Making History Blog

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

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]

Mendocino: First There Was A Shipwreck…

Mendocino: First There Was A Shipwreck…
There are many ways that a town can come into existence. In the case of Mendocino, how that happened is a very interesting story. The Gold Rush changed everything. Thousands of people, mostly men, came to California. For most, the Gold Rush was a flop and many went back home. Many stayed. Four who stayed were partners in a sawmill in Bodega on the Sonoma coast. One day in the summer of 1850, several men arrived at the mill and told their[... see full page]

“Dear Mr. Zacha,”

“Dear Mr. Zacha,”
Zacha’s Bay Window Gallery, owned by Lucia Zacha, closes today. This marks the end of a historic era in the life of Mendocino. Walking through the final exhibit, one sees the works of the Mendocino Heritage Artists:  Dorr Bothwell (1902-2000), Sasha Makovkin (1928-2003), Fran Moyer (1922-2006), Hilda Pertha (1911-2011), Charles Marchant Stevenson (1927-2004), Toshida Yoshida (1911-1995) and William Zacha (1920-1998). The history of what Bill and Jennie Zacha meant to this town and how their dedication in bringing artists here[... see full page]