Mendocino is a small town with a worldwide reputation. Like other areas on the North Coast, Mendocino was inhabited by the Pomo People before the Europeans came and it was known to them as Booldam. It was the most important Pomo village in the immediate area.
As was the case with other towns in the area, the very first white settler in Mendocino is believed to have been a castaway from a ship wreck in 1850. His name was William Kasten and he filed papers claiming the land as "Port of Good Hope" in June of 1851.
In 1852 Henry Meiggs heard about a big river and gigantic redwood forests that were located close to the shoreline far to the north of his mill in Bodega. He built the very first sawmill there that same year and for a brief time the place was known as Meiggsville. Meiggs got into financial difficulties in 1854 and moved to Chile. His company was taken over by his partners and their creditors and eventually became profitable. The town, known popularly as Big River at the time, grew steadily and by the end of the civil war had a permanent population of about 700.
In 1870 The Bank of Mendocino was established and the town became an important center of coastal economic activity. During much of the second half of the ninteenth century Big River was the largest and most important community in the county. During the life of the mill over seven billion board feet of lumber was produced and sold.
Many of the buildings of note in Mendocino Town were built in the late ninteenth century. A few were started as early as 1855. The Presbyterian Church of Mendocino was built in 1868 of native redwood milled in the Mendocino Mill. It has been designated a California Historical Landmark.
Today the town is a haven for artists, writers, woodworkers, potters, actors and a host of other very very creative people. Galleries and gift stores abound and carry some of the most beautiful and unique items imaginable. Browsing these establishmnts is a worthwhile esthetic experience for anyone whether they are looking for an unusual gift for a friend, a treasure for themselves or are just plain looking. After a day on the bluff looking at nature or a tour of the shops it is time to savor a wonderful meal in one of the numerous fine dining establishments that are tucked away in the back streets. At dinner don't forget to try one of the wines from either Mendocino County or one of the other nearby wine-growing counties. It is some of the very best in the world. At the end of the day retire to one of the many small inns that are legend far and wide for their ambiance and hospitality.