You've probably never heard of the Northern California enclave Druid Heights. But you may have heard of some of its past inhabitants: Eastern philosopher Alan Watts, Beat poet Gary Snyder and pioneering lesbian writer Elsa Gidlow.
The Marin IJ ran a fascinating piece about the cluster of 50s era buildings this week. The unusual outpost - whose exact location is guarded - is getting a flurry of attention that could lead to it receiving a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Heights was and is one of those rare places that is known but not known. It was the site of hundreds of amazing parties over the last fifty years and yet remained tucked beneath some freaky beatnik cone of silence, its muddy dirt road still unmarked on many maps. I became, as they say, fascinated, and began to dip into the history of this extraordinary place, whose highs and lows could fill a multi-volume tragi-comic saga, a countercultural Peyton Place.
Druid Heights became a part of National Park Service land in the early 1970's. It is getting an unusual turn in the public eye for a number of reasons. This summer the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy offered a rare tour of the area. And in March, the National Park Service received the draft version of a report required for the site to be put on the National Register.
Paul Scolari is a historian for the National Park Service at Golden Gate National Recreation Area. He says the report suggests it has just that significance.