Making History Blog

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

What's in an Archive?

What's in an Archive?
Do you have a box or two in the back of your closet or a file drawer filled with “stuff” that you may or may not go through before passing to the next world? That must have been what happened to Augie Heeser. Some of the things from his lifetime have found a home in the Kelley House Museum and archives. August Alfred Heeser, son of William and Laura Heeser, was a person of some means and a man of business[... see full page]

Dancing ‘Till Dawn

Dancing ‘Till Dawn
What is the appeal of a dance? Especially to the folks living and working around here in the old days, did they really need more exercise? No, it wasn’t about the exercise; it was about being amongst people, particularly people from outside one’s immediate environs. It was about getting cleaned up, putting on some nice clothes, being on one’s best behavior and maybe meeting someone new. Even if you didn’t meet that special someone, you could at least say you’d[... see full page]

A Little History of Little River: Where to Get a Drink

A Little History of Little River: Where to Get a Drink
by Bette Duke, Kelley House Museum volunteer When Little River was starting to hum with a mill, mill workers, and more folks settling in the area in the mid-1860s, the Pioneer Hotel would have been the only place to get a drink. The owner, August Frederick Mahlman, who had been working in the mills, realized that the growing community needed lodging and libations, so he built his hotel, which had rooms for his family, a large hall for community events, a[... see full page]

Photographic Revelations

Photographic Revelations
Delving into the past can often take one in unexpected directions. That has certainly been my experience conducting research at the Kelley House. This photograph of Gus and Alma Jacobs Mendosa represents an example. We think this was taken either some time before or shortly after their wedding, which occurred on June 29, 1927. It appears that the two of them attended an outing in the woods. At least four vehicles are parked in a clearing behind them and other[... see full page]

Bonds and Bravery

Bonds and Bravery
One of the big stories covered by the Mendocino Beacon 88 years ago this week was the election requesting the passage of bonds to rebuild Mendocino’s grammar school. The “old school,” which had been constructed in 1885, had burned in December 1929. The election was held on March 3, 1930. No lives were lost in the December fire of 1929, although Arthur Lemos had a bad fall while climbing down from the roof! As reported in the Beacon, the fire had[... see full page]

Accidents Will Happen

Accidents Will Happen
Whether you have lived on the North Coast for a lifetime or you are just passing through it is clear that this part of the world, with all its attendant beauty, can be a dangerous place. The early days were marked by various accidents, many of which happened in the context of the lumber industry. Inside the mill near whirring saws and slippery belts, working the mill pond, or out in the woods falling and transporting trees, there were multiple[... see full page]