Vintage photos of Glen Ellen way back when

Despite its diminutive size, Glen Ellen has had its share of famous residents. North of Sonoma, the area was named after Ellen Stuart, the wife of Charles V. Stuart. He settled there in 1869 and began one of the area’s earliest forays into viticulture in the 19th century.

Stuart wasn’t the only noteworthy pioneer with investments in Glen Ellen. Gen. Mariano Vallejo built his sawmill there, although he settled in Sonoma.

In 1905, author Jack London bought the first parcel of his Beauty Ranch in Glen Ellen, where he lived with his wife, Charmian. During his time there, London immortalized the Sonoma Valley nickname, “Valley of the Moon,” in his novel of the same name.

Other writers were attracted to the area as well. Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson and his wife, Sandy, briefly lived in the tiny hamlet. Thompson’s controversial 1967 article “Nights in the Rustic” is believed to be set in Glen Ellen’s Rustic Inn.

Food writer M.F.K. Fisher also was inspired by the area’s tree-covered hills and verdant valleys. She lived in a cottage in Glen Ellen’s Bouverie Preserve in her later years.

Janet Balicki Weber

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