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710a Ashbury St. – Grateful Dead House

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710a Ashbury St. – Grateful Dead House

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710 Ashbury Street is an 1890 “Queen Anne” style building that was the communal home and headquarters of the “Grateful Dead” between October 1966 and March 1968. Various friends had lived in the building in the earlier part of the sixties.

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Contents

Formation of the Grateful Dead

In the early 1960s, Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh and Robert Hunter were all hanging out at 710 Ashbury Street and Garcia was playing in a number of bands. One of them, “Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions” also included Ron “Pigpen” McKernan. In 1965, the band transformed into the “Warlocks”. However, there was another group in the Bay Area with the same name, so, at the end of 1965, the “Warlocks” rechristened themselves the “Grateful Dead”, the name (used in many folk tales) being found in a dictionary. One, possibly apocryphal, version is that Garcia, sitting in the front room at 710 Asbury, randomly opened an Oxford English Dictionary and put his finger on the entry Grateful Dead, “a dead person, or his angel, showing gratitude to someone who, as an act of charity, arranged their burial.”

Grateful Dead House

In September, 1966, bankrolled by chemist/LSD manufacturer Owsley Stanley, the Grateful Dead and extended families moved into a communal house situated at 710a Ashbury Street, in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury, becoming a fixture on the local music scene and building a large fan base on the strength of their many free concerts.
In their early career, the band also dedicated their time and talents to their community, the Haight-Ashbury area of San Francisco, making available free food, lodging, music and health care to all comers; they were the “first among equals in giving unselfishly of themselves to hippie culture, performing ‘more free concerts than any band in the history of music’ .

People who stayed there included Neal Cassady, famous as “Dean Moriarty” in Kerouc’s ”On the Road”, and John Perry Barlow. (See link http://www.difference-engine.co.uk/library/cassidy/cassidy.html for Barlow’s description of life at 710).

At the same time, across the street, 715 Ashbury was the headquarters of the San Francisco Hell’s Angels chapter.

Photos

Photographs of the Grateful Dead outside 710a Ashbury St. can be found here: [1]

The raid on 710 and the end of the communal house

On the 2nd of October, 1967, narcotics agents raided 710 Ashbury Street with a dozen reporters and television crews tagging along. Pigpen, Bob Weir and nine others were arrested for possession of marijuana. Charges were later dropped, but the case got national attention when it was covered in the first issue of “Rolling Stone”. With the increasing comercialisation of Haight-Ashbury during 1967 (In October ’67 the Diggers declared the death of the hippie with a mock funeral), and the increase in the use of hard drugs, the Grateful Dead decided to leave 710, and they moved out in March 1968.

Sources / External links

Grateful Dead in Wikipedia

Official Grateful Dead homepage

Owsley Stanley’s Homepage

allmusic biography

Timeline

Dead and Angels

Jerry Garcia Appreciation

See also

Amon Düül

Fresenhagen

Trans-Love Energies

We happily link to the following organizations, all of whom share our strong commitment to promoting community and a more cooperative world:
Cohousing The Federation of Egalitarian Communities - Communes Coop Community Cooperative Sustainable Intentional North American Students of Cooperation Global Ecovillage Network