Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Jerry's room, 710 Ashbury Street, San Francisco, CA

Since most records were lost when city hall burned in the 1906 earthquake and fire, we do not know who designed and built many of the city’s Victorian era structures, or if indeed anybody did design them as we define that term today. The fact that some of the buildings did, indeed, have architects is today almost incidental; it is not in their origins that value exists but in the fact that they survived the 1906 earthquake and fire and, in many cases, misguided improvements, years of neglect, and looming demolition for newer construction.
The Haight survived the 1906 earthquake and fire relatively unscathed. During the Depression of the 1930s, many of the respectable Victorian era homes were turned into low-rent rooming houses.(2)

Since most of the neighborhood was built up during the late Victorian era, gables, plasterworks and towers with finials dominate the architectural landscape. In 1976 about 1,160 Victorian era structures remained in the Haight-Ashbury, roughly three-quarters of them in the Queen Anne style.(2)

Page 127, middle: Mountain Girl's guided tour of 710 Ashbury:
"You come in the front door and on your left is the dining room/front parlor with big sliding doors that are open, so it's two rooms made into one. There are beautiful stained glass borders on these bay windows that look out into the street. In that room is Weir's bed and a big green, fold-out lounge chair that Bob Matthews lived in. There was another set of sliding doors at the end and that led into Pigpen's dark little room. He had another door going in there from the kitchen. The dining room had a big table and that's where a lot of the business got done, and a lot of the interviews were done there. The kitchen was straight back, and the staircase went up to the right. On the upper floor was Rock's room, which had a few stairs going out onto a little gravel-roof deck over the kitchen, and there was Jerry's room, which was the one you see in the pictures with the American flag on the wall. So I moved in Jerry's room there. And then there was the front room, with a beautiful old Victorian fireplace and old curtains that were falling apart, and really ancient rugs on the floor that were crumbling but you could still faintly see these gorgeous designs on them. Danny lived in the basement apartment with Laird, and sometimes Laird lived in the attic."(1)

Page 140, bottom; Rosie McGee's 710 bust story:
"I was not living at the house at the time; I was living up the hill with Phil, but I got my mail there. So I came down to the house, which was also the band office at the time, and as I was coming up the stairs, I saw Sue Swanson motioning me away — 'Don't come in, don't come in!' — but it was too late and they came out on the stairs and pulled me into the house and arrested me. The bust was happening inside at that moment. They put everybody in the tiny little kitchen while they were waiting for the wagon to come. I was pretty nervous because I had a giant ball of hash in my purse, which I had over my shoulder but under a poncho. So we were sitting in the kitchen and they had one cop watching us in the doorway, though his back was to us — I mean, we weren't going anywhere! Meanwhile they're searching the house upstairs. Sue Swanson asks me if I want some ice cream, so she goes in the freezer and ladles out these bowls of vanilla ice cream. So while the cop wasn't looking, I took the ball of hash, crumbled it in my hand, put it in my vanilla ice cream and ate it; I ate the whole thing, because I didn't want it to be found on me."
By the time a paddy wagon arrived to take the arrested down to the Hall of Justice, a large crowd had gathered outside the house and they cheered as Pigpen and the others were led out, grinning and raising their arms in mock triumph. "As we were driving downtown," Rosie says, picking up her saga, "I started coming on to the hash, and I got very, very, very loaded; this was a lot of hash. I remember Sue Swanson propping me up on one side and Veronica propping me up on the other as we sat on the booking bench, because I was threatening to slide onto the floor into a puddle. Miraculously, I made it through the night, we got out early the next morning, and they dropped the charges on me because I wasn't actually there when the bust happened. But I literally couldn't speak for three days, and I was stoned for about two weeks."(1)

Photo by Herb Greene
Jerry must have played/practiced here quite a bit in 
October 1966-March 1968!

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”. 

The landlord's name was Ellis Dee when they lived here.

1.)^Jackson, Blair, Garcia:An American Life, pg.127, 140
2.)^Kenning, Kaleene, Architecture Overview: Haight-Ashbury, 2011-01-09, http://www.examiner.com/article/architecture-overview-haight-ashbury
3.)^Fellowship Of Intentional Community, http://www.ic.org/wiki/710a-ashbury-st-grateful-dead-house/#The_raid_on_710_and_the_end_of_the_communal_house


  1. wasnt there a painting of an eagle on the hardwood floor?