#J292 Vernon California, Boxing & Jack Doyle

The city of Vernon is best known today for its meatpacking plants and slaughterhouses, but nearly a century ago vied with Madison Square Garden for the title of “Boxing Capital of the World.” In his Vernon Arena, promoter Jack Doyle staged 20-round world championship fights and, between bouts, allowed the sporting set to refresh itself in a saloon with the “longest bar in the world” and the battleground for some of America’s greatest fighters, including Sam Langford, Joe Rivers, Joe Gans, Willie Richie, Benny Leonard, Bert Colima, Mickey Walker and Jack Dempsey.

willard ko
willard ko

But not everything was so rosy for on Aug. 22, 1913, future heavyweight champion Jess Willard knocked out Bull Young in the 11th round. Young died the next day. Two years later, in response to Young’s death, California legislators limited boxing matches to four rounds and forbade promoters to offer more than a $35 prize (usually a medal). This led fighters to ask “How much medal do I get?”

doyles arena

Prohibition pretty much spelled the end of Doyle’s watering hole, though it went out in a big way. The night before the national law went into effect, June 30, 1919, more than 60 bartenders patrolled the bar, doling out drinks to an estimated 1,000 customers in what was the ultimate “last call.”


A few years later, Doyle tore down the old arena and built a 10,000-seat indoor coliseum in just 35 days. He replaced the four-legged stool in the boxers’ corner with padded seats that swung out of sight between rounds, and the unsightly and unsanitary water buckets were replaced with modern plumbing carrying running water.

When Doyle replaced the wooden benches with orchestra seats, Arbuckle had a special one built for himself, about 50% wider than the average. Chaplin sat ringside. Fans watched him rise from his seat to duck, swing, shout and dodge blows, as if he were in the ring himself. He even refereed a match for one of his favorite boxers, Frankie Dolan.

In 1924, when the Los Angeles Olympic committee was seeking a venue for wrestling and boxing, it lent some financial help to Doyle, who built today’s Olympic Auditorium just south of downtown. A year later, Doyle spent thousands of dollars lobbying the Legislature to allow the return of 10-round bouts. In 1927, Doyle’s Vernon indoor coliseum, where amateurs rose to become world champions, burned when the adjacent baseball park caught fire.

jack doyle placidus
jack doyle in placidus and a see-saw.

When he died in 1944, lucky Jack Doyle was rich and long retired from his pugilistic empire. He’d struck gold in the ring, but not nearly as much as he found when he struck gold a second time–the black gold still being pumped from beneath Signal Hill.

from the L. A. Times obituary.

Attached is Marc’s data for Jack Doyle that was missing the birthplace, so it is in Placidus format to match his 1000 Notable Nativities. Retrosheet.org supplied the place but has different data, October 25, 1869. Kilgorin was then part of the United Kingdom – Ireland did not procure its freedom until Easter Sunday 1916 so the Retrosheet version is in the colours of the Union Jack,

jack 1869
jack 1869 a locomotive.  Our preferred chart and the Astro.com one.

We would if asked, go with the 1869 date as it shows his loyalty to his brother and a strong aspect to the Galactic Center. We supplied the KO for August 22 1913 as that chart is quite remarkable, post the opposition and yod point to the Midheaven with Pluto and Neptune in semi-sextile aspect.


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