This Sunday, January 12, would have been Jack London’s 138th Birthday. “Why is this of any import you may ask? He just wrote dog stories and south sea adventures.”
Not! Although he was one of the most published authors of his time, his popularity coming in great part from his dynamic adventure stories, his writings went a lot further. Many of the social liberties we take for granted today are the result of his insightful and sensitive social writings, and he was a true Renaissance Man running the spectrum of experiences available to him.
He experienced being an impoverished laborer, a social renegade, a correspondent during the Russian/Japanese war, a hobo and a writer of staggering popularity the world around, his books being translated into some 70 languages. Between 1900 and 1916 he wrote over fifty books, hundreds of short stories and a large collection of social commentary articles.
Beyond his writing, Jack was as I mentioned before, a true Renaissance Man, a man who thought outside the box. He was fascinated with the concept of pushing existing boundaries of agriculture and this was one of the things he planned to use his Beauty Ranch in Sonoma County for.
One of his ideas was working towards the development of cattle, suited to our California climate that would be equally good for beef and dairying. Besides various aspects of animal husbandry, he was also fascinated by viticulture. Oh yes, and he was fascinated with photography and the automobile. Despite his fascination with the automobile and his close friendship with race car driver, Barney Oldfield, jack didn’t like riding in them, much preferring horseback or horse drawn conveyances.
The jewel of Beauty Ranch was to be Wolf House, which Jack designed utilizing redwood grown on the property as well as rock that was quarried there. Unfortunately, Wolf House burned to the ground just days before Jack and Charmian were to move in.
Beauty Ranch is now a State Park, open to the public where you may enjoy the beauty and tranquility that attracted Jack to “The Valley of the Moon.” You my hike twenty six miles of hiking, equestrian and bicycling trails. You may see the ruins of Wolf House, still a thing of beauty. You may visit The House of Happy Walls, the house that Charmian built after Jacks death. It is now a fascinating museum housing artifacts, memorabilia and treasures that were germane to Jacks life. It is also an excellent example of Arts and Crafts architecture.
For more information about this excellent educational and recreational facility and all of the amenities it provides, visit Jack London State Park.
And oh yes. In honor of Jack’s birthday, on Sunday, January 19th, the park is offering a special Birthday Celebration, which will feature a special tour of Beauty Ranch and a complementary wine tasting at the Benziger Family Winery. All fans of Jack will definitely want to take advantage of unique opportunity
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For more information about Jack, Beauty Ranch and some of Jack's favorite foods, you may enjoy visiting my website, The Questing Feast. You may now also listen to The Questing Feast at KGGV-The Bridge, 95.1 FM or streaming world wide at KGGV-Blogspot.