Printing History
First published in the United States of America by The Viking Press Inc. 1945
First published in Penguin Books 1978
Reissued in Penguin Books 1986
Copyright John Steinbeck, 1937
Copyright renewed John Steinbeck, 1965

Main Characters
1Lee Chong grocery store owner on Cannery Row
Horace Abbeville owner of what became the Palace Flophouse
Mack elder, leader, mentor of a group of men which included:
Hazel strong 26-year-old man
Eddie understudy bartender at La Ida
Hughie and Jones collectors of frogs and cats for Western Biological
3Dora Flood 50 years girl and madam at the Bear Flag Restaurant
Alfred watchman at the Bear Flag
William Alfred's predecessor
Gay man whose wife beats him
7Whitey bartender at La Ida
4old Chinaman makes daily walk to sea
Andy beautiful ten-year-old from Salinas
5Doc owner/operator of Western Biological Laboratory
Henri a painter
8Mr. Randolph director of Hediondo Cannery 1932
Sam Malloy moved into the boiler 1935
Mrs. Malloy wife of Sam
9Phyllis Mae girl from Dora's
Red Williams Doc's gas station man
10Frankie young truant who comes to the lab
11Jimmy Brucia picks up Gay on Carmel Hill
Sparky Enea helps Jimmie celebrate, breaks wrist
Tiny Colletti friend of Sparky and Jimmy
12Robert Louis Stevenson onetime resident of Monterey
Josh Billings great writer, humorist
Mr. Carriaga lived up the hill from Alvarado St
13McKinley Moran a deep-sea diver
the Captain owner of the frog pond and Nola
15Captain's wife member of the Assembly, away
16Elsie Doublebottom girl at Dora's on novena
17Blaisdell poet who proposed the beer milkshake
Herman owner of Herman's cafe in Monterey
hitchhiker rides with Doc Santa Barbara to Ventura
19flagpole skater outside Holman's Department Store
Dr. Merrivale Mason, shoots at skater with air rifle
Richard Frost high-strung brilliant young man
23Elmer Rechati loses both legs on the SP track
Earl Wakefield catcher of two-headed sculpin
Mary Talbot loves parties
Tom Talbot Mary's husband, writer and cartoonist
26Joey and Willard two boys
27Eric barber friends of Henri's
29Doris girl at Dora's

cities mentioned in Cannery Row

sketch of Cannery Row sites
based on text descriptions, arranged by page number from the Penguin 1986 edition
Palace Flophouse, Western Biological {122-3} And the Palace Flophouse and Grill began to function. The boys could sit in front of their door and look down across the track and across the lot and across the street right into the front windows of Western Biological.... And their eyes followed Doc across the street when he went to Lee Chong's for beer.

Bear Flag, lot, Lee Chong {126-7} Lee Chong's is to the right of the vacant lot.... Up in back of the vacant lot is the railroad track and the Palace Flophouse. But on the left-hand boundary of the lot is the stern and stately whore house of Dora Flood.... In a moment of local love, Dora named her place the Bear Flag Restaurant.

Hediondo Cannery {132} He came by just at dusk and crossed the street and through the opening between Western Biological and the Hediondo Cannery.

La Ida, Bear Flag, lot, Lee Chong's {197-8} On such a morning and in such a light two soldiers and two girls strolled easily along the street. They had come out of la Ida.... Past the Bear Flag they went and said "Hiya," to the bouncer who was scratching his stomach. They listened to the snores from the pipes and laughed a little. At Lee Chong's they stopped and looked into the messy display window where tools and clothes and food crowded for attention. Swinging their hands and scuffling their feet, they came to the end of Cannery Row and turned up to the railroad track.... Then they went past the boat works and turned down into the park-like property of the Hopkins Marine Station. There is a tiny curved beach in front of the station....

Red Williams, Holman's {212} Henri the painter was occupied, for Holman's Department Store had employed not a flag-pole sitter but a flag-pole skater.... Henri had taken up his post across the street at Red Williams' gas station .

Holman's {224> Richard walked sturdily down the hill through the pines until he came to Lighthouse Avenue. He turned left and went up toward Holman's.

La Ida, boat works {235} The noise [of the party] could be heard from the boat works * to La Ida.

Palace, Lighthouse {252} "You see how they [the boys at the Palace] are sitting facing this way? Well—in about half an hour the Fourth of July Parade is going to pass on Lighthouse Avenue. ... and by walking two short block s they can be right beside it."

* the Monterey Boat Works is just across Monterey's city line on Ocean View Boulevard in Pacific Grove (between Cannery Row and the Hopkins Marine Center) - see Knox and Rodriguez, p 11.

Flora Woods Adams
Steinbeck called her "Dora Williams" in Tortilla Flat, "Dora Flood" in Cannery Row, "Flora" who changed her name to "Fauna" in Sweet Thursday, and in his Cain-and-Abel novel, East of Eden, she became the murdered, motherly madam "Faye." Her real name was Flora Woods.
- Knox and Rodgriquez, p. 76

Book Blurb — Penguin 1986
Two [Of Mice and Men and Cannery Row] evocative, beautifully rendered portraits of "outsiders" struggling to understand their own unique places in the world.
Amid the sardine canneries, vacant lots, flophouses, and honky-tonks of Monterey, California, Steinbeck assembles a colorful gallery of characters. Among the unforgettable denizens of Cannery Row are Lee Chong, the grocer; Doc, a young marine biologist who surprisingly finds love; and Dora Flood, the flamboyant proprietess of a bordello.

"I believe that it is the one [Steinbeck book] I have most enjoyed reading."

— Edmund Wilson

Chapter Summary
1 Lee Chong's grocery. Horace settles his debts with Lee by turning over his building, then shoots himself. Mack suggests the boys could protect the building by living in it. They name it the Palace Flophouse and Grill.
2A Prayer. "Lee Chong is ... an Asian planet held to its orbit by the pull of Lao Tze and held away from Lao Tze by the centrifugality of abascus and cash register...." "Mack and the boys ... are the Virtues, the graces, the Beauties...." "Our Father who art in nature."
3Dora's Bear Flag Restaurant. Twelve girls, a Greek cook and a watchman. Dora's obligations. Alfred's tasks. How William tried to join the boys, was rejected, visited Eva, and killed himself in the Greek's kitchen.
4The old Chinaman's path at dusk, and back a dawn, between the street above the Palace down between Western Biological and Hediondo Cannery. Andy's taunting of him and its resulting vision.
5Western Biological Laboratory is described in detail. Doc is introduced.
6The Great Tide Pool is described. Doc and Hazel (whose name is explained) collect starfish. Gay may move into the Palace (his wife beats him). Henri has been building a boat for seven years (he's afraid of the ocean). That stink bugs pray.
7Furnishing the Palace Flophouse. Mack's chalked spaces, Hughie's cot, Mack and Hughie haul a 300 lb iron stove 5 miles from Seaside, Eddie brings mixed booze from La Ida. The boys decide to throw a party for Doc.
8Mr. and Mrs. Malloy moved into the boiler on the vacant lot in 1935 and two years later rented out the large pipes as bedrooms. Mrs. Malloy then wanted things, even curtains.
9Mack mentions Phyllis Mae's infection from a tooth she knocked out of drunk, then proposes he and the boys catch frogs for Doc to make money. Doc is going to La Jolla that night; he gives Mack a note for ten dollars of gas. Mack talks Lee Chong into letting Gay fix Lee's truck to use on the frog trip.
10Frankie comes to the lab and befriends Doc. He loves Doc better than his mother and the uncles at home. He tries to repeat his success offering a beer to a lady and drops the tray.
11Gay works on the Model T. Eddie and Jones pumps tires. Eddie steals some dry cells from Gay's house. Mack tries to do Red out of money but fails. The truck dies on Carmel Hill and Gay goes for a needle valve and is gone 180 days (he's picked up by Brucia, celebrates his birthday, gets arrested).
12Mr. Carriaga sees a small boy with a liver running from the gulch near Alvarado Street. The gulch is where the French doctor threw the tripes of embalmed customers. It was the great writer, Josh Billings, who died at the Hotel del Monte.
13Mack and the boys cook a meal and discuss whatever happend to McKinley Moran, and Gay. Married men can't be trusted. The Captain orders them off his land. Mack offers to cure the dog Nola's tick bite, and the Captain suggests hunting at his frog pond.
14The time between first light and sunup. Two soldiers and two girls stroll from La Ida's past Dora's and Lee Chongs to the end of Cannery Row, then up to the tracks and down to Hopkins Marine Station and its little beach.
15Mack medicates Nola and is offered the pick of her litter. The captain opens a keg of corn liquor and they all have several short ones. Mack's new method of hunting frogs yields six or seven hundred. After more short ones they douse the burning curtains and leave the happy captain asleep on the floor.
16Dora is short three girls and new troops arrive at the Presidio. The flu hits. Doc helps out everywhere, then so do Dora's girls.
17Henri watches a pole skater hired by Holman's Department Store. Doc heads for La Jolla. Eats a hamburger at Herman's, then more at Gonzales, King City, Paso Robles, Santa Maria and Santa Barbara where he picks up a hitchhiker whom he throws out at Ventura where he has a beer milkshake.
18Doc arrives at La Jolla at 2am. At dawn he collects baby octupi. He sees the face of a dead girl in the reef and tells a stranger (who says there's a bounty) to report it.
19The flagpole skater is a big success. Dr. Merrivale is told to stop shooting at him with a Daisy air rifle. Everyone wonders where he goes to the toilet. Richard Frost finally gets drunk and asks him.
20Mack convinces Lee to treat the frogs as money. Lee winds up with all the frogs. The boys decorate the laboratory. Eddie bakes a cake which Darling (the spoiled pup) gets sick in. They drink all the Old Tennis Shoes and eat the steaks and break the phonograph records, and a drunk crashes into the frog box (they escape).
21Doc returns in the early morning (hour of the pearl). Mack apologizes and Doc slugs him in the jaw. Doc gets two quarts of beer from Lee Chong's and shares them with Mack. Doc takes all day to clean up the mess.
22Henri's boat which is never finished. Women come and go because of the cramped quarters. His hallucination of a handsome young man slashing the throat of a baby. Doc's date goes back to the boat with him, for five months.
23Gloom hangs over the Palace. Bad luck hits everyone. Doc and Richard Frost discuss Mack and the boys as philosophers, unaware of how badly they feel. Dora's has to close during a busy season. Darling gets distemper, and the boys ask Doc to cure her. Mack asks Dora what they can do for Doc; she suggests a party he can attend.
24When her husband Tom is depressed over his inability to get anything published, Mary suggests a party. She invites the neighbor kitties, one of which is playing with a mouse. Tom kills it.
25Mack tries to find out Doc's birthdate. He gets him discussing astrology, says his own in April 12. Doc says his is October 27 (it's December 18) and suggests they chart him.
26Two boys chase a cat. Joey admits his dad committed suicide by taking rat poison because he couldn't get a job (next day a man came to offer him one).
27All of Cannery Row begins to prepare for the party. Even Doc finally gets wind of it, from a drunk, and makes his own preparations (putting away valuables, putting in food).
28Frankie admires the clock with St. George killing the dragon at Jacob's Jewelry Store on Alvarado. He wants it as a present for Doc, steals it, gets caught. Doc asks him why. "I love you," he says. He can't be paroled to Doc.
29The day of the party the boys have caught 22 tom cats for Doc. Dora and her girls have quiet drinks. No one wants to be too early.
30Doc's party begins rather sedately at eight o'clock. Everyone brings presents. Mr. and Mrs. Gay arrive. Lee Chong brings firecrackers. Dora's girls bring a quilt. Doc cooks steaks and reads "Black Marigolds". A huge fight breaks out. Someone lights the firecrackers.
31The trials of the gopher who sets up house in vacant lot.
32Aftermath. The Flophouse, Dora's - everything is closed and in recovery. Lee Chong lets Doc in to buy a bottle of beer. He goes back and cleans up Western Biological Laboratory and himself.

Actual Cannery Row Locations
This map is based on one in an excellent book:
    Maxine Knox and Mary Rodriquez
    Steinbeck Street: Cannery Row
    San Rafael CA: Presidio Press, 1980, p 34-5.
The authors include many more sites than these, with extensive notes and photographs, including instructions for a very informative walking tour. In addition there are thorough treatments of the origins and early days of the canneries, and of the various ways to serve sardines.

Notes and Links
Amazon Books: Cannery Row
Janet Fullwood's The aura of Steinbeck - Cannery Row
Peter Villalobos' Paintings of Cannery Row - Doc's Lab, Kalisa's La Ida, Lee Chong's
Edward F. Ricketts Underwater Park
Movie: Cannery Row - Nick Nolte, Debra Winger
Rich Renomeron's California Coast Pictures - one of the row
Hopkins Marine Station
China Point Settlement - where Lee Chong's grandfather was buried
Chinese Start Monterey Fishing Industry
photo of Holman's Department Store
photo of the Scotch Bakery (across from Holman's>
photo Cannery Row (doc's lab to right)
"Cannery Row" and "Sweet Thursday" Photo Essay

Stephan Steinbeck