Palo Alto was Ground Zero for the Hippy Movement (where it all began)


Ken Kesey's Magic Bus name Further

- Ken Kesey, while a student at Stanford, was paid to experiment with LSD at the Palo Alto VA
- In 1962, Kesey wrote the book, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", based upon his experiences at the VA. It ended up being a book that the "New Yorker" in 1975 said, "preceded the university turmoil, Vietnam, drugs, the counterculture. Yet it contained the prophetic essence of that whole period of revolutionary politics going psychedelic, and much of what it said has entered the consciousness of many--possibly most--Americans."
- Kesey and his famous Merry Pranksters toured the US in 1964, spreading the LSD word in their Magic Bus. They left from Kesey's spacious cabin in unincorporated La Honda, ten miles from downtown Palo Alto
- Palo Alto High School students regularly enjoyed LSD with Stanford professors
- Kesey's followers included Allen Ginsberg, Wavy Gravy, Paul Krassner, Stewart Brand, names that would leave an indelible mark on the hippy culture
- Kesey then began touring the Bay Area with his La Honda based bus to give away LSD spiked Kool Aid in what they called "Acid Tests". The Acid Tests landed in San Francisco in 1966.
- In 1966, San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen coined the word 'hippies' to describe the 'strange new breed of strobe-eyed post-beatniks' Kesey had helped to create
- Joan Baez, who sang out against the war, a popular "hippy" sore spot, went to Paly
- Baez was married to David Harris the president of the Stanford student body. He had spent time in jail for protesting the war.
- Jerry Garcia, who went to Palo Alto HS, used to sing songs that praised the merits of drugs at Kesey's cabin parties before he changed his band's name to the Grateful Dead. They were called the Warlocks
- Jerry Garcia used to play for tips in front of Swains House of Music, a musical instrument store that now houses the Apple computer store
- New Riders of the Purple Sage, an offshoot of the 'Dead', started in Palo Alto
- Jerry Garcia bought the guitar that sold for $50,000 upon his death at Drapers Music on California Ave where he was a regular visitor
- The Grateful Dead launched their long and storied music career at St Michael's Alley
- St Michael's Alley (originally owned by art collector, Vernon Gates) is where the anarchists of the day congregated after taking reading inspiration from Keplers, the first bookstore to feature paperbacks and the leading anarchist literature of the day (even before the fabled Codys in Berkeley and Street Light etc in SF)
- Plowshares on University Ave was a busy hippy bookstore which also featured a bulletin board which was the CraigList of the day
- The Tangent Coffeehouse on University Ave was an active hippy hangout
- Keystone West, which featured many leading bands of the day, was where Illusions in now on Cal Ave
- Live Music venues abounded
- Food Coops abounded (now there are none). There was one on Middlefield Ave where the Longs is now. Another was located across from Molly Stones (which also used to be a CoOp) on Park Ave where the affordable housing is located now. While yet another existed on San Antonio Road at El Camino (just over the city's border)
- Stanford was alive with activism and was one of the leading voices against the war with demonstrations, building occupations, arson fires and street fights with the police
- Denis Hayes, the former Stanford student body president who brought 20 million people into the streets on April 22, 1970 for the planet's first Earth Day celebration, was involved with the lengthy student occupation of the Applied Electronics Lab that resulted in the banning of secret military research on campus.
- Tressidor Union, in the heart of Stanford's campus was a widely known meeting place for student activists
- In 1974 Stanford sent the largest contingent of college volunteers to register black voters in Missiusspi
- Massage parlors during this period of free love abounded
- Mid Peninsula Free University, two miles from Palo Alto City Hall, in Menlo Park, also near Keplers, printed a radical newspaper, taught alternative lifestyles and gave classes on revolution
- The book "The Bad Communist" by Max Crawford, points to Palo Alto as the home of the radical politics of the 60's and early 70's
- Bruce Franklin a tenured Stanford professor now teaching at Rutgers, was fired for leading a group of students to occupy the computer center in 1972 and urging students and faculty to strike in protest against the invasion of Laos and Stanford's involvement in the war
- Bruce Franklin led a movement for revolutionaries called the Venceremos Brigade. A Maoist group, it advocated the overthrow of U.S. imperialism. One of his safe houses was on Matadero St. Five people strong, including other teachers fired for protesting the war, word has it that the door was answered with a loaded shotgun. Franklin would go on to become one of the most celebrated and feared critics of the Viet Nam war.

And a lot of this was going on before San Francisco and Berkeley caught the bug......

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