[Dixielandjazz] Big Bear Tavern

Don Kirkman donkirk at covad.net
Sat Oct 9 12:09:17 PDT 2004

On Sat, 9 Oct 2004 07:11:43 -0700 (PDT), EDWIN COLTRIN wrote:

>In the early 1940's I was able to spend some time in Big Bear Inn. It was not a large building,if memory serves some what square in shape. Located on Canyon Road in the Oakland hills. Across the street and up the road a bit was a riding stable.

>As a young 15 year old and a lot of cajoling, the lady running or owner of the Inn allowed me to get in early and sit unobtrusive in a corner with no liquid sitting in front of me, in order to hear Lu and Turk  and the rest of the YBJB.  Phil Elwood , another teen-ager received the same treatment according to Phil, but I don't recall his presence. Doesn't mean he wasn't there, Memory gets dim after awhile.

>I think the Inn burned long before the disastrous Oakland Hills fire. Have not been on Canyon Road since 1946. 

If that's the Canyon Road I find on my map it's farther north than
Redwood Canyon, and is in or close to Tilden Regional Park over the hill
from the north end of Berkeley.  There is or was an old building brought
somewhere in that area from the Brazilian exhibit at the Treasure Island
world's exposition of the late 1930s, but that still existed a few years
ago (I'm not suggesting it was the Big Bear--I know it wasn't).

>The Caldecott (sp) Tunnel did not get close to Canyon Road and the train was overon the other side of the hill at Redwood. Location west of Moraga.

I don't remember who mentioned the Caldecott tunnel; IIRC that was the
highway tunnel through the hills from Berkeley/Oakland.  The tunnel I
mentioned was a railroad tunnel and would have been earlier than any of
us  would have seen--maybe the 1910s or 1920s.  Sorry if there was any
confusion about that; my only point was that the canyon I was thinking
of had been a popular spot for recreation from an early date.

We're getting some good clues now; maybe we'll have a definite answer

>Big Bear Inn or Tavern, can't remember proper appellation, too many other locatons in the memory bank.

>Don Kirkman <donkirk at covad.net> wrote:
>On Fri, 8 Oct 2004 14:20:09 -0500, Dan Augustine wrote:

>> 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
donkirk at covad.net

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