The Denslow-Maxwell House

In 1887, Charles Denslow, bookkeeper for the Mendocino Lumber Company, purchased this lot on the northwest corner of Kasten and Calpella Streets. Denslow moved an existing small house north onto an adjoining property, and master carpenter J. D. Johnson built this house on the south end of the lot.

Historic Home with wooden fence in front
Undated photo of the Denslow-Maxwell House. Note its distinctive round window and brick chimney top, the central conical roof, and double chimney pots.

Denslow’s niece, Miss Adelaide F. Dibble, moved into this house in September 1888, and “fitted it up for a fashionable and stylish millinery [women’s hats] and dress-making establishment.” She operated a successful business here until 1899, when she moved to San Francisco.

Sisters Carrie and Carolyn Jensen of Point Arena operated another dress-making and hat shop in this house between 1901 and 1902.

Perley and Elsie Maxwell purchased the property in 1903. In addition to being a gifted photographer, Perley was a general contractor, carpenter, and builder. Their son Kenneth inherited the house in 1941, and he and his wife Elma lived here until 1955, when they traded properties with Clarence Freathy, who owned the home on the southwest corner of Calpella and Kasten Streets.

In 1980, owner Curt Acker remodeled the interior, adding bathrooms in the hope of being licensed for a bed and breakfast inn. He failed to get the license, and in March 1981, the property was offered for sale by Big River Realty, “4 bedrooms, 4 baths, exquisite renovation … $300,000.”

Final Weekend! 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.