Ignore the Red Umbrella in the photo and take in this picture of a historic saloon built from the timbers of the Umatilla, an abandoned paddle steamer.
With $100 and the aid of the ship’s carpenter, Johnny Heinhold built this saloon in 1871 from the Umatilla’s bones for seafaring men to feel at ease sitting at its bar.
This is the saloon at Oakland’s waterfront where famed American Novelist and Journalist Jack London in the 1890’s listened to sailors’ tales, and met Alexander McLean, known for his cruel nature and ship nicknamed The Hell Ship. The vicious Captain and seafaring stories inspired Jack London to write his best selling novel of mutiny and shipwreck, The Sea Wolf.
“But, – and there it is, – we want to live and move, though we have no reason to, because it happens that it is the nature of life to live and move, to want to live and move. If it were not for this, life would be dead. It is because of this life that is in you that you dream of your immortality.”
― Jack London, The Sea Wolf
Heinold’s has been been a working establishment since 1884. The Saloon has been closed since COVID.
The historic saloon still has original gas lighting and the potbelly stove.
My sister and I have been traveling the San Francisco Bay Area on a quest searching for captivating bars and researching spirits in the form of cocktails (more to be revealed later).
For many reasons, I’m anxious to revisit and stay at the Waterfront in Jack London’s Square. When COVID orders are lifted and Jack London’s rendezvous Heinold’s opens again, I’ll be back in Oakland, California to order a beverage and visit with the ghosts of the past.
I love a good ghost story.