Black and white photo of a young woman

Ruth Bourns Marsan as a young woman, c. 1890. From the Marsan Family Collection.

This article was originally published in the Mendocino Beacon on October 9th, 1975. We reprint it here to mark the 50th anniversary of the Kelley House.

On October 6, Dr. and Mrs. Allen Marsan of Walnut Grove called at the Kelley House and left a large envelope of historic pictures. Dr. Marsan’s grandfather, John P. Marsan, was the blacksmith at Little River when it was a thriving town. The pictures include scenes of the town as well as portraits of family and friends. In the collection are pictures not only of Little River, but also of Point Arena and Mendocino. Dr. Marsan’s mother, Ruth Emma Bourns, taught the third and fourth grades at Mendocino Grammar School. Nannie Flood Escola was one of her students so she will assist with identification on the class pictures.

On October 8, Sam Waldman and Charlene Wills set out for Prince Edward Island and the state of Maine, cameras and sketch pads in hand. They will have two months in which to study the architecture and history of the northeast coast, looking particularly at small towns on the Maine coast. People of Surry, Maine have arranged accommodations and cordially invited them to dinner the day they arrive. The Surry school has made a project of locating and excavating foundations of some long-gone houses. There may still be standing a Jarvis house, or a Flood or a Milliken—all Mendocino names. MHRI [Mendocino Historical Research Inc., now the Kelley House Museum] sent greetings to the people of Surry in the form of the book “Mendocino,” autographed by Mrs. Escola and authors Dorothy Bear and Beth Stebbins.

William L. Roberts, director of Greater Portland Landmarks, Inc. (he is a member of MHRI), is steering Sam and Charlene to interesting towns. A few days before they left, a telephone call came from the National Trust for Historic Preservation urging them to stop at the headquarters in Washington when they have put together their presentation. A requirement of the grant Sam was awarded by Cornell [to document the New England and Maritime province architectural influences on Mendocino buildings] is that he make an audio-visual presentation at the end of the study to the School of Architecture there.

The Kelley House Museum is open from 11AM to 3PM Friday through Sunday. If you have a question for the curator, reach out to to make an appointment. Walking tours of the historic district depart from the Kelley House regularly.