Washington (May 15, 2019) – The Corner of Haight and Ashbury, the heart of the neighborhood at the epicenter of the American counterculture in the 1960s, was today named a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Together with San Francisco Heritage and the Haight Street Art Center, today’s announcement was made at the iconic Doolan-Larson building, which was recently bequeathed to San Francisco Heritage by longtime owner Norman Larson. The National Trust and San Francisco Heritage will develop a vision for the building to serve as a center for the interpretation and preservation of Haight-Ashbury’s many contributions to America’s countercultural legacy.
In the summer of 1967, tens of thousands of young people from across the country and around the world converged on the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, marking the culmination of a countercultural movement that forever transformed American life. The counterculture ethos developed in Haight-Ashbury had a deep and long-term societal impact, promoting equal access to health care and housing, environmental protection, and a more relaxed approach to sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll. The era’s receptiveness to new ideas continues to resonate through American life to this day in law, politics, business, and other elements of the culture.
“The counterculture that converged in Haight-Ashbury truly changed the world. By designating this iconic corner a National Treasure, we are acknowledging this neighborhood’s standing as one of America’s most renowned and significant historic places,” said Barb Pahl, Senior Vice-President of Field Services at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “We look forward to bringing our expertise to help reimagine the Doolan-Larson building as a place to both celebrate and interpret the cultural revolution that took place here. The National Trust is excited by the opportunity to partner with San Francisco Heritage by engaging the community and developing a sustainable operating model for this transformational gift.”
“Norm Larson was the loving steward of the Doolan-Larson building for over 30 years. We are incredibly grateful that he had the foresight to purchase, restore, and landmark the iconic corner of Haight and Ashbury before gifting it to San Francisco Heritage,” said Mike Buhler, President & CEO of San Francisco Heritage. “As we envision the future of this site, we will be guided by his deep commitment to community and ensuring the ideals of the counterculture continue to resonate with future generations.”
“The values of the San Francisco counterculture have informed my personal and professional choices for decades,” said Roger McNamee, activist, author, and founding member of Moonalice. “These ideals inspired the Haight Street Art Center, which is working with San Francisco Heritage and the National Trust on the future of the Doolan-Larson building. The counterculture deserves an interpretive center to shine a bright light on the city’s cultural history. What better place than at the corner of Haight and Ashbury?”