Phil Gorman

Train on track above river with logs falling into river
Railroad Log Dump on Big River. The log dump went into operation in 1901 and was last used in 1936. Logs that were brought in by the train were dumped into the water. The newly floating logs were contained by a log boom and were moved down the river to the mill. (Gift of Emery Escola)

July 29, 1922 – Phil Gorman was killed instantly in an accident while unloading the train at the Boom. The Boom was a holding place, located about 3.5 miles up Big River, for logs that were waiting to be transported down the river to the Mendocino Mill. Phil was removing the chains that held the logs on the train cars during their journey from the woods to the Boom, when a log fell on him.

Phil was the son of Occidental Hotel owner Kate Gorman and her late husband, Frank. The Beacon reported, “Philip R. Gorman was a native of this place [Mendocino] and 30 years of age. He had spent the greater part of his life here. He had followed a number of lines of employment, acting at different times as clerk in his mother’s hotel, had driven auto stage and had had considerable experience in the woods, where he had served some time in the train crew. In these several vocations he had met many people and made a great many friends, for people were drawn to him by his amiable disposition and genial ways. The kindly regard in which he was held was emphatically attested by the outpouring of people who came to attend his funeral, which was one of the largest ever held in this community.” Phil had also served in the Twentieth Engineers in France during World War I.

Funeral services were held in the Catholic Church, Rev. Brennan officiating, and his remains were laid to rest beside those of his father in Evergreen cemetery. In addition to his mother, he was survived by his brother, Allan.

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.