A line of men, with a horse and cart, standing outside a row of buildings  along a street

West end of Main Street in Mendocino looking northwest, c. 1868. A group of men gather in front of William Kelley’s General Store and the Coffee Saloon. Tank Alley is the space between these two buildings. The large water tank house behind the buildings was accessed through Tank Alley. J. D. Murray’s Drug Store is on the left. The buildings on this block of Main Street were destroyed in the fire of 1870. (Gift of Alice Earl Wilder, Alice Earl Wilder Collection, Kelley House Photographs)

October 29, 1974 – The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors voted to sell Tank Alley, a skinny 13’ wide by 75’ deep parcel fronting on Main Street between Woodward and Kasten Streets. Mendocino County had recently become the owner of this small rectangular finger of land after a deed was discovered giving ownership to the local government agency. Since Mendocino wasn’t incorporated, ownership went to the county.

Tank Alley first appeared on William Heeser’s 1867 map of Mendocino. This narrow strip provided access to a large water tank house set back from Main Street.

The Board of Supervisors initially considered keeping the property as a park, but later decided to sell it. A public auction, with a minimum bid amount of $500, was held on March 11, 1975.

A 10.5’ wide building was shoehorned into the small space by Tim and Susan Aguilar in 1976. This property has housed many businesses over the years including Crossblends Quilt Shop, Red Rooster Records which specialized in hard-to-find music from all over the world, Spark which sold hand-crafted glass pipes, and currently, Meyer Family Cellars.

Final weekend! Don’t miss the Jewelry For Doors Exhibit – Vintage Doorknobs From The Larry Sawyer & Harriet Bye Collection. Thursday through Sunday, 11 am to 3 pm.