Quite by accident, my wife and I began visiting historic spots in California related to famous literary figures and then reading books by those authors. It was a natural subset of our bookwormish nature and of our belief in seizing the day and being local tourists wherever we live. After visiting a few historic spots in the Bay Area I noticed the pattern, thought it was a good idea, and then consciously pursued additional authors. We are continually impressed by the wealth of literary history accessible in California. The tour has so far included:

John Steinbeck — National Steinbeck Center; Garden of Memories Cemetery (Salinas, CA); Doc’s Lab (San Francisco, CA); Weedpatch, CA; Cannery Row (Monterey, CA) — The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men, Cannery Row

Mark Twain — Mark Twain Cabin (Tuttletown, CA); Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee (Angels Camp, CA); Mark Twain Street/Redwood Park; Montgomery Square/Transamerica Pyramid; Sites of the real Tom Sawyer’s Home – Minna and 5th – and Saloon – 935 Mission (San Francisco, CA) — The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County

Robert Louis Stevenson — Robert Louis Stevenson State Park (Calistoga, CA); Monument in Portsmouth Square; Montgomery Square/Transamerica Pyramid (San Francisco, CA) — Silverado Squatters, Treasure Island, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Jack London — Jack London State Historic Park (Glen Ellen, CA); Birthplace Monument at 3rd and Brannan Sts. (San Francisco, CA); Jack London Square (Oakland, CA) — The Sea Wolf, The Iron Heel

John Muir — John Muir National Historic Site (Martinez, CA); Yosemite National Park — The Yosemite

Ray Bradbury — Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery (Santa Monica, CA) — Fahrenheit 451, Dandelion Wine, The Martian Chronicles, Something Wicked This Way Comes

Dashiell Hammett — Burritt St.; John’s Grill; Flood Building (San Francisco, CA) — The Maltese Falcon

William B. Laughead — Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox Monument (Westwood, CA) — The Marvelous Exploits of Paul Bunyan

Charles Shulz — Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center (Santa Rosa, CA)

Wilford Woodruff — Isaac Trumbo House (San Francisco, CA) — The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff

Scott O’Dell — Island of the Blue Dolphins

Robert Frost — Birthplace Monument at California and Drumm Sts.; Grace Cathedral (San Francisco, CA)

Maya Angelou — San Francisco Railway Museum (San Francisco, CA)

Rudyard Kipling — Montgomery Square/Transamerica Pyramid (San Francisco, CA) — The Man Who Would Be King

Jack Kerouac — City Lights Bookstore; Jack Kerouac Alley (San Francisco, CA)

Hans Christian Andersen — Hans Christian Andersen Museum (Solvang, CA) — The True Story Of My Life

Charles Chaplin — Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum (Fremont, CA)

Chester W. Nimitz — Golden Gate National Cemetery (San Bruno, CA)

Joe DiMaggio — Holy Cross Cemetery (Colma, CA); “Joltin’ Joe” Boat (Martinez, CA)