Celebrate Jack London’s Oak Tree
Outdoor adventurers and literary aficionados alike will come together on Sunday, Oct. 6 at Glen Ellen’s Jack London State Historic Park and Quarryhill Botanical Garden for a unique all-day “celebration and gathering of acorns.” The event will honor an ancient coast live oak that once inspired the writings of American literary great Jack London.
Known as “Jack’s Oak,” the gnarled and massive tree — a bridge that links the past and present — is now approaching the end of its life cycle of approximately 300-400 years. The tree’s canopy has become infested with pathogenic fungi, and some limbs are dying. The tree will be removed in November. Oak saplings will eventually emerge in its place.
Generations of local tribes collected acorns beneath the tree’s branches in autumn. Jack London often gazed at it while writing in the cottage, only 50 feet away, where he lived with his wife, Charmian.
On Oct. 6, poets will honor both the tree and London’s legacy; dancers will celebrate the tree’s life in movement; and an elder of the Coast Miwok Tribe will offer a blessing.
Then, in a hopeful look to the future, children from Sonoma Mentoring Alliance and Hanna Boys Center will gather the tree’s “children” (acorns). The acorns will then be taken to Quarryhill Botanical Garden for planting, followed by musical performances and family activities. Attendees are welcome to bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the garden’s beauty.
Next spring, during the annual Arbor Day celebration in Sonoma Plaza, the seedlings that result from planting the acorns will be presented to Jack London State Historic Park. Once planted, Jack’s Oak will live on.
The official schedule:
- 10 a.m.: Celebration at the tree, Jack London State Historic Park’s Beauty Ranch
- 10:30 a.m.: Gathering of acorns at the tree
- 11 a.m.-noon: Special docent-led tours at Jack London SHP
- Noon-2 p.m.: Celebration at Quarryhill Botanical Garden
All events are free (however, a $10 parking fee applies at Jack London SHP only). More detailed information on the public celebration is available online.