Haight Ashbury Revisited
No visit to San Francisco is complete without exploring Haight Ashbury.
After the Gold Rush, wealthy San Franciscans made their home in the Upper Haight building ornate Victorian homes in the hills. The neighborhood went into decline during the Great Depression and continued through the World Wars. In the 1950s the California Division of Highways had planned to extend freeways across San Francisco destroying many neighborhoods including Haight Ashbury. Due to extreme opposition these plans were squashed which ultimately saved many of the cities' historic neighborhoods.
The freeway scare had caused many residents to flee the Haight and with cheap rent and plenty of vacancies in the 1960s, the hippies moved in. Artists, musicians, activists and others from all over the country moved to this neighborhood looking for change. They in turn created their own counter culture that spurred social change. Some say the vibe of peace and love are gone but many of the neighborhood icons like Jerry Garcia's house and Janis Joplin's apartment are still standing. The architecture alone is reason enough to visit. Rows of victorians line the streets some brightly colored others piped with flourishes and scrolls as if they were sweet confections.
Besides architecture, check out Amoeba Records and peruse the high end vintage shops. Make sure you continue down Haight Street into the Lower Haight and check out Tornado for some tasty brews from all over California and beyond.
Have you visited Haight Ashbury? What did you think?
Saving Places article: Haight-Ashbury's Hippie House