Glen Ellen in Sonoma County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
Horse Power and Manure
Were Put to Work on London's Beauty Ranch
Though he owned about 50 horses, Jack London most prized the beautiful and strong Shires. The breed originated in the "Shires" (Counties) of England during medievel (sic) times. On average, Shires weigh one ton and are capable of moving a five-ton load. Despite their great size, they are the gentlest of beasts.
Rejecting the use of commercial fertilizer, London has a separated building constructed to store the manure produced by the Shires. The manure was later spread over the fields to enrich the ranch's nutrient-depleted soil.
Drawings from his love of horses, London included them prominently in his later novels and stories.
London developed a model farm by making well-researched decisions and sparing no expense. In purchasing one house he paid more than the combined annual salaries of four of his workers.
In 1913, he wrote his publisher that he had just bought a stallion.
"Oh, not a thoroughbred racing stallion or a saddle horse stallion, but the finest draft horse stallion I have ever seen. It is an imported English Shire, and I have paid $2500 for it. Also accompanying this stallion I have paid $750 for an imported Shire mare
Before its use as a stable for Shire mares, the Sherry Barn (left, built 1884) was the former Kohler and Frohling Winery's sherry house. Wood stoves in its front corners provided heat for sherry production
The Manure Pit (center) was constructed circa 1915. An overhead trolley was used to efficiently move manure in buckets. Note the rusted remnant of track in the rafters.
The Stallion Barn (far right) was completed circa 1915 to house Shire stallions. The interiors of each barn included stalls, a tack room and hay loft.
Location. 38° 21.318′ N, 122° 32.739′ W. Marker is in Glen Ellen, California, in Sonoma County. Marker can be reached from London Ranch Road. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2400 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen CA 95442, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Jack London Had A Dream (within shouting distance of this marker); Jack London experimented (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Jack and Charmian London Entertained Here (about 400 feet away); The Old Winery (about 400 feet away); "We live in a beautiful part of the country." (about 400 feet away); Eucalyptus - The Cash Crop that Failed (about 500 feet away); Jack London's Terraces Shaped the Land for Preservation (about 600 feet away); Jack London Historical State Park (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Glen Ellen.
More about this marker. This marker is located near the horse barns at Beauty Ranch in Jack London State Historic Park. The Park is at the end of London Ranch Road.
Also see . . . Jack London's Barns -- Jack London State Historic Park. The buildings remaining on the property include the Sherry Barn, (originally built by Chinese laborers with the flat exterior walls typical of Chinese stonework) for the Kohler and Frohling winery in 1884. London converted it to a stable for his English Shire mares. (Submitted on April 9, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.)
Categories. • Animals • Architecture •
Credits. This page was last revised on April 9, 2017. This page originally submitted on April 9, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 90 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on April 9, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.