Sue Bierman fought tirelessly to keep the Haight and the City livable. She fought the freeway plan of the fifties, was a founder of the Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council (HANC), and served as a Supervisor and on the Planning Commission.
In the late 1940s, plans were afoot in San Francisco to criss-cross it with a myriad of freeways. Among the residents – a good number of them from the Haight Ashbury – who opposed these plans was stalwart Art Bierman (Sue’s husband), interviewed in Hoodline in 2014.
A community activist with strong interests in the area of affordable and supportive housing, Rene was a founding board member Community Housing Partnership. He is honored in the name of an eight-story building in San Francisco that broke ground in 2012 to provide supportive housing to 120 formerly homeless people.
Ed Dunn, Sr.
Founder and guiding light of the Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council (HANC) Recycling Center at the edge of Kezar Stadium since the 1970s; his son, Ed Dunn, Jr. continued his legacy until the City forced the closure of the center in 2012.
Open space advocate, native plant proponent and San Francisco photographic historian Greg Garr fights for nature in the city and for preserving old San Francisco values. He developed a native plant nursery at the Haight Ashbury Recycling Center, which closed in 2012.
A reminiscence of Haight Ashbury Street Fair founder Pablo Heising on the 10th anniversary of his death by Stannous Flouride, neighborhood tour guide and raconteur.
In January 1970, the Berkeley Barb, reported on The Group Marriage Commune article published in the Journal of Psychedelic Drugs (31 (1), 1970), and published an interview with co-author David E. Smith, MD. The Mason blog posted the article in 2013.
San Francisco was known for its “characters” long before the hippies came along. One of them was Bruno Mooshei, owner of Persian Aub Zam Zam. Herb Caen called his special-recipe martinis the best in town. Known for his cantankerous personality, Bruno was skeptical of the hippies at first. Though Bruno died in 2000, his bar is still open on Haight Street.
George R. “Skip” Gay, MD
Dr. Dave’s colleague at the Haight Ashbury Free Clinics, Skip Gay pioneered the discipline of event medicine, on-site medical services for people suffering conditions from drug overdoses and heatstroke to major medical crises in crowded, unstable situations.
Oscar Jackson, MD
In 1960s San Francisco, there were not many professionals who were equipped to serve the newcomers, many of whom had no money, were taking new kinds of drugs, and potentially made the regular patients uncomfortable. Dr. Jackson was one of the doctors who opened his doors to poor people, young people, and hippies. He owned several buildings in the neighborhood, and the Haight Ashbury Switchboard operated out of one of Dr. Jackson’s properties for a time.
In the early 1960s, Mendel and Sarah Herscowitz opened a store on Haight and Masonic to sell house paint and linoleum flooring. A rent rise caused them to move to 1556 Haight Street. The hoards of people who came for the Summer of Love made it difficult for customers to get their cars close enough to the store front to load heavy purchases, so the store replaced the linoleum with house paint. Sarah decided the store’s mezzanine would be an ideal place to display sewing supplies. The creative newcomers proved to be good customers: Mendel’s remains in business on Haight Street (as well as online).
A shop owner at the advent of the San Francisco Sound, Jeanne Rose outfitted musicians including her friend Janis Joplin.
In the 1960s, the Haight Ashbury had more than its share of bars in the eyes of the CA Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control. Most of the existing establishments were dedicated gay bars or dive bars. Bill Sepatis promoted the idea that the Haight needed an upscale “straight bar,” where young singles, straight and gay, would feel comfortable. He successfully fought the city to open his bar, Achilles Heel, on the site of the old Delaney’s barbershop at 1601 Haight Street. His vision was what was then called a “fern bar,” with large windows that left the bar’s interior (decorated with ferns) visible from the street. Hobson’s Choice operates on the spot today.
David E. Smith, MD
Dr. Dave came to San Francisco from Bakersfield to study medicine at UCSF. When he arrived in 1960, he could stand on the roof and his home and watch the 49ers play football in Kezar Stadium. He founded the Haight Ashbury Free Medical Clinic in June 1967, as tens of thousands of young people poured into the neighborhood during the Summer of Love. His practice evolved with the neighborhood: as the drug scene shifted from pot and psychedelics, he pioneered the field of addiction medicine. That specialty has grown and adapted as the country has responded to veterans returning from the Vietnam War, crack users in the 1980s, and the opioid epidemic of today.
Ron and Jay Thelin
The Thelin brothers opened the Psychedelic Shop on January 3, 1966, across the street from a Woolworth’s drug store managed by their father. The boutique sold psychedelic paraphernalia and counterculture books. Though the store thrived, the brothers closed it down and moved to Marin soon after the October 1967 Death of the Hippie parade, in a renunciation of the commercial turn the Haight Ashbury was taking. The ambience of the original Psychedelic shop carries on in the pipe shops and counterculture-themed stores on Haight Street today.
It has been Calvin Welch’s lifelong project to ensure affordable housing for people across the income spectrum in San Francisco. Currently he is an adjunct professor at San Francisco State University and the University of San Francisco, teaching about city planning and housing policy.