Padden Saloon

August 20, 1860 – Patrick Padden purchased a lot on Main Street, west of Kasten, where the Mendocino Jewelry Store is located in 2022. Here, he built and operated Mendocino’s second saloon.

Dirt road lined with buildings
West Main Street, c. 1865. View of the west end of Main Street in Mendocino looking northeast before the fire of 1870 destroyed this part of town. A group of men gather in the front of one of the businesses, a woman stands in the doorway of another, while a man driving a horse-driven wagon loaded with barrels passes in the foreground. The post office is housed in the building with the flagstaff. To the right is J. D. Murray’s first drug store, then William Kelley’s first general store, and then a Coffee Saloon. A large tank can be seen behind the buildings, which was accessed through “Tank Alley” between Kelley’s store and the Coffee Saloon.

Patrick was from Ballina, County Mayo, Ireland, and his wife Martha was from New Castle on Tyne, England. Patrick and Martha married in Mendocino in 1861. Tragically, Martha died of tuberculosis just 4 years later at the age of 20, leaving behind her only child, 3-year-old Henry. She is buried in Hillcrest Cemetery.

Patrick continued to operate his saloon and made at least one voyage to his homeland. J. B. Ford recorded in his March 20, 1867 diary entry that, “Schooner Hannah Louise went to sea this morning. P. Padden passenger down, going to visit Ireland.”

On February 3, 1868, Patrick wrote his will, leaving the saloon to his now 6-year-old son Henry. To his brother Michael he left all the liquor bar fixtures and effects in the saloon, including two billiard tables, and granted him the use of the saloon as long as Michael paid $30 monthly rent to Henry. Patrick also bequeathed $500 (at $8 per annum) to his father, Michael Padden of Ireland, and he directed that Henry be raised and educated in the Roman Catholic faith. Eugene Brown, who owned a nearby store on Main Street, was named executor of Patrick’s estate, and Henry’s guardians were Eugene’s brother, Frederick Brown, and Patrick’s brother Michael Padden, both of Mendocino County.

Patrick died from tuberculosis the following day, and the Padden Saloon burned down in the fire that destroyed 25 buildings along Main Street in 1870.

Don’t miss our current exhibit! The Kelley House pays tribute to legendary local ‘70s band Cat Mother with a collection of ephemera, albums, and artwork. Cat Mother was an eclectic rock band formed in Greenwich Village, New York in 1967. By 1970, Cat Mother was living on the Mendocino Coast inspiring locals with outdoor “Boogies” and sparking creativity and community on the coast. Museum Hours: Thurs – Sun, 11 AM – 3 PM.