Making History Blog

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

Missing Streets of Mendocino City

Missing Streets of Mendocino City
Metsker's Atlas of Mendocino County, California, May 1954 As a docent at the Kelley House Museum, I love looking at old maps of Mendocino. While there are many to peruse in the archives there, I made an internet discovery that has entertained me for hours. Google “Historic Map Works” and “Mendocino County 1954” and you will see extremely detailed maps of our county fully indexed by location. On big tracts, especially in rural areas, the landowner’s name is shown. Highway 1[... see full page]

Fire and Water

Fire and Water
It’s been years -- generations -- since anything has happened at that place in Mendocino where Lansing Street comes down the hill to meet Main. This level area above the bluffs overlooking the Bay has been empty since 1941 when the biggest hotel in town, the three-storied Occidental, was destroyed by fire and never rebuilt. Over the years, footpaths wound through the volunteer trees and wild blackberries, but the lot remained vacant and quiet, until recently. This last month, a huge[... see full page]

Little Schoolhouse in the Big Woods

Little Schoolhouse in the Big Woods
Over the past couple of months I have had the pleasure of driving to Ukiah weekly to see a foot doctor.  This has given me the opportunity to become familiar as never before with every twist, turn, and straightaway on Highway 20, and to notice for the first time the little red schoolhouse tucked into the woods on the east end of the meadow at the Camp 20 rest stop near Chamberlain Creek.  I suppose I had failed to see it because the highway at that point[... see full page]

Recycling History Documents

Recycling History Documents
In a historian’s world, primary resources are original materials which researchers can study in order to write books or articles about any person or subject. If someone collected my handwritten draft of this newspaper article and saved it, they would have a primary resource. Once the Mendocino Beacon put the story in print in a published issue, that story becomes a secondary resource. The Peralta Family Through the passing of Kelley House Museum docent and walking tour guide[... see full page]

There and Back Again: The Bell of Westport's Schoolhouse

There and Back Again: The Bell of Westport's Schoolhouse
The Westport Bell Like many of the objects from the nineteenth century, the Westport bell was made to last. There are some gaps in its history, but according to a Kelley House newsletter article by Teresa Jardstrom, a teacher at the Westport School from 1932 to 1952, the bell’s working life began on board a ship. Unfortunately, the name of that ship has been lost, however, the bell had found its way to Westport. It would have[... see full page]

Get You a Copper Kettle

Get You a Copper Kettle
  Sign for Jack Peters Creek Bridge on Highway 1. The bridge was completed in 1939, one of the Works Progress Administration projects of the New Deal. Get you a copper kettle, get you a copper coil. Fill it with new made corn mash and never more you'll toil. (Folksong written by Frank A Beddoe in the 1950s) This summer, I stopped by the Kelley House Research Office to look at the birth and death record books, searching for information on[... see full page]