The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #104


A reader writes:

I haven’t submitted in quite a while, since it is so easy to get sucked in and spend hours combing the Internet. So I am going to put a time restriction on myself, and submit my best answer that I can provide in five minutes. This week, we are obviously in the U.S., if the pickups didn’t give it away, the U.S. flag did. Looks coastal, northern, so I’m going to go with a “Downeast” Maine fishing village.


I’m guessing Maine.  The cars parked on the right side, including the two heavy-duty trucks, make me think America and not Europe.  Foliage looks East Coast.  Vinyl siding is American, too. Colonial architecture.  Makes me think New England.  Maine has a ton of alternative energy, which makes me think those weird wood structures are mills of some kind.


I know it’s in the United States given the flag. Also, I bet it’s in the Northeast somewhere, given the vegetation and climate. But after that, I’m at a loss. But it sure sparked an obsession for me! I dare you to go to Google’s image search and look for wooden water towers and not get completely mesmerized by their strange beauty and variety. Then search for wooden water towers and find out why New York City has all those water towers atop their buildings (hint: it’s the pressure). I then found out about the water tower crochet cozy created by Robin Love (video here). Of course, part of this obsession could be because I’m a little stoned.

Another nails it:

This one was waaay too easy for me, a frequent visitor to the historic logging village of Mendocino, on the spectacular Northern California coast, some 3 hours’ drive from San Francisco.  The village is dotted with these old wooden water-towers, some of which have been adapted to other uses, in this case a gift shop. The photo was taken from the top floor of this handsome building, on the southwest corner of Ukiah and Kasten Streets:


The last time I was in Mendocino, a couple of years ago, the building was empty – there used to be a terrific art gallery on both floors.


For nearly 40 years, the Odd Fellows Hall housed the William Zimmer Gallery but now it is privately owned and available for special shows and events. It was the favorite gallery for our family and kids to visit in Mendocino because of its eclectic collections of art in many types of media (from furniture to jewelry and sculpture and all kinds of framed art). Mendocino has been an artist colony since the 1950s and now is a favorite weekend getaway for folks from the Bay Area and California’s inland towns and cities. In the late ’60s, it became a frequent destination for many alternative-lifestyle young people who settled there and have contributed to its amazing diversity and talents. The Mendocino Coast has wonderful restaurants and wineries and rugged coastal scenery, etc.

Another sends an aerial view:


Another does some reporting:

After narrowing down the possibilities based on the balcony railing, I googled around for tenants of the Odd Fellows Hall, and *gasp* phoned one of them. I just had a delightful 15 minute conversation with a woman named Janet who belongs to a non-profit community organization called FLOCKworks. After I told her a quick story about the Dish, and guided her to the VFYW post, she was kind enough to walk upstairs and determine the precise location of the photograph. She told me that it was the third upright of the railing from the southeast corner, and if the photo was taken recently, then it might have been just a few days ago, judging by the weather. Live, on-the-ground confirmation! I might actually win this one, huh?


I’m looking forward to reading the background information on the Odd Fellows and all the water towers in Mendocino from your other readers. This VFYW surfaced a memory from my high school German class, in the early 1970s. Our teacher used music to engage our interest, and one of the most memorable songs was Michael Holm’s German adaptation of “Mendocino” (fair warning: don’t click on this if you don’t want the song going through your head for the next few days):


I was just in Mendocino recently, and one funny thing I noticed is that they have pot dispensaries open to the (viewing) public, and if you order $200 worth of product, you get a free pizza delivered to your hotel!


SuziThanks for this View From Your Window.  It brought back some great memories of a trip to California, including Mendocino, in 2005.  During this part of the trip we stayed at a ocean-front B&B in Elk, and had taken a trip to Mendocino on the day that Katrina hit New Orleans (that memory, clearly, was not-so-great). The water tower building in the center of the view is a gallery called “The World of Suzi Long,” Mendocino. Here’s a photo of Suzi (who’s probably getting barraged with phone calls today).


I know I have tough competition this week because this particular photo on Panoramio received 184 views over the weekend after averaging less than one view a day for the previous month. Thanks for a fun, easy contest to come home to after spending the holiday weekend out of town.

We actually received more than 300 entries for this week’s contest, the vast majority of them Mendocino.  Of the dozen or so correct guessers of previous difficult contests, one of them stood out as having entered dozens of contests over the past few years without securing the prize. So she wins this week:

When the VFYW contest started, I spent way too many Saturdays (and sometimes Sundays) searching, and had to cut myself off. I decided to look every week and satisfy my obsession by guessing and waiting for the answer each Tuesday – I’d pursue a 1470158767_fa89cefd09_zlocation only if I knew what it was. A short while ago, I was embarrassed when an intersection very close to where I live in Los Angeles was featured and I guessed the Mediterranean. Since we have similar climates, my guess was understandable – but still cringe-inducing. My excuse: it was taken from a tall building I drive past but have never been in, which looks over second-story tennis courts. (I grew up in New York City, where elevated vistas are the norm. In many parts of Los Angeles they are breathtaking exceptions.) Last week I was sure we were in one of the small towns dotting the Northern Californian coast, but was too busy meeting a deadline to go traveling.

When I saw today’s contest image, I recognized Mendocino, CA immediately. I could smell the ocean and feel the chill of fog – I have visited close relations who live in the 12761679area, for decades. Intrigued the Dish has offered up two West Coast locales in as many weeks, I dusted off my VFYW skills and went Googling. The search was a bit more challenging than expected mainly because the fuzziness of the close-up satellite view made identifying a round roof opposite a garden difficult. I stumbled on the shot below in Google Images. It almost has the same POV, but the photographer misidentified the street as Lansing. A real estate listing led to the corner of Kasten and Main Streets (the white building on the far left nearest to the water) and I walked up from there to Albion.

My answer: The VFYW photo looks onto a stretch of Albion Street, just east of the intersection of Albion and Kasten Streets. It was taken from the second floor of the Odd Fellows Hall – 10480 Kasten Street. According to the Mendocino Beacon, it is “historic…(1878) and also known as the William Zimmer Gallery (1960’s-2000). Now privately owned and loaned to community art groups for special shows and events.” The photo below shows the back end of the hall, or the end furthest away from and facing the water.

I have guessed correctly in the past and was always excited to see near-misses published in the Dish. I hope I win, but if I don’t at least I’ve had the pleasure of engaging in the hunt and visiting one of my favorite parts of the West Coast – without losing all of Saturday.

Exact details from the submitter:

The image was taken from the Odd Fellow’s Hall on the corner of Kasten and Ukiah St in Mendocino CA. I was on the second floor over looking Ukiah Street, towards Albion and further out, Main. The garden in the center belongs to the MacCallum House, a very nice upscale bed and breakfast place. The water tower is a signature of the village. There are many around, as water is scarce, even though the town sits on the ocean. Some of the towers were converted to living spaces, I don’t believe that there is any working. This tower is the home to Suzi Marquess Long Gallery at 611 Albion Street Watertower, Mendocino.

The Odd Fellow’s Hall use to be the Zimmer Gallery, but now it’s more a public art space.  I’ve enclosed an image from the Library of Congress database that I marked up as to which window I was standing in when I took this photo:


Mendocino was founded by New Englanders who built homes in the style of fishing villages from that area in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Many of the fine Gothic style homes have been converted into bed and breakfasts. The city boasts some great restaurants, shopping, galleries and just plain sightseeing. You can go out the headlands (literally across the street) and watch for whales during the annual migration. The town boasts of having one of the oldest houses of worship for Chinese in the US, as well one of the oldest continuously-used Protestant churches in California.

Mendocino has also been used extensively as a backdrop for movies, starting with “East of Eden” with James Dean. More recently, it was used as the home of Jessica Fletcher for the “Murder She Wrote” series and for the Mel Gibson movie “Forever Young”. However, my favorite movie was “The Russians are Coming” with Alan Arkin – 1965.