The Valleys of Mendocino County

About 40 years ago the Mendocino County Historical Society was producing monographs on several subject areas. In the “Stories of Mendocino County” series #14 was Ray Shultz and is “Valleys of Mendocino County.” He tried to get a personal short story for every valley he listed and while I can’t share those due to space […]

Albion Bridge Completion in 1944

Tom Wodetzki of the Albion Bridge Stewards recently gave the Kelley House Museum an interesting document. Its title is “Final Construction Report for the Construction of a Timber, Steel and Concrete Bridge Across the Albion River,” dated August 29, 1944. Believe me, readers, this is mostly dry, statistical reading for 97 pages, ending with five […]

Elise Drexler

Mendocino County produced many memorable women but one from the Mendocino Coast proudly declared her occupation as a “Capitalist.” This was Elise Drexler, daughter of Mendocino coast pioneers William and Eliza Kelly. Born in 1866 on the coast she was educated at a girls private school and went to Mills College in Oakland, at a […]

Chasing Trains in Arid-Zona

Sometimes in the depth of winter in Mendocino County escaping to a land of sunshine for a break seems like a REALLY good idea. If that destination features tourist railroads my “ferroequonoligist” (lover of iron horse/trains) husband hasn’t ridden yet it’s all the better. With rides on the Grand Canyon Railroad and Verde Canyon Railroad, […]

Making Bricks in Mendocino County

Historians undertake to date a building’s construction and sometimes they turn to the common brick used in it. Believe it or not we’ve had history professors visit the county who make tracing the origin of bricks their specialty. In 1984 Professor Margaret Henry of San Francisco State had fun dating bricks discovered around the Kelley […]

Ukiah’s Rock House

Did you ever look at a building along the side of the road and think, “Boy, there’s got to be an interesting story there.” That’s the way I was about the structure standing a 722 S. State Street in Ukiah and delving into historical resources told me some of its story.  In 2019 we see […]

Yesteryear’s Medical Mayhem

Putting away research materials now that my new book “An Eclectic History of Mendocino County” is done I got to thinking about how I came to be writing local history themed newspaper columns and books. It all started with Mendocino’s Dr. Preston in 2006. Docent at any museum and you’ll find its archives being presented […]

Lessons Learned

While people pontificate about what should or shouldn’t happen to PG&E after this recent potential disaster and power shut off, it was a good wake-up call for small rural communities on emergency disaster planning. Comptche is a quintessential small town with a store with one gas pump, post office, school, church, and a volunteer fire […]

Burning Man Pyrotechnics

Pyrotechnics: the art, craft and science of fireworks. Want to see it done incredibly? Go to Burning Man where people LOVE to blow up things. So first, some background on fireworks. This is where your memory of high school chemistry comes in handy. Be it a sparkler or a fireworks display over a stadium the […]

An Oldie but Goodie

I’m sure readers everywhere pick up a book they remember reading a decade ago, are interested enough to read it again, and remain firm in their belief that it’s STILL a great read. For example “The Last Days of the Late, Great State of California” by Curt Gentry written in 1968. Combining the history and […]

Searching for Limb Casts

“What’s a Limb Cast?” Any geologist or rockhound can tell you. If you bury any or all of a tree in hot volcanic ash the wood will burn away but leave a cast, or impression, that then fills in over the ages with agate. The agate can come in a variety of colors and the […]

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