Making History Blog

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

One Story in a Town of Many

One Story in a Town of Many
New characters in the panoply of history come to light at the Kelley House on a regular basis, often due to generous donations of time and materials to the archives and museum. A case in point involves items received as part of a large collection of photographs and other keepsakes from Mae Johnson, who died in August 2016. Mae had been raised in Caspar and knew everyone from its early days. Receiving a box of mementoes is only the first[... see full page]

Tidbits of Local Life

Tidbits of Local Life
Genealogists and history researchers love the discovery of another facet of their search and knowing that there has to be more information out there somewhere fuels their relentless pursuit of more discoveries. Kelley House is a treasure trove of sources for discoveries, particularly in the hundreds of files about Mendocino’s people called Family Files. Most contain newspaper clippings, letters, memoirs, genealogy charts, funeral records, and occasionally a few original documents like marriage licenses or immigration papers, just the kind of information[... see full page]

Traveling in the Past? See Mr. Sutherland!

Traveling in the Past? See Mr. Sutherland!
Somehow, buying gasoline is associated with the summer season. Those of us driving gas-powered vehicles do purchase fuel year round, but the summer months often see an increase in the number of trips to the pump and a consequent rise in prices. Back in the 1930s and ‘40s, one could have bought gas in Mendocino at the S & E Gas Station located on Main Street. The proprietor at that time was Ralph C. Sutherland, son of Thomas and Hilma Sutherland.[... see full page]

Dancing Like it’s the Fourth of July

Dancing Like it’s the Fourth of July
In 1914, the town of Mendocino made a decision. The June 6 edition of the Mendocino Beacon announced that Mendocino would celebrate the Fourth of July for the first time since 1908. Those interested in contributing to the town’s plans were invited to attend a meeting that Wednesday at the Bank of Commerce (today’s Out of This World), on the corner of Main and Kasten Streets. Attendees rapidly organized and determined to host a “clean” Fourth of July celebration: an “old[... see full page]

Three Vanished Landmarks

Three Vanished Landmarks
Take a look at any panoramic photo of early Little River and you’ll notice that where once stood many structures -- houses, the mill, and hotels -- are now a lot of trees and bushes. Of the several vanished landmarks of long ago, there is one that wasn’t readily seen even when it existed: the shipyard of Thomas Petersen. A native of Denmark, hence the “sen”, his name remains on a little street at the top of the Highway 1[... see full page]

A Little History of the Little River Improvement Club and Museum

A Little History of the Little River Improvement Club and Museum
It’s such a small, plain little white building, set back from the road, you probably don’t even notice it when you drive by. Besides, you’re keeping your eye on the road, which is a good thing, because it’s at the top of the curvy part of Highway 1. On March 11, 1885, Etta Pullen wrote in her diary, “Wilder off early to commence work on "Good Temples Hall", the land father gave at Little River, that he has the contract to[... see full page]