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Jack London State Historic Park
Photograph from Jack London State Historic Park
Pig Palace

Jack London's Pig Palace

The Pig Palace, (so named by a San Francisco newspaper reporter astounded by the $3000 cost to build) was designed by London and built in 1915. Laid out in a circle to save labor, the piggery's central feed house is surrounded by 17 pens. Each family of Duroc Jersey hogs had its own area; a courtyard with feed and water troughs, roofed sleeping area, and a fenced outdoor run. The piggery was designed to efficiently care for prized breeding pigs in a sanitary environment.  

The innovative design is explained by Milo Shepard, London's great nephew who was born on the ranch and lived there all his life:

'The feed house was two stories, and the feed was put up in bins in the upper story, and all he had to do was pull a lever.  There was a stove so that he could heat water and builld a little fire in there, a coil--sort of like a flash heater--and then mix it.  The doors on either side were so he didn't have to walk around.  He could feed half out of one door and half out of the other.  It was all drained and fixed so that it could be hosed out every day.  The farrowing (birthing) pens had iron pipes up about eight inches, eight or ten inches, out from the wall, so that when the sow lay down she wouldn't crush the little ones against the wall.  The little ones had space.'

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