Historic Sites and Points of Interest in Humboldt County
From 1880 until the 1930s, Oberon was the place for whiskey and women between San Francisco and Portland. Travelers would stay at the Vance Hotel across the street. Even during Prohibition, a cellar kept the whiskey flowing while telegraph warnings from Santa Rosa alerted the owners of approaching law officers.
A framed letter, written by Eureka resident Hap Waters, hangs in the Oberon Grill. The letter begins: "It happened on a warm Saturday evening, spring of 1910. I was there."
The letter recounts a fight between nineteen-year-old Stanwood Murphy, whose father owned the Pacific Lumber Company, and visiting author Jack London. It was a knock-down, drag-out tussle, the letter says, sparked by a political argument between Murphy who was a conservative Republican and London who was a Socialist.
Both men spent the following days in the hospital, but the brawl never made the papers because of the popularity and prestige of both men.
Source: Based on reporting by Ryan Burns in The Times-Standard of Eureka.
Oberon is a Eureka Historic Landmark and contributes to the Eureka Old Town Historic District.