Coastal Libraries, Half VII – The Mendocino Beacon
In the past we have written stories for many Mendocino libraries where the prestigious Mendocino Study Club has been the custodian of the town’s biblical libraries.
In 1938, the Club unexpectedly missed another place to hold their meetings. Since 1924, they have met to do business and leisure on the second floor of the old Templar House – presumably located on the first rental (small) library just south of Main Street, opposite Hotel Mendocino. After the Mendocino Lumber Company, which owned the house, was seized by Union Lumber Company, the Club lost its use of the site because the house had been demolished.
The answer was found and the Club meetings moved to Kaze Hall, a house built in 1887 by WH Kelly and now has his daughter, Daisy MacCallum, a former member and former President of the Study Club. The house on the corner of Ukiah and Lansing Streets had various workshops in its 500s, including two that were already in the library.
Most recent here was the Girls Scouts Library, which started in 1932, whose story we wrote in our first section. It appears that the Student Club took part in the initial project by purchasing books at a small public library in the early years.
Through the ’30s and 40s, the people of Mendocino made several requests for access to the branch library in their district. Frustrated with the lack of response, MacCallum said the team should have it.
In February 1947, members moved into the building and began transforming the small Hall into a library. He set $ 5 a month on new books, and appointed Helen Thomsen, Aldine Gorman, Evelyn Larkin, and Alma Mendosa to oversee. The Mendocino Study Club library opened on June 7, 1947 with 62 books stored from the Girls Scouts group. The library collaborated with Dollar-a-Month and Detective agencies, and by the end of the year had 650 new books and 50 borrowed books.
Three years later, MacCallum decided that the hall needed repairs. He wanted the Club to have a comfortable meeting room, as well as a suitable location for the town library.
After much renovation, the house became very beautiful nowadays. There were two main gates, one on Ukiah Street which was opened in the main hall or hall, and the other on the corner of Lansing Street which was an entrance hall with solid doors leading to the Study Club rooms and a well-designed, sunny library. It was 20 x 27 in size and had more than 1,500 books in 1950.
MacCallum also renamed the house Kellieowen Hall (kelly-owen), along with the names of the MacCallum girls and her mother. Today, the site houses a home and a clothing store called “The Study Club,” named after owner Erin Keller-McMillan in honor of the club’s own residence.
Nearly 20 years since its inception in 1947, the Study Club Library has 6,300 volumes, donated mainly by local book lovers. The collection was in books, fiction, travel books, mysteries, whites and many children’s books. Members volunteered (and continued to donate) their time so that the library would be open to the public on Wednesdays and Saturdays each week between 2 and 4 p.m.
Throughout the 1970s, the Study Club continued to oversee the town library. But after Daisy’s death in 1953, Kellieowen Hall succeeded her, and her family eventually sold the property in 1974. The club found itself in need of a new home for them and a public library.
Next week’s episode will take us to the final (or most recent) chapter in the Mendocino library article.
If you want to know more about the 112-year-old Mendocino Study Club, a beautiful 20-page booklet was written by Jean Droz and Janet Barnes entitled, “Ladies of the Afternoon.” Copies can be purchased at The Study Club boutique in Lansing, or online at kelleyhousemuseum.org/store/