Over Labor Day weekend I went to Jack London State Historic Park in the small town of Glen Ellen, California. It’s about an hour north of the Bay Area in the Sonoma Valley. Jack London was an American author and adventurer who became one of the first internationally successful fiction writers. Much of his writing is based on his experiences during the Klondike gold rush of the 1800’s and later travels to the islands of the South Pacific. His novel “The Call of the Wild” was an instant success and has been in print since it’s first publication in 1903.
Just past the entrance to the park is a large stone house that Jack London’s wife had built shortly after his death. It now serves as the park’s visitor center and museum. A path leads from the visitor center to London’s gravesite and the ruins of Wolf House. Wolf House was an enormous 26-room mansion that was going to be his family home, but burned down just before construction on it was complete in 1913. You can climb a stairway to the second floor to get a good view of the remains of the house.
Because he was never able to live in Wolf House, Jack London lived and worked in a small cottage a few miles away. The cottage is full of pictures and artifacts from his travels. You can see his desk and the typewriter that he used to write many of his later works. The cottage sits on Beauty Ranch where London pursued his hobby of experimenting with farming techniques. Many of the old farm buildings are still standing today. The park has several hiking trails and no shortage of beautiful scenery, and would be a worthwhile stop for anyone visiting Sonoma Valley.