The corner of Haight and Ashbury is famous for being the center of the hippie counterculture, beat movement, and the Summer of Love during the 1960s. With plenty of vacant Victorians to rent, and cheap rent, people from all over came to settle in The Haight. The bohemian experience was amplified by the number of psychedelic bands that also made their home in The Haight..
It should come as no shock that I love old buildings. When visiting a new place, I enjoy venturing out with my camera and strolling the streets. No agenda, just exploring, taking photos of interesting buildings, people, and occasionally popping into shops and restaurants.
On my recent trip to San Francisco, I spent an afternoon exploring Haight Ashbury. The unusual sounds, neon album art, and happy floral clothing of the era have captivated me from a young age. So much so, my senior art history thesis focused on psychedelic art of the 60s. The majority of the poster art from this era was inspired by the music, bands, and people living in this neighborhood. It was exciting to finally walk the same streets; Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, and Jerry Garcia were in my head the whole day.
One of the most famous bands that called Haight Ashbury home was the Grateful Dead. Their house at 710 Ashbury was the place to be back in the day...I had to see it for myself.
Sadly the house was covered in scaffolding but at least it was being maintained. The neighborhood has changed dramatically since the Summer of Love. There are tourists (like myself) lining the streets, vintage shops, boutiques, colorful graffiti, restaurants, groupies from days gone by, and kids fresh off the bus wanting to live the life on the streets of the Haight. The drum circles are still on Hippie Hill, street kids peddling "magic" brownies, but the neighborhood is very different from the free love epicenter it once was. It was pretty cool to see it though.