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Wolf House Ruins.

Jack London's Grave, Wolf House Ruins

Field review by the editors.

Glen Ellen, California

Author Jack London (1876-1916), famous for his fiction set in the wilderness of Alaska and in the South Pacific, bought a large ranch tract in 1905 and built a huge dream house north of San Francisco. But just before he moved into it with his wife Charmian, it burned down, and was never rebuilt. The multi-floor stone wall ruins of Wolf House are an eerie attraction at Jack London State Historic Park.

Wolf House Ruins.

You don't have to be a Jack London fan to enjoy the park. The 1,400 acre expanse of forest and farmland features 20 miles of trails, and a 14-ft. diameter Redwood tree. Jack London's winery ruin is used for outdoor concerts and performances. But Jack London pilgrims will want to take a docent tour of the cottage (where he wrote), and pay their respects at his rustic grave site.

Wolf House Ruins.

The House of Happy Walls, built after London's death, is a 2-story museum about his life and writing career, his time as a journalist and passion as social activist, and adventures on his yacht, the Snark.

From the House of Happy Walls, visitors can hike through the forest for 1/2 mile to the Wolf House site. London intended it to be the "family ancestral home" (according to a sign in the museum), the design including 26 rooms and 9 fireplaces.

In the middle of the night in August 1913, two weeks before the family would have moved in, the structure caught fire. The cause remains a mystery.

What's left to see today is an imposing stone skeleton, with walls, archways, galleries, cellar. Fireplaces perch in the air. Steel beams shore up some of the walls. For safety, access is limited to the periphery and a walkway overlooking the center of the ruin.

Jack London's Grave, Wolf House Ruins

Jack London State Historic Park

2400 London Ranch Rd, Glen Ellen, CA
46 mi. north of San Francisco. North on Hwy 116, Right on Arnold Dr., left on London Ranch Rd.
Daily 9:30-5, Museum 10-5, Cottage 12-4 (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Vehicle fee $10, Cottage Adults $4, 13-18 $2
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
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