Friday, August 24, 2018

George Heinold (1893-1970): Ran saloon made famous by Jack London

Jack London biographer Dr. Franklin Walker (left) and George Heinold (right) Photo: Oakland Tribune
Garden Mausoleum

George Heinold was the owner and operator of the First and Last Chance Saloon, made famous as the watering hole of writer Jack London, who was his godfather. He took over operation of the bar from his father John, who founded it in 1883, and built it out of old shop timbers.  The father befriended Jack London and helped him on his path to fame.

George Heinold also served in World War I where he was decorated for capturing a German lieutenant and 12 soldiers while under fire. After suffering a machine gun wound to his right foot in 1918, he crawled a quarter of a mile on his hands and knees to receive first aid.

First and Last Chance Saloon
At the end of Prohibition he famously refused to open the bar before the deadline, explaining, "I went to France to fight to uphold the Constitution and I am not going to violate it here."

Prior to running the First and Last Chance Saloon, Heinold worked as a copy boy at the Oakland Tribune and as a shipping clerk.

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