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Haight-Ashbury (intersection and district - SF)

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Haight-Ashbury (intersection and district - SF)

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Date Posted:August 7th, 2005
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Description: From Wikipedia: The Haight-Ashbury is a district of San Francisco, California, named after the intersection of Haight and Ashbury Streets, commonly known as The Haight or, in recent years, The Upper Haight. The district is famous for its role as an epicenter of the 1960s hippie movement, and also as a hangout of the earlier beatnik movement.

The Haight-Ashbury district was one of the fortunate areas spared in the disastrous fires that followed the catastrophic San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. Known for its tracts of elaborately detailed 19th-century multi-storey wooden houses, it became a haven for hippies during the 1960s due to the high availability of cheap Victorian properties for rent in the district and the bohemian subculture that briefly flourished there.

It gained a reputation as a center of illegal drug culture, and especially with the use of marijuana, and the area was thus sometimes known as The Hashbury, but ca. 1967 its fame chiefly rested on the fact that it became the neighborhood of choice for a number of important psychedelic rock performers and groups of the mid-1960s, including the Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin, who all lived a short distance from the famous intersection. Its mystique was further enhanced by the 1967 Scott MacKenzie hit "San Francisco". The first coffee house in the Haight-Ashbury was the Blue Unicorn, owned by Robert Stubbs, and the area also featured the famous Psychedelic Shop.

Today the district has lost much of its status as a center of such alternative lifestyles. Though the area still maintains a bohemian atmosphere, it has become a major tourist attraction and has suffered the effects of gentrification. Perhaps the best illustration of the district's movement into the mainstream is the presence of a Gap store, a major international retailer, located exactly at the famous Haight-Ashbury intersection. It remains, however, a thriving center of independent local business. It is home to a number of independent clothing, smoke, and record stores, including Amoeba Music: one of San Francisco's largest record stores. As it is located between Buena Vista Park and Golden Gate Park, the district is also an attractive destination for the homeless, and for teen runaways. Both commercial and residential property in the district are in high demand today.

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