Saturday, November 26, 2022

A Brief History of a Mendocino Water Tower


In collaboration with Mendocino’s Kelley House Museum, MendoFever will be publishing their well-researched Facebook posts exploring the history of the town of Mendocino. 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.

Photo: J. D. Johnson’s Water Tower, 1948. (Kelley House Collection, Kelley House Photographs)

J. D. Johnson, the prolific Mendocino building contractor, built this water tower on his property just north of the Masonic Hall on Lansing Street in June 1885 to furnish water to his nearby construction and undertaking buildings.

By January 1949, the tank had not been used for a number of years, and the tower was slowly falling apart. The Masonic Order, which owned the tower at that time, gave the water tank and tower to the Mendocino Volunteer Fire Department. The Fire Department dismantled the tower and used the lumber for improvements to the Lansing Street Fire Station.

𝘞𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘛𝘰𝘸𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘞𝘪𝘯𝘥𝘮𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘔𝘦𝘯𝘥𝘰𝘤𝘪𝘯𝘰 𝘣𝘺 𝘞𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘚𝘮𝘪𝘵𝘩 – 𝘊𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘱𝘶𝘳𝘱𝘰𝘴𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘩𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘺 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘰𝘸𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘔𝘦𝘯𝘥𝘰𝘤𝘪𝘯𝘰–𝘣𝘰𝘵𝘩 𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘴𝘦 𝘨𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘳𝘦𝘮𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘪𝘯𝘨. $15.



  1. Beautiful piece of architecture. It would be interesting to see an article on the symbolism and meaning behind the very odd statue atop the former Freemasonic lodge directly south of this photo. One can only wonder on the early history and influence of that organization as it relates to this county and in particular, the tiny village of Mendocino…

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFever
I like to think of myself as a journalist for the everyman. Journalism has become a craft practiced largely by the urban elite. 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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