Making History Blog

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

Influenza on the Coast

Influenza on the Coast
People living before the advent of penicillin and other antibiotics or even antiviral medications, which we take for granted, were no strangers to death. However, the influenza pandemic, which came in the wake of the end of the First World War, occurred on a scale so devastating that it took more victims than had the Great War itself. As we cross the threshold of 2018, the centenary of both the conclusion of WWI and the influenza epidemic, it is perhaps[... see full page]

A Peek at the Silent Film Era in Mendocino

A Peek at the Silent Film Era in Mendocino
In late December of 1916, near the Boom on Big River, the cast and crew of a new silent film began work on their latest project. The Promise, produced by the Yorke Film Corporation and distributed by Metro Pictures, was one of a series of movies featuring the pairing of two popular actors: Harold Lockwood and May Allison. The Promise was not a period piece, but meant to entertain and also show audiences certain aspects of the lives of those then[... see full page]

‘Twas the Season for Basketball

‘Twas the Season for Basketball
A little over one hundred years ago, it took a heavy dose of determination and grit just to get a high school team to a basketball game. The beginnings of Mendocino High School basketball didn’t present a rosy picture. Back in 1907, writing in the school annual then known as “The Occident,” a student concluded that, “The Mendocino High School has accomplished little in the way of athletics. This is principally due to its isolated situation and the lack of[... see full page]

The Brave Women who Delivered the Mail

The Brave Women who Delivered the Mail
By William Lemos, Kelley House Museum member Dateline: 1942. The men were overseas fighting dictatorships, fascism, and tyranny. While they were gone they wrote letters home describing the conditions they lived with daily, and they often described longings they had to return to the normalcy of their previous lives. These letters needed to be delivered, and the U.S. Postal Service was there to provide that service to both G.I.s and their families. In many cases, these communications kept families together under the[... see full page]

Two Sides of the American Coin

Two Sides of the American Coin
by Sarah Nathe, Kelley House Museum Board secretary We left off last week puzzling over the incongruities inherent in the Improved Order of Red Men, a fraternal organization for white people that patterns its costumes, rituals and terminology after early Native Americans. Photos in the Kelley House archives show Red Men parading around town in Indian getups, tomahawks, tom toms and American flags in hand. Grown men? This phenomenon has been so prevalent in the USA that you can write a book[... see full page]

All Headdress and No Ponies

All Headdress and No Ponies
by Sarah Nathe, Kelley House Museum Board secretary While visions of Pilgrims and Wampanoags, and turkeys, danced in my head last week, my thoughts just naturally turned to the Improved Order of Red Men, a fraternal organization very big in these parts in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Photographs in the Kelley House archives show groups of Red Men, tricked out in what can best be described as Indian drag, posing at their initiation ceremonies or riding on floats[... see full page]