Survey number:      Owner:      Date of discovery:

The Alameda Saloon was Jack Harrison's Establishment From 1897 to 1904, When it Burnt Down.


The infamous Jack Harrison was one of the earliest settlers in the Rand Mining District.  Jack came here purportedly from the Oil fields of the San Joaquin valley, where he had been running a saloon, in late 1895.  According to Geo. W. McPherson in his History of the Rand Mining District, Jack opened one of the first saloons in Randsburg, which he ran for a year.  No other confirmation of this saloon has been found.  It is quite possible that he maintained a silent interest in one of the early saloon, with the license being in a partner’s name.  During the early days Jack was quite busy prospecting and among other properties he located the “Oso” ledge and was one of the original locator’s of Squaw Springs and was one of the owners of the “Discovery” claim.

The first listing of Jack is in the 1896 Grand Register of Voters where he is shown to have been a saloonkeeper in Johannesburg.  As the town was not yet officially located it appears that he was one of the squatters that the Johannesburg Land and Water Company later had to get to pay up for move off their land. In 1898 a liquor license is shown as issued to Jack Harrison in Johannesburg.  Jack’s earliest saloon was a wood structure called the “Alameda”.

In 1904 he moved into the adobe building which is an extension of the Teagle Store.  The Saloon was located on the south end of the building with doors opening on both the street side (The Rand) and on the side of the Randsburg Railroad Depot.

Jack Harrison's Saloon, First Building on Left. Looking North Down The Rand. -- English

In August of 1904 the Randsburg Miner reported that “A look through Jack Harrison’s cabinet of curiosities and specimens of fine ores at his place of business in Johannesburg, will well repay anyone interested in such things.  Besides what he has in the two cabinets against the wall, he has that much more packed away in boxes.Amongst the things not shown is a piece of petrified pine wood about 18 inches long and plainly showing the growths and pitch, which shows yellow as it does in the natural wood.  A piece of ore from Cold Spring Canyon in the Argus Range, which probably weighs 10 lb., is covered with gold on every side and is about the richest specimen of the size we have ever seen.  Jack has been collecting these things and the cabinet is a valuable one.  He expects to move his saloon about the first of the month to the new adobe building erected by Charles Teagle near the Depot, and will then put up a new cabinet twelve feet long, with five shelves, where he will have room to display all the curios that he has.  The new cabinet will be made of strong lumber, as the weight will not be less than 1,000 lb.

Happy Group of Men Drinking Beer On a Wagon in Front of Jack Harrison's Saloon. Jack Occupied This Bulding From 1904 to 1910. -- English

Jack Harrison was a popular well liked individual and his saloon was a gathering spot for the local sports.  Jack held turkey shoots, boxing matches, and other events to entertain his customers.

In 1906 Jack’s luck took at turn for the worse. A fire destroyed the Cozy Hotel, owned by Jack, in April.  In September of that year his wife Kitty mysteriously suffered and accidental gun shot wound.  According to the local newspaper Mrs. Harrison accidentally shot herself with the bullet entering the chest just below the heart.  The wound fortunately was not fatal.

In December of 1907 Jack was involved in a shooting which resulted in the death of Constable John Arnold of Randsburg.  The shooting took place aboard a horse drawn bus which had came from Johannesburg carrying a group of young men who had been celebrating the holiday season.  The bus stopped at Pat Bryne’s Mountain View Saloon for a while and then proceeded down the road toward Andy Nixon’s Saloon.  During the short ride down the hill Constable Arnold sat at the rear of the bus and Jack was standing on the back step, when a flash was observed and according to the Bakersfield paper the Morning Echo John Arnold said “I am shot, Jack you pulled the trigger.”  The bullet entered John’s thigh and would have passed straight thorough had it not encountered a ten-cent piece, which changed its course.  The would however was not considered to be dangerous, however, John however took cold and his liver was not in good condition and he died several days later.  An inquest was held in Randsburg and testimony was given that there had been no argument between the two and in face it was on Arnold’s insistence that Jack had joined the party in going to Randsburg.  Their were conflicting statements as to whether the gun that fired the shot was Arnold’s gun or Jack’s gun and the jury rendered a verdict that they were unable to determine who had fired the bullet.
Mrs. Arnold, however, was not satisfied with this verdict and filed a criminal complaint with Justice E. B. Maginnis charging Jack with Murder.  As a result Jack was arrested and held on $10,000 bail.  On the 31 January of 1907 a preliminary hearing was held.  Testimony was conflicting as to statements made by Arnold after the shooting with his wife stating that Arnold had said that Jack pulled the trigger and others testifying that Arnold stated that he had shot himself.  Doctor Hall stated that the health complications following the shooting were sufficient enough to cause death by themselves.  According to the Bakersfield Morning Echo ” The evidence clearly showed that while the boys were having a good time there was no ill feeling in the party whatever.  The shot was fired in the dark and the chances are that it was accidental and without malice or feeling on the part of anybody involved and after the examination the prosecuting attorney moved that the prisoner, Mr. Harrison, be discharged.  The defense introduced no witnesses.  The verdict was unanimously approved.  Judge Maginnis discharged Mr. Harrison.  The trial attracted general attention and the court room was filled all day.”
Jack’s bad luck did not stop here.  In November of 1907 he was again arrested for Murder.  This time Kitty and a man by the name of “Shorty Warren” were implicated along with Jack in the shooting of Henry Twight. “Shorty” and Henry were teamsters working the Ballarat run.  They had spent the night drinking and gambling at Jack Harrison’s Saloon with Jack and Kitty.  When the game broke up “Shorty” had started out the back door when he heard a struggle between Kitty and Henry Twight.  He went back and stopped the fight and Twight then left the saloon.

After Twight had left the saloon Jack Harrison insisted that “Shorty” take his 38 revolver with him when he left, and if Twight was to cause any trouble that “Shorty” was to shoot him.  “Shorty” stated that he didn’t want to take the gun but that Jack forced it upon him.  Upon leaving the saloon “Shorty” walked towards Teagle’s Store where he met up with Twight.  When Henry asked him for a cigarette.  According to “Shorty” he had no tobacco so he returned to the Saloon and had Jack roll him a cigarette, which he lit and took back to Henry.  Twight then struck him in the face and made a move to pull a knife or gun.  “Shorty” stated that he did not know which he had drew but that he could see the glittering of steel in the dim light so he pulled the revolver that Jack had given him and shot Twight.

After shooting Twight, “Shorty” returned to the saloon and told Jack that he had shot Twight.  Jack told “Shorty” that it was okay because Twight was a bad man and needed to be shot.  “Shorty” then left for Randsburg with the intention of giving himself up to the Constable, but changed his mind by the time he reached the Johannesburg Cemetery.  Twight was left lying next to Teagle’s store where he was found the next morning.  He identified “Shorty” Warren as his assailant, who was immediately arrested.  “Shorty” confessed and implicated the Harrison’s who were also arrested.  Henry Twight was put on the train and taken to Los Angeles where he died.

Jack and Kitty were held in jail for more than three week awaiting a preliminary hearing at which all charges against them were dismissed. “Shorty” was bound over for trial.  As a result of this incident some of the people of Johannesburg led by C. L. Adams petitioned the County Board of Supervisors for revocation of Jack’s liquor license.  The action died for lack of interest when nobody showed up at the hearing in January of 1908 to argue the protest.  Jack stayed in business until sometime in 1910 or 1911.

When Jack left Johannesburg he went to Cinco, Cal. over near the Los Angeles Aqueduct between Mojave and Red Rock Canyon where he had a homestead.  It is not know whether or not he opened a Saloon at that location.


Peck & Parker were first issued a license for a saloon in Johannesburg in February of 1897.  It appears from the license records that they were in business for approximately eighteen months as the last record of a license was issued in March of 1897. 2


A liquor licensewas issued to F. H. Maite in February of 1899.  No other information has been found regarding this individual. 3

hile no recors of any liquor license has been found, the Census and the Great Register of Voter shows that Mr. Miles was conducting business in Johannesburg in the year 1900 as a liquor dealer.  Mr. Miles was a native of England and was fifty years old at the time. 4


The Kern County Board of Supervisors issued a liquor license to Mr. George H. Lewis of Johannesburg in January of 1902. 5
J. D. PORTER & CO. —
he record of liquor licenses issued in Kern County that is in the collection of the Kern County Museum, shows a liquor license issued to J. D. Porter & Co. in February 1902.  The similarity of the name to that of the Porter brothers H. D. and L. D. lead on to wonder if this individual was related to these men who were in business in Johannesburg in 1904 and possibly earlier.  Could the initials J. D. be an error and this license have been issued to one of the Porter brothers?  6


The Kern County Board of Supervisors issued a liquor license to Perry Orendorff of Johannesburg in May of 1910. 7

. H. Burdick applied for his first liquor license in Johannesburg in December of 1911. In April of 1913 J. H. Burdick, a native of England, opened a restaurant at 313 Railroad Ave. Johannesburg, across from the Santa Fe Depot.  As no other record of a Railroad Ave. has been found, in Johannesburg, it is assumed that the restaurant was actually located on Johannesburg Ave., whichran directly adjacent to and parallel with the railroad tracks.    In October of the same year Mr. Burdick was issued a liquor license and a month later his saloon was broken into and “…. some shepherds delight and similar goods appropriated.”  Mr. Burdick remained in business until September of 1914 when he returned to England and his former occupation of shipbuilding. 8

J. H. Burdick Trade Token (obverse )GOOD FOR ONE DRINK OR CIGAR ( REVERSE) -- Parker

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