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Mystery Newspaper Publication

There is nothing more frustrating to a local historian than finding an artifact and not being able to figure where the heck it came from, or when! The Held-Poage Library of the Mendocino County Historical Society is locked up tight as we all shelter in place so I did some internet searching. The object in question is a 10 page newspaper supplement from the late 1960s and what in journalism is referred to as a “puff piece.”

“You’re Invited” — big headline — “to a world of fun and relaxation — Lake Mendocino View Estates offers you the ultimate in leisure living.”

Who published this and when? Nowhere in the publication does it say. Did the realtor pay for it? My best guess is a 1969 publication date as a “new” book is reviewed that did indeed come out that year.

If I was a Ukiah old-timer I might be able to date it by the fact a “Jade World” store existed at 347 N. Main St. or that the Palace Hotel Coffee Shop was open. They both advertised in this paper along with Medico Drug at 200 N. State St. A Willits old-timer knew when the “House of Good Spirits” was open in the Van Hotel. The Willits Frontier Museum was at 23e Monroe St. and I assume that collection may now be part of the County Museum. The Rock Inn in Covelo bought space in the newspaper, as did the Boy’s Ranch of Emandal and Emandal River Resort.

 Like previous history books on the county there wasn’t a better place in the world to live. Ukiah valley had only a “mild” climate, with summers only “warm” and 40” to 60” of rain a year. Cow Mountain to the east of the lake was “towering.” The front page said Lake Mendocino View Estates would cover 850 acres and if you clipped the convenient coupon and mailed it to the realtor in Willits you’d get facts on 20 and 40 acre parcels. It was located on the north side of Highway 20 to the east of the boat ramps.

 The newspaper feature stories discussed bridges on the Mendocino Coast, state parks, Willits with Black Bart and the Frontier Museum and fishing. The Jackson State Forest maps showed Frazier Plantation south of the Camp 20 rest area on Highway 20. It had 30 acres of Monterey Pine planted in 1951 and in 1964 the trees were 12” in diameter and 75’ tall. I wonder if it’s been logged by now?

 Covelo was promoted in a story titled “Come Play and Stay in the Natives Hideaway” and a full page was given to year-round activities, golf courses, fishing streams, and maps. “Mendocino County Pleasure Map” had all text in lower case cursive script, was almost illegible, and I’d bet was drawn/composed by someone who had never been here. All images were of fat things, fat deer, sheep, hops, steers, golfers, swimmers, surf fisherman…everyone was chunky.Tipi’s were used to designate Indian Reservations and all lighthouses had barber shop pole stripes on them.

 In the story”Mountain Wilderness Awaits You” text on Round Valley promised “working cattle ranches, redskins and mountain lions” while praising activities in the Mendocino National Forest. Covelo was a “movie set for a frontier village.” An article called “Actinolite to Zussmanite” took you rockhounding to 66 localities, but was very vague. Leech Lake Mountain (which you can’t drive to any more because it is in a wilderness area) has Vesuvianite, Rodingite, Prehnite, Pectolite, and Hydrogrossular , but it does not say where…just that it is there.

 So all of this “puff” was to convince you to buy leisure property. Lake Mendocino View Estates had 20 and 40 acre plots and the 40 would cost you $17,500 in 1970. Property owners immediately began subdividing and it took until 1974 for actions by the Board of Supervisors to halt this. Around the same time Brooktrails Vacation Village west of Willits was offering 6,000 lots and Irish Beach parcels were $5,950 for a 1/3 acre plot.

This newspaper supplement is an interesting little chunk of mid-century county history and I’ll donate it to the Held-Poage Library when the doors open again so others can enjoy it too. It will be difficult for archivist Alyssa Ballard to categorize it in a file cabinet…Is it a newspaper? An advertisement? General county information? That’s her choice.

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