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The area that is today Mendocino County was first observed in 1542 by Spanish explorer Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo. He named the jut of land along the coast Cape Mendocino, in honor of Don Antonio de Mendoza, the first Viceroy of New Spain and the patron of Cabrillo’s expedition.
The first settlers from Spain arrived a decade later, and it would be another 300 years before the building of the first non-Spanish settlement in the county.
The Northern California town of Mendocino was founded in the early 1850s in the heart of logging country near the Big River. Mendocino County is one of the original 27 counties that was created by the State Legislature in 1850, but was administered by Sonoma County for almost a decade.The area is home to the Kelly House Museum, which was built in 1861 by William Henry Kelly, and the Blair House, which was built in 1888 and later made famous as the house on TV’s “Murder She Wrote.”