Two women standing in front of a Kelley House sign. One holds a black and white cat.

Beth Stebbins and Dorothy Bear, with “Kelley” the cat, 1979. Photo by Ray Brooks.

This article was originally published in the Mendocino Beacon on July 31, 1975. We reprint it here to mark the 50th anniversary of the Kelley House. 

Once it was known as the Kelley Farm. There was no Albion Street—that was just part of the farm. When it received the house, Mendocino Historical Research did not inherit a hay barn, a stable, a cow barn, chicken house, or any other outbuildings. But some livestock did come with the place. 

The two white geese are the showiest and the loudest. They and the three ducks come up from the pond every morning now, talking all the way about the breakfast they expect to get at the kitchen door. The female duck has another nest of eggs and we are watching this time to try and save the ducklings from predators. Last time, she lost the whole clutch. 

One black chicken roams the garden area scratching away for food, much to the annoyance of the gardeners. A most elusive chicken, it has not yet been caught by raccoon or human. 

Then there is Kelley the cat. She is small, black with white markings and naturally, was pregnant when we moved into her territory. When restoration of the house began, she was much disturbed and had to move her kittens from the roof of the east porch to a corner she found upstairs inside the house. Only one survived and it was given away. Last week she had her operation so there will not be any more Kelley kittens. The noise and confusion has subsided somewhat; she is back home and clearly she wants to be the official Kelley house cat. 

And down by the pond are hundreds of tiny green frogs. 

The Kelley House Museum is open from 11AM to 3PM Thursday through Monday. 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.