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Glen Ellen, California, USA

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Vineyard in Glen Ellen
Glen Ellen is a tiny town in Sonoma County in northwestern California, located in the Sonoma Valley and on the Sonoma River. Not officially a town, it is rather a census-designated-place.

Settlement began in 1859, when a landowner bought the land to become part of his "Rancho Agua Caliente." He built a house here in 1868 and established a 1000 acre vineyard, which he named Glen Ellen after his wife.

Today, Glen Ellen is known for its exclusivity, luxurious mansions, vineyards, rolling hills, and wedding venues.

People Born in Glen Ellen

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Glen Ellen in People's Lives

Hunter S. Thompson: I moved here with my wife Sondi, and my baby son Juan, in 1963. At the time, I was a 26 year old still struggling to make a name for myself in my writing. While living here, I continued to write for the National Observer. However, as always, I was eventually fired from this job when I got into an argument with the editor in 1965, when one of my book reviews was rejected and the editor refused to print it. I moved to San Francisco.

Jack London: With my wife Charmian Kittredge, I purchased a 1,000 acre ranch here in 1905, which I eventually named "Beauty Ranch." I later wrote of it, "Next to my wife, the ranch is the dearest thing in the world to me." I saw the land as a version of Eden, and now wrote not out of love for the craft, but to buy more acres to add to my ranch. I began studying agriculture and ecology. I hoped to one day make the ranch my main form of income, and a business. I built the first concrete silo in California, which I was proud of, and also built a pig barn. The buildings were designed by both Italian and Chinese architects and stonemasons, with a distinctive blend of both styles. I began building a grand 15,000 square foot mansion here in 1911, called Wolf House here, but just after it was completed in 1914 and I planned to move in within the week, it was destroyed by a fire. I pledged to rebuild the house, but this never happened. Despite my big dreams for Beauty Ranch, it was an economic failture. Instead of becoming a profitable business, it simply cost me a lot of money and ultimately failed. While I enjoyed being the hand of power on the ranch, the ranch hands and men who worked on my ranch considered me un-serious, certainly not a real rancher, and Beauty Ranch to simply be a rich man's hobby. However, I spent the remaining years happily with Charmian, despite lingering ill health. We went on many trips and adventures together, often to our beloved Hawaii, as well as to Oregon, Washington, Maryland, other destinations in California, and sailing cruises. I continued to write and enjoy the wealth that my fame in the literary world had brought me. In 1916, I was already suffering a menagerie of maladies, including dysentery, the effects of my alcohol problems, and uremia. I was often in much pain, and took morphine in an effort to find some relief. In November of 1916, at the age of only 40, I passed away on the sleeping porch on the cottage of my Beauty Ranch here. My ashes were buried on my property, under a tree. My grave was marked simply, with only a mossy boulder. Years later, when Charmian died in 1955, her ashes were buried beside me.

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