Making History Blog

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

A Memorable Class

A Memorable Class
When created in 1865, the historic Little River school district had an average daily attendance of nine pupils. By 1874, a larger school building was needed and it was built on the east side of the road which became Highway 1, on the north side of School House Creek. In 1877, with a school population of 70, a new school was built on a site about one quarter of a mile south of the Little River Inn, on property donated[... see full page]

Business As Usual

Business As Usual
by Katy Tahja, Kelley House Museum docent In exploring the archives of the Kelley House Museum, I discovered a list of business establishments existing in Mendocino in 1883. Here is a sample of the variety of commercial enterprises, which formed the business district 135 years ago, as listed in the Mendocino Beacon. There were seven hotels in the town, one of which was “dry” serving no liquor. Four hotels had stables and two had restaurants, one with a liquor bar and one[... see full page]

Arithmetic from the Archives

Arithmetic from the Archives
If you’ve ever been to the Kelley House Museum, you no doubt have seen the 150-year-old wedding dress on display in the front hall. The two-piece brown plaid taffeta jacket and skirt belonged to Phoebe Allen Marsan, who married John Peter Marsan in Kansas in the late 1860s. Their only child, David Allen Marsan, was born March 19, 1870, in Ossawatomie, Kansas. The young family headed out West, but Phoebe died along the way in Colorado Springs, Colorado, circa 1875.[... see full page]

This Will Fix You Right Up

This Will Fix You Right Up
by Sarah Nathe, Kelley House Museum Board secretary Two weeks ago at the opening of the new Kelley House exhibit, “Medicine on the Mendocino Coast: Say Ahh…”, I was looking at pioneer druggist C.O. Packard’s prescription ledger from 1882 and wondering about some of the potions and pills he dispensed. I noticed a “Morph. Sulph.” prescription for a Mrs. Johnson, a “Cocaine Wine” prescription for a Mr. Hardy, and a “Codeine” prescription for a Mr. Gibbs for Rosie. Rosie must have[... see full page]

First Do No Harm

First Do No Harm
Is the practice of medicine an art, a science, a business or a combination of all three? As in other parts of the country, the Mendocino Coast experienced an evolution of medical practice: from something which was in the hands of regular folks at home (mostly women); to something primarily in the hands of doctors (mostly male), nurses (mostly female), and a variety of technicians. Along with the evolution of practitioners, medical science evolved; these changes are on-going. The years which[... see full page]

One Character in California’s Saga

One Character in California’s Saga
Consider events in the lifespan of Mendocino pioneer Edwards C. Williams as an example of how much times have changed, and yet how we are able to relate much of the past to our own lives. When E. C. Williams joined the New York Volunteers in 1846, he answered the call to fight what few today would argue was a just war. California belonged to Mexico then, and the United States, with its use of the term “manifest destiny” decided[... see full page]