Making History Blog

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

The Library at Skating Rink Hall

The Library at Skating Rink Hall
This is the second segment in a series of articles about the libraries in Mendocino. The previous column took us from 1883, when the first library opened in the Good Templars’ Hall on south Main Street, to 1909. That year the county went “dry” and the libraries sponsored by these temperance organizations had completed their mission. The Public Library and Reading Room in the early 1900s was located behind Joe Nichols’ pool rooms in Skating Rink Hall (later called Kellieowen Hall).[... see full page]

Mendocino's Temperance Libraries

Mendocino's Temperance Libraries
Main Street in Mendocino looking east in the mid 1930s. Templars Hall, site of the first library, is the building on the right just in front of the fire hall with the bell tower. It was demolished in 1938. Mendocino’s first public library must have had an enviable ocean view. Called the Free Reading Room, it opened in April of 1883 on the second floor of the Templar’s Hall, one of the now-gone buildings owned by the Mendocino Lumber Company on[... see full page]

Coastal Libraries, Part Three

Coastal Libraries, Part Three

Fort Bragg's Library History

The Kelley House Museum has been researching the growth and development of library services on the Mendocino Coast. This week the city of Fort Bragg gets the attention. An early view of the 1913 Fort Bragg Library on Main Street near Laurel Avenue. The building to the right was the Fort Bragg Commercial Bank, and is today’s “Town Hall.” (Courtesy Fort Bragg-Mendocino Coast Historical Society) As mentioned in previous segments of this series, “reading rooms” played a big part in[... see full page]

Coastal Libraries, Part Two

Coastal Libraries, Part Two

Libraries Arrive on the Coast

Looking at how libraries arrived on the Mendocino Coast is part of an on-going series exploring the growth of libraries. This week’s story is part two and is a peek into the importance of fraternal organizations and a bookmobile. Mendocino County’s popular bookmobile, c. 1950. (Courtesy David Frick) Fraternal organizations gave a sense of “family” to newcomers arriving on the coast. They could be based on religion, language, politics, educational goals, military service, social views and more. Many[... see full page]

Coastal Libraries, Part One

Coastal Libraries, Part One
Today when coastal residents want to read a new best seller, or find a Book-On-CD to listen to while commuting, or search for a good books on bugs for a six year old, they can turn to the libraries in their local communities. (We’re pretending there is not a pandemic going on that limits access to library services and buildings.)  Group photograph of the Kalevala Lodge #3, gathering in front of the remodeled Lodge in Fort Bragg, c. 1920. Impi Huhtala[... see full page]

Coastal Place Names Part 2

Coastal Place Names Part 2
A recent column explored the sources of names on the land from Needle Rock south to Caspar on the Mendocino Coast. This week’s column tells the story of place names from Pine Grove south to Gualala. Plan a road trip and find these interesting places. Detail from Mendocino County map showing he southern coast and the small towns and landings found there in 1902. (Map by J. N. Lentell) Pine Grove probably had a pine tree grove and Russian Gulch was supposed[... see full page]