These two images, taken about 36 years apart, show the Albert Brown House located at 45130 Little Lake Street. This house is one of four on the block sometimes referred to as “Banker’s Row,” because the residences here belonged at one time to men involved in the business and financial life of Mendocino.
Mendocino builder J. D. Johnson constructed this residence for Sophia and Cornelia Cranz in 1880. The sisters were school teachers, who had moved to Mendocino the previous year to open a private school. The Misses Cranz created their own house plans, and Johnson credited them with nicely arranging everything, especially the interior, for comfort and convenience. After Sophia became ill and died in 1882, Cornelia sold the house to physician Dr. Madison Mosher for $1,500 and returned to her birthplace in Ohio.
Albert and Georgiana Brown purchased this home from Dr. Mosher in 1884. Albert was a distinguished businessman, who was instrumental in establishing Mendocino’s electric company, organizing the Apple Fair and Chamber of Commerce, and improving the town’s fire department, schools, and roads. Albert and Georgiana raised their seven children here, and the house remained in the Brown family for 66 years.
Albert passed away in 1935 at the age of 86. After Georgiana’s death in 1950, their son Howard sold the property, and the house passed through many hands over the years. Gary and Sharon Robinson Entwistle owned the home when this photo was taken around 1987.
If you would like to learn more about the Albert Brown House or research the history of your own home, the Kelley House Archives are open for research appointments Wednesdays 12pm – 3pm, and Fridays & Saturdays 11am – 3pm.
The Kelley House Museum is open from 11AM to 3PM Thursday through Monday. If you have a question for the curator, contact her at email@example.com to make an appointment. Walking tours of the historic district depart from the Kelley House.