A little over fifty years ago, in 1967, it was the Summer of Love in San Francisco. In many ways the Summer of Love represents the peak of the hippie movement. That summer an estimated 100,000 hippies came to the City by the Bay to celebrate peace, love, and all things countercultural. Within the City the epicenter of the movement was Golden Gate Park and the Haight-Ashbury District.
All good things must end and so it was with the hippie movement. At the end of summer, after many participants left, those remaining commemorated the conclusion of the Summer of Love with a mock funeral, “The Death of the Hippie“. Overcome by its own excesses, the hippie movement, which peaked in the summer, was in decline by fall. The hippies’ time may have passed but the memories of San Francisco’s summer of ’67 remain.
Though the hippies have blended back into society, Haight-Ashbury’s position at the center attraction of the Summer of Love is remembered fondly. The district is now a popular tourist attraction. Haight Street has numerous hippie-themed souvenir shops and restaurants. This modern commercialization seems to be the very antithesis of the unwritten goals of the hippie movement. But so it goes.
The house bands for the Summer of Love, Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother and the Holding Company, and Grateful Dead, lived in or near the Haight. It is possible to see some of their houses, including 710 Ashbury, the Dead’s pad in 1967. Across the street, at 719 Ashbury, was the headquarters for the Hell’s Angels in ’67. The neighborhood has changed significantly in the last 50 years.
The Grateful Dead house came to fame after a drug raid on October 2 1967. It was another indication that the Summer of Love was over; the Death of the Hippie came just four days later.
(The homes at 710 and 719 Ashbury are private. Please do not disturb the occupants.)