[Dixielandjazz] Big Bear Tavern

Don Kirkman donkirk at covad.net
Fri Oct 8 17:09:24 PDT 2004

On Fri, 8 Oct 2004 14:20:09 -0500, Dan Augustine wrote:

>DJML (and other) historians--
>     Whatever happened to the old Big Bear Tavern in the Oakland hills 
>that Watters and Murphy et al. used to play at?  Does it still exist? 
>Was it torn down or replaced?  If it still exists, how does one get 
>to it, or (if it doesn't exist) get to the site where it used to be?
>     Reason?  I'm flying up to the Lu Watters tribute "tea dance" 
>concert on October 23rd in San Francisco (cf. 
>http://www.sftradjazz.org/main_events.html), and would like to drive 
>by the Big Bear Tavern (or where it used to be), just for grins and 
>maybe take a picture.  In _The Great Jazz Revival_, Jim Goggin and 
>Pete Clute say that "Among the other after-hour places was a spot 
>located in a canyon over the ridge in the Oakland hills.  Big Bear 
>Tavern was so remote that finding it required an intimate knowledge 
>of the East Bay, and only the dedicated chose to go there."  I've got 
>DeLorme's Street Atlas USA over on my Gateway computer, and it might 
>be able to at least show me the road it used to be on, if i knew the 
>name of the road.
>     So.  Did any of you used to go there, or do you at least know 
>where it might have been?

I'll try "where it might have been" for whatever's on the table.  "-)

>From the descriptions I've read I'd guess that it was in Redwood Canyon,
which long before the YBJB was a picnic/resort area over the hills from
Oakland.  Back then, I've been told, Sunday School picnickers and others
rode the train out from Oakland through a tunnel into a secluded valley
with (smallish) redwood trees. 

If that's the place the Big Bear was in, I think it's now a part
alongside part of the Municipal Utility District watershed and
reservoir; we used to reach it either from a road coming in on the
southern end from Skyline Blvd (if memory holds) near Joaquin Miller
Part or from the northern end near St. Mary's College in Moraga, near

Got to go to supper or go hungry, but if this raises possibilities I'll
be around to see what else I can suggest.  Hope you get to do the Big
Bear Stomp!  :-)

donkirk at covad.net

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