Jack London's Oakland...

Being as this is the 100th anniversary of author Jack London's death, we headed to the town that was his home for most of his developing years- Oakland.

There is so much to say about this man so this is just a brief overview of his life here. Journalist and author John Griffith Chaney, better known as Jack London, was born on January 12, 1876, in San Francisco, California. Jack, as he came to call himself as a boy, was the son of Flora Wellman, an unwed mother, and William Chaney, an attorney, journalist and pioneering leader in the new field of American astrology. His father was never part of his life, and his mother ended up marrying John London, a Civil War veteran, who moved his new family around the Bay Area before settling in Oakland.
To get a true feel for Jack, we headed to the waterfront and Jack London Square with a visit to Heinold's First and Last Chance Saloon (1883). The name "First and Last Chance" refers to the time in which for many sailors, the pub was the first and last chance to drink alcohol heavily before or after a long voyage. It is also known as "Jack London's Rendezvous", as it was the inspiration for scenes from his novels Call of the Wild and The Sea Wolf. As a schoolboy, London would study at the bar's tables that remain today.
Just outside Heinold’s sits Jack London’s Cabin, a recreated model of the cabin London lived in during his time in the Yukon. There is also a string of distinctive wolf tracks on the pavement outside the saloon and cabin. These tracks mark the path of the Jack London history walk, which highlights points of interest in the stories of Jack London, the city of Oakland, and its port. This whole town demands a greater explore.

Our final Jack London stop was at the Oakland Public library which has mounted an exhibit celebrating the life and career of author Jack London (1876-1916). Raised in Oakland, London went on to become an intrepid adventurer,  journalist, celebrated novelist, and political activist. During his lifetime he was one of the country's most popular authors. This year marks the centennial of his death at age 40. The exhibit features personal letters, biographies, photographs, first editions of his fiction, and other ephemera illustrating his literary legacy.
The wonderful and informative librarian, Dorothy, welcomed us into her private office where we were able to look at a huge collection of first editions and learn more about this 'native son'. It was incredible!

Our last stop was at the very cool Friends of the Library bookstore- The Bookmark. Nestled in a historic building in Old Town, this seemed the perfect end to our Oakland explore.

posted under |


Post a Comment

Newer Post Older Post Home

Sign up to get notified of my latest blog post by e-mail..

Blog Archive

Recent Comments