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Jack London State Historic Park
Photograph from Jack London State Historic Park
Terraces in 1915

Jack London's Terraces


London's farming innovations drew on science and practical experience.  Some of his ideas were ahead of their time, foreshadowing the organic and biodynamic methods of enriching the soil.

Jack learned about terracing hillsides while acting as a war correspondent in Korea in 1904.  He used this idea to increase his fruitful acres.  Hay was the first commercial crop produced at Beauty Ranch and the terraces are still in use today in the 160 acres of vineyards in the center of the park.  These vineyards are owned by the Trust of Irving Shepard, the son of London's step sister Eliza Shepard.  Eliza ran the ranch from 1910-1939.

'I had noticed the way the soil was washed down the hillsides by rains and I determined to prevent that, which I did by grading the land, making it over into rolling contours and abrupt terraces.  But the big thing about it is that by these new contours I keep the moisture in the soil.'  ~Jack London, 1916


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