Launching a National Treasure: Haight and Ashbury

July 22, 2019 by Brian Turner

On May 15, 2019 the National Trust designated the Corner of Haight and Ashbury its 100th National Treasure. It was a party in the true spirit of the Haight.

Festivities included a morning media event at 557 Ashbury – the “Doolan-Larson House,” the centerpiece of the designation. The crowd included those who contributed first-hand to the cultural life of the 60s in the Haight, including Peggy Caserta, who opened the clothing boutique Mnasidika in a first floor storefront of the building in early 1965.

The campaign will be altogether unique for the National Trust - our first to explore the impact of the 1960s counterculture. The history is relatively young, but the era undoubtedly impactful on contemporary society. And few tangible places represent this impact as well as the intersection of Haight and Ashbury Streets in San Francisco.

San Francisco Heritage acquired the Doolan-Larson Building in 2018. It is located at the northwest corner of the famed intersection, including its six storefronts along Haight Street. The property was an estate gift by its long-time steward Norm Larson. When he purchased the property in 1980 Larson found the 2nd and 3rd stories divided into eight boarding rooms (aka crash pads). He spent the next several decades painstakingly returning the residential portion of the home to its turn-of-the-century appearance. The storefronts on the ground floor, like much of the retail shops in the Haight, are independently owned and contribute to the neighborhood’s identity and feel.

The National Trust’s next steps are to work closely with Heritage and the Haight Street Art Center on a collaborative visioning process to create a new cultural destination at the site during the coming year. We plan to share our expertise in the management of historic sites and explore innovative programming concepts.

Check out some of the local news coverage of the announcement:

Applications for the Telling the Full History Preservation Fund grant program are due December 15, 2021.

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