These two images, taken almost 116 years apart, show the Jarvis & Nichols Building located on the northeast corner of Main and Kasten Streets in Mendocino. Today, this elegant building is home to Gallery Bookshop.
Designed by L. A. Morgan and built in 1874, the building is actually two separate structures that originally shared a common interior wall and are united by an ornate false front with bay windows. Morgan opened a general merchandise store in the western portion of the building, while M. J. C. Galvin held hearings as Justice of the Peace, operated a notary service, and published the West Coast Star, a local newspaper, in the eastern part.
In 1878, Henry Jarvis and Thomas Dollard purchased Morgan’s store. Dollard died tragically in 1879, shot by the Mendocino Outlaws while investigating a poaching in the Big River woods, and James Nichols bought Dollard’s share of the business the following year.
The Jarvis and Nichols mercantile store was very successful, and they quickly began enlarging it, first constructing an addition on the rear in 1882 and adding another in 1884. In 1893, the partners purchased the eastern structure, removed the interior partition, and expanded the store to the entire first floor. After 34 lucrative years, Jarvis and Nichols retired in 1914 and sold the business to their clerk, Burtt Elliott.
In this 1907 photograph, the building has been exuberantly draped with bunting and decorated with flags for the July 4th Parade and Celebration. A striped canvas awning is furled over the door on the west side of the building’s façade, while a rigid canopy shades the large windows to the right of the door. The photograph was taken from the second floor of the City Meat Market on the south side of Main Street.
If you would like to learn more about the Jarvis & Nichols Building 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, reach out to email@example.com to make an appointment. Walking tours of the historic district depart from the Kelley House regularly.