Masonic Hall, Mendocino, California c. 1920. (Emery Escola, Emery Escola Collection, Kelley House Photographs)

July 3, 1865 – A group of Masons assembled to formulate plans for organizing a Lodge. They included: Erick Jensen Albertson, Silas B. Coombs, William Booth, Richard G. Coombs, Isaiah Stevens, F. B. Lowell, James Bush Rice, George R. Lowell, Albert T. Rodgers and George Canning Smith.

The Mendocino Lodge, No. 179, was officially formed in October, 1865. This lodge is believed to be the oldest fraternal body in continuous existence on the Mendocino coast.

For the first year, meetings were held in the loft of William Heeser’s store on Main Street. Heeser, who was the first Senior Warden and also Secretary of the lodge for many years, donated a lot on the corner of Ukiah and Lansing Streets for construction of a lodge building.

The lodge hall was built in 1866 of local redwood by Erick Albertson and John Gschwend. Albertson, who was the first Worshipful Master of the Mendocino Lodge, carved the “Time and the Maiden” statue by hand from a single block of redwood. This unique sculpture, which adorns the top of the hall, was completed in 1872.

The Kelley House Museum will be open July 4th, 2021 from 11am-3pm, and David Tahja will lead a Walking Tour of the Historic District ($20/person to support the Kelley House) at 10:30am.