Wednesday, March 29, 2023

This Day in MendoHistory: July 4, 1979- Old Glory Rises Above the Kelley House Museum for the First Time


In collaboration with Mendocino’s Kelley House Museum, MendoFever will be publishing their “This Day in Mendocino History” Facebook posts. The Kelley House Museum works hard to document and curate Mendocino County’s rich history and can be visited in the seaside town of Mendocino.

𝘚𝘩𝘰𝘱𝘱𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘰𝘯 𝘈𝘮𝘢𝘻𝘰𝘯? 𝘋𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘵𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘒𝘦𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘺 𝘏𝘰𝘶𝘴𝘦 𝘢𝘵 𝘯𝘰 𝘤𝘰𝘴𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘺𝘰𝘶! 𝘊𝘩𝘰𝘰𝘴𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘒𝘦𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘺 𝘏𝘰𝘶𝘴𝘦 𝘔𝘶𝘴𝘦𝘶𝘮 𝘢𝘵 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘈𝘮𝘢𝘻𝘰𝘯 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘥𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘵𝘦 𝘢 𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘤𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘢𝘨𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘱𝘶𝘳𝘤𝘩𝘢𝘴𝘦𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘒𝘦𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘺 𝘏𝘰𝘶𝘴𝘦!

Photo: 1979 Flagpole Dedication at Kelley House. Left to Right: Aldine Gorman, Miles Paoli, James O’Donnell, Edna Jackson, Dora Doolittle. (Kelley House Collection, Kelley House Photographs)

On this day in Mendocino history…

July 4, 1979 – The Kelley House Museum raised the flag on our flagpole for the first time.

𝘌𝘹𝘤𝘦𝘳𝘱𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘔𝘦𝘯𝘥𝘰𝘤𝘪𝘯𝘰 𝘏𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘭 𝘙𝘦𝘷𝘪𝘦𝘸, 𝘕𝘶𝘮𝘣𝘦𝘳 8, 𝘑𝘶𝘯𝘦, 1981. 𝘞𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘯 𝘣𝘺 𝘉𝘦𝘵𝘩 𝘚𝘵𝘦𝘣𝘣𝘪𝘯𝘴.

Barbara Carpenter, although quite ill for eight years, had talked about having a flagpole at Kelley House. She wanted to give us her father’s large 5’x8’ flag. We could never afford a pole… but after Barbara’s death, memorial gifts came into MHR for her.

Michael MacDonald rescued the old bench, or at least what was left of it, that used to be in front of the old Kelley store building. Across its back at the top were the words “Behold the Sea”… Bill Lemos cut a 40’ redwood tree on his place and shaved and smoothed it while it dried for four or five months. Bob Collier had a round ball about 6” in diameter suitable for a newel post, but just right for the top of a flagpole. It was in his Mendocino Ornament Shop and I offered to buy it, but Bob insisted on donating it to Kelley House. With it under my arm I went to Bruce Sloan to have it gilded, at the same time I ordered 22” x 24” plaque for the dedication of the pole in Barbara’s memory and her father’s flag in his memory.

The pole was finally painted by Karen Lowell, its halyards attached by Charlie Lambie and with much pulling and pushing it was ready for the flag on July 4th, 1979. With Jack Bishoff making the dedication speech, Don Carpenter raising the flag, the American Legion firing the gun salute, and cameras popping all around the scene, Barbara’s flagpole and her father’s flag were a high point of the day. The only disappointment was for the young Boy Scout who just could not bring his lips and bugle to work compatibly and after several tries he had to give up.

𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘒𝘦𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘺 𝘏𝘰𝘶𝘴𝘦 𝘔𝘶𝘴𝘦𝘶𝘮 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘣𝘦 𝘰𝘱𝘦𝘯 𝘑𝘶𝘭𝘺 4𝘵𝘩, 2021 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 11𝘢𝘮-3𝘱𝘮, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘋𝘢𝘷𝘪𝘥 𝘛𝘢𝘩𝘫𝘢 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘥 𝘢 𝘞𝘢𝘭𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘛𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘏𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘪𝘤 𝘋𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘪𝘤𝘵 ($20/𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘰 𝘴𝘶𝘱𝘱𝘰𝘳𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘒𝘦𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘺 𝘏𝘰𝘶𝘴𝘦) 𝘢𝘵 10:30𝘢𝘮.


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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFever
I like to think of myself as a reporter for the Average Joe. Journalism has become a craft defined largely by city dwellers on America's coasts. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at if you know a story that needs to be told.

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