“I am building my dream house on my dream ranch. My house will be standing, act of God permitting, for a thousand years.”
Jack London, author of The Call of the Wild and producer of over 50 books - several of which have achieved status as world classics before his death at the age of 40, had grown up poor on the Oakland waterfront, traveled the world and hoped to escape the rat race of city life by sinking down roots in the pristine Sonoma Valley.
After the purchase of Beauty Ranch, he and his wife Charmin envisioned a dream home they hoped would become an ancestral site, a refuge, workshop, and place of entertainment all under one roof.
Construction on their “Wolf House” began in 1911 in close collaboration with San Francisco architect, Albert Farr. It got its name from friend and poet George Sterling who had nicknamed Jack “the wolf” in tribute to his famous writing about wolves. The 15,000 square foot house raised four stories with a commanding view of the Valley of the Moon and contained 26 rooms, nine fireplaces, and outdoor reflecting pool which was to be stocked with mountain bass. Native materials were chosen and carefully matched to one another with boulders of maroon lava, unpeeled redwood logs outside and redwood paneling inside. It included the latest in modern conveniences such as hot water, electric heating and lighting, refrigeration and vacuum cleaning.
Tragically, only a month before the London’s were to move in, on August 22, 1913, fire started by the spontaneous combustion of linseed oil soaked rags left on the floor by workmen destroyed the home.
In 2012, management of Jack London State Historic Park was transferred to Jack London Park Partners through an operating agreement with the Department of Parks and Recreation.