July 15, 1972 – A fire broke out in the Silver Walker Jewelry Shop on the second floor of the Bank of America Building at the northwest corner of Main and Kasten Streets. (Out of This World is located on the first floor of this building today.) Jewelry maker Bruce Van De Walker owned the business. Bruce worked in silver and other metals, combining them with colorful stones to create distinctive settings.

Firefighters spray water on a two-story building fire

Fire At The Bank Building, 1972. The Mendocino Volunteer Firefighters battle a fire at the Bank of America Building on the corner of Main and Kasten Streets in Mendocino. Note the telephone booth on the right side of the photo, behind the Bank Building. Mendocino Bay is visible in the background. (Photographer: K. Koshgarin)

The flames, fed by gas from a ruptured butane line, were leaping twenty feet high from the second-story windows when the Mendocino Volunteer Fire Department arrived. Working from ladders, the firefighters (including Tom Aguilar and Dave Larkin) quickly put out the fire. No one was injured, but the blaze damaged the shop’s machinery and equipment. A small amount of water damage from the fire-fighting was reported in the Bank of America storeroom directly underneath the fire.

Two years later, Bruce opened a new jewelry shop, Silver Walker Design Jewelry, in an old buggy shed near the east end of Main Street (where Alegria Inn is located today). Sadly, Bruce was killed in 1975 when the flatbed truck he was driving overturned on a curve on Comptche-Ukiah Road.

“Water Tower Wonderland” Discover the beauty, ingenuity, and architecture of these iconic structures in the Kelley House Museum’s summer exhibit. Using historic photographs, original pieces from local artists, and small-scale models, the exhibit explores the majesty and functionality of many well-known water towers. On display are renderings of Mendocino water towers in several media, with serigraphs by Anne Kendall Foote and Bill Zacha, a quilt square by Dee Goodrich, and a linocut by Emmy Lou Packard. The Kelley House has also been working closely with Mendocino High School, and the exhibit includes pastels and architectural models made by students. 45007 Albion Street, Mendocino. Thursday-Monday, 11am – 3pm. Now until September 18.