Once the local Costanoan indians were driven away by the Spanish missionaries, the peaceful Cañada de Guadalupe was innocence lost. Used as a refuge by the fabled Joaquin Murieta and Three-Finger Jack during the Gold Rush era, the remote gorge south of San Francisco earned a reputation as a haven for lawlessness. By the time the gritty little burg of Visitacion City had sprung up, Prohibition-era moonshiners were dumping so much sour mash in the local creek, crowds from The City were bottling the water.

Still unincorporated and without a police force, by the '50s the main drag through town was a row of rowdy, crowded, blue collar bars blasting Johnny Cash, Webb Pierce, Bob Wills, Hank Snow -all live and in person. Now all dead and enshrined.

A lot of bourbon and blood has spilled on the stage of the 23 in the hard times since, but the cellular structure of its rough wood paneling still echos the melodies of a time before the Telecaster was a "vintage" guitar and the term "retro" had been coined. History haunts the shadows of the house that John de Marco built.


77 El Deora
Oblique Americana: a verbis ad verbera