Anyone who has ever been to Mendocino has likely experienced the marvelous body of work created by the late Perley Maxwell (1869-1931), an amateur photographer, craftsman, and musician who took myriad photos of the Mendocino Coast in early 1900s. On Sunday, October 22, grandsons, great-granddaughters and extended family will share their memories at “Sunday Afternoon With the Maxwell Clan,” part of the ongoing speakers series at Mendocino’s Kelley House Museum. The program begins at 4 p.m. and is $5 for members and $7 for the public.
A Mendocino Coast native, Perley Maxwell was born in Pine Grove, near today’s Point Cabrillo Light Station State Historic Park. He worked as a raftsman on the river, for many years in Mendocino’s Jarvis & Nichols store (now Gallery Bookshop) and ultimately went into business for himself as a general contractor erecting many intricately beautiful structures that still grace Mendocino town today.
Grandsons David and Dennis Maxwell; David’s wife, Susan, and their daughters Deborah Boston and Diane Campbell; and Susan’s sister Darlene Pinola, will discuss the family traits that have been passed down through the generations. They each will discuss their experiences and what continues to bring them back to Mendocino and the county.
Family heirloom instruments including Perley Maxwell’s violin and David’s father, Kenneth’s, saxophone will be on hand, the same sax that Diane played in middle school. Daughter Deborah received her musical talent of singing from her grandmother Elma Westerlund Maxwell, who sang in the choir while living in Caspar. The entire Maxwell family has the photography bug and Deborah has sold a few of her photographs.
Susan McCombs Maxwell’s family is from Round Valley and Upper Lake. Susan and her sister Darlene grew up in the lumber camp. Their father was a heavy equipment operator, a trait that was passed to two of Darlene’s sons. Darlene has lived in Point Arena for over 60 years on the Garcia River Indian Reservation. Darlene also worked at the grocery store there for over 30 years.
This “Sunday Afternoon With the ” is presented in conjunction with the current Kelley House Museum exhibit, “Kin & Kinship: Coming Home to Mendocino.”