since 2003. After years of saying, “Wouldn’t it be great to live here?” at the[... see full page]

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]