June 5, 2013
Hippie Houses in The Haight
1524A Haight Street where Jimi Hendrix once lived.
Janis Joplin lived here for a brief time as well as a place on Lyon street which I want to go peak at.
2400 Fulton Street is a 20 room mansion across the street from Golden Gate Park that The Jefferson Airplane bought and lived in during the late 60's.
1235 Masonic was one of the safe houses where Patty Hearst and members of the SLA stayed at for a year before eventually getting arrested.
The William Westerfeld House sits across the street from the northwest corner of Alamo Square at 1198 Fulton Street (at Scott St.) in San Francisco. Constructed in 1889 at a cost of $9,985, the home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is San Francisco Landmark Number 135. William Westerfeld, a German-born confectioner, arrived in San Francisco in the 1870s. By the 1880s he had established a chain of bakeries. He hired builder Henry Geilfuss to design for his family of six a 28-room mansion with an adjoining rose garden and carriage house. When Westerfeld died in 1895, the home was sold to John Mahoney, noted for building the St. Francis Hotel and the Palace Hotel after the 1906 earthquake. Mr. Mahoney replaced the rose garden with flats to meet the city's dire need for housing.
William Westerfeld House Timeline
1928 -- A group of Czarist Russians buys the home. They turn the ground-floor ballroom into a nightclub called Dark Eyes and use the upper floors for meeting rooms. The house becomes known informally as the 'Russian Embassy'.
1948 -- The home is converted into a 14-unit apartment building. For most of the next two decades, the units are rented to African-American musicians who play in the neighborhood jazz clubs. John Handy is one of many to call the Westerfeld House his home.
1965 -- Charles Fracchia purchases the building to use as a residence but never occupies it. The house is mentioned in the book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. The Calliope Company, a fifty-member collective, moves in.
1967 -- Underground filmmaker Kenneth Anger takes up residence. Anger films Invocation of My Demon Brother starring Manson family member Bobby Beausoleil, Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey, and featuring music by Mick Jagger.
1968 -- Members of the Family Dogg occupy the house while promoting acid rock concerts at the Avalon Ballroom. Members of the Grateful Dead and Big Brother and the Holding Company are frequent visitors.
During the 1970s, the first attempts to rehabilitate the building began. Two men purchased the home for $45,000 in 1969. They remodeled the fourth floor servants' quarters beyond recognition. The house was left standing despite an urban renewal project which claimed 6,000 Victorian-era buildings over a 60-block area in the Western Addition. In 1986, Jim Siegel purchased the home and has since retrofitted the foundation, removed the dropped ceilings, re-wired, re-roofed, and re-plumbed, and restored the interior and exterior woodwork and the historic, ground-floor ballroom, and decorated the 25-foot ceiling with period wallpaper crafted by Bradbury & Bradbury.
I've been off work for a short time mending an injury so my good friend and I have been taking adventure walks around the city and looking for little pieces of underground history. Yesterday was free museum day so after we finished hanging around the DeYoung; walking back home we passed through The Haight and hunted down all the places we knew were once dwellings to some cool 60's musicians. Charles Manson was also included in that mix but the building he lived in was really ugly and just as we approached it a Fed Ex truck stopped right in front of us so I opted not to take a picture, it was a sign. It's funny how we sometimes overlook things right in our own backyard or how you can walk by something everyday and not even know the story behind it or that some rock icon lived there once. San Francisco is like a giant museum filled with extremely cool stuff and I'm going to keep on discovering because it never gets old.