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See photos of homegrown San Francisco hippies, 1966-1967

Summer of Love lovefest continues

Spring is in the air but much of San Francisco is already looking ahead to the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love.

With that in mind, the public domain photo blog Abbakus Place (which features a variety of fascinating archival photos of the city in days past) unearthed some long-lost images of the young and hip in San Francisco from 1966 through 1967.

Though not nearly as potent as the images by rock-and-roll photographer Jim Marshall still on display at City Hall, these anonymous, presumably amateur images capture the burgeoning SF counterculture from a more everyday perspective.

Anywhere between 50,000 and 100,000 young people came to San Francisco in 1967 to be part of the hippie scene.

As historian John Anthony Moretta put it in his book The Hippies, it was:

A spectacle, a performance, a saga, a tragedy, and a Saturnalia as tens of thousands of tourists, hippie wannabes, and genuine seekers descended upon the [Haight-Ashbury] to consume the hippie identity in some form or another, which they had read about in press or seen on television.

But Moretta also notes that many of the 1967 pilgrims were imitators, considered a nuisance by the homegrown hippies or those who had arrived earlier, some seen in these 1966 photos.

Though the movement brought its share of problems to the city—a local doctor founded the famous Haight Street Free Clinic to treat the rampant health issues among impoverished hippies—history now remembers it kindly as the moment San Francisco transitioned from a working-class shore town into a mecca of free thought.