Celebrate National Trivia Day on January 4th with these interesting tidbits of local history from the Kelley House archives!
Did you know that the wings on Father Time used to be painted silver? According to a Mendocino Beacon newspaper article published in 2014, contractor Dave Latoof and his crew were lightly sanding the statue on top of the building, known as “Time and the Maiden,” when they discovered that Father Time’s wings were painted silver at some time in the past. The two rooftop figures, carved from a single redwood trunk, were also created without feet, which makes sense because feet wouldn’t be seen from the ground.
The Street of the Sisters
Between 1879 and 1886, five adventurous sisters emigrated to Mendocino from the island of Flores, in the Azores Islands. All of these women—Annie Osborne Jerome, Rosa Thomas, Marianne Vargas, Joaquina King, and Maria Bettencourt—married, and each lived in a house on Calpella Street.
In 2002, the oldest standing water tower in the Mendocino Historic District, located near the corner of Heeser and Main streets, was lifted, set on wheels, and turned 90 degrees by owner Rich Aguilar so that the windows faced Mendocino Bay.
Portuguese Beach was known for over one hundred years as Point Beach. Fifty-five years ago, 12 boat houses occupied the beach; they were used by local residents Miles Paoli, Les Selders, Tony Lenhares, Joe Silva, Alvin Mendosa, and others. Up until the area became a state park in the 1970s, cows and horses grazed the headlands above the beach.
That White Cross on Little Lake Road
St. Vincent’s, the first Catholic church in Mendocino County, was built in 1866 on one of Mendocino’s two highest hills. It was razed in 1921, but a large cross marks its approximate location within Hillcrest Cemetery. The church’s elevated location and its fifty-foot-tall steeple made it visible for miles along the coast, a useful landmark for mariners and government surveyors. The old house that is now Patterson’s Pub was originally the priest’s home.
The Red Church
Corners of the Mouth occupies what was once Eliza Kelley’s Baptist church. Built in 1894 by her husband, it fulfilled her long-standing desire for a Baptist house of worship in Mendocino. The congregation continued to hold services there until about 1935, but then the building stood empty until it was sold in the 1970s, along with all the other Kelley/MacCallum properties. It’s painted barn-red because the family painted several of their buildings this color. The so-called Red House across Ukiah Street near the corner of Ford Street was a Kelley rental property, and the building a few doors west of the church (now Mendocino Market & Deli) was once Daisy’s red guest cottage.
Three historical vaults still exist in Mendocino. In 1881, the first occupant of the Beacon Building on Ukiah Street, the Bank of Mendocino, installed a brick vault in the southeast corner to protect its steel safe. Partners Gallery now uses this small but charming space for exhibits. Visitors to the Out of This World store on Main Street can still view the Bank of America’s 1908 steel vault inside the store. William Kelley had a brick vault in his store on the corner of Main and Lansing Streets. When the 100-year-old building was razed and replaced in 1979, the vault was saved, and it’s used as a dressing room by the Blooming store today.
The sun porch of Daisy MacCallum’s home, where she spent so much time in her later years, is now part of the MacCallum House Inn’s Grey Whale Bar & Cafe. Ironically, Daisy was a life-long teetotaler and a staunch supporter of the temperance movement to ban the sale of alcohol in Mendocino during the early part of the 20th century.
The Mendocino Beacon
William Heeser founded the Mendocino Beacon newspaper in 1877, the same year his son Auggie was born. After William died, Auggie became the owner and publisher of the Beacon, “A Coast Paper for Coast People.”
The Kelley House Museum is open from 11AM to 3PM Thursday through Monday. If you have a question for the curator, reach out to email@example.com to make an appointment. Walking tours of the historic district depart from the Kelley House regularly.