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The Haight

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HaightAshbury

Street signs at the crucial intersection (PROSE: Wonderland)

The Haight was a district of San Francisco defined by the intersection of Haight and Ashbury Streets on one side and Golden Gate Park on the other. For this reason, it was also known as Haight-Ashbury.

It was the area in which the Summer of Love played out in 1967. Jessica Willamy, in her middle age, called it "six blocks of pure strangeness, straddling the the Panhandle". She further noted that in 1965 it had only about 15,000 residents, while its ranks swelled to 100,000 by 1967. Seemingly stressing Lewis Carroll's known experiments with LSD — a drug with which the Haight was inextricably linked — Willamy likened the district to "Wonderland" because it was full of "White Rabbits and Mad Hatters".

While she lived there as a 22-year-old in 1967, Jessica — or as she was known then, "Summer" — told Ben and Polly that the district was somewhat divided between two types of people. On the one hand were the "art crowd", those that were there primarily to enjoy the drug culture and make art. On the other, she said, were the activists, those intent on changing the system and getting things done.

Amongst the many celebrities who called the district their home were Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Santana, the Quicksilver Messenger Service, Timothy Leary and Ken Kesey. (PROSE: Wonderland)

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