Hippies and houseboats; they seem to go together almost like wine and cheese. At least, they used to, especially in California in the 1960s when a mix of old beatniks and young hippies formed a community of whimsical water homes in the Bay Area…
I found this photostory lurking in the depths of the LIFE archives, titled “Floating-Houses-California” by Michael Rougier. No other information provided. It took me a moment to figure out exactly where Mr. Rougier had taken these images by trying to identify at least one of the quirky floating structures he’d photographed through a Google search of various marinas and harbours around California.
In the end, I found a grainy little photo that matched the most eccentric of the waterfront arks ↑. Its caption gave away the location: “The Madonna, built around an old pile driver, was a Gate 5 landmark until it burned in 1974”.
Gate 5 refers to the houseboat community on the site of a WWII era ship building company in Richardson Bay, Sausalito. After the war, thousands of people flooded into the waterfront area to work in the new shipyards. Housing was scarce, but since they were building ships anyway, the laborers got crafty and began salvaging materials from old boats to create their own make-shift homes. Not soon after, struggling artists and hippies got wind of the alternative lifestyle and liked what they saw.
They settled in during the sixties, some homes could barely float, some were perfectly navigable houseboats that floated freely around the bay, but most all of them were eccentric, fanciful and dreamy places to live.
An old article in the English magazine, The Strand, describes the quaint community:
There is an indescribable charm about the life; one has the pleasures of boating combined with the comforts of home; sea baths are at one’s very threshold; fish are caught and cooked while you wait. …The monotony of the scenery is varied by the swinging of the ark as it turns with the tide. There are neighbors, thirty or forty families of them, within easy reaching distance if one can pull a stroke, for there is always a following of rowboats lazily resting upon the water in the wake of each ark. The butcher, the baker, and others …who supply the needs of daily life each has his little boat which he sends around every morning for his customary order, and the joint for dinner and the ice cream for dessert are delivered as promptly to the ark-dwellers as they are to those who are still in the city.
The parties were endless, and several famous bohemians were part of the scene, including the drummer for the Grateful Dead, Bill Kreutzman who lived there for a while. Noted California photographer Pirkle Jones captured the colorful characters of the Gates.
But of course, if you build paradise, people will come. The waterside lifestyle became more popular, housing prices soared in the Bay Area and unpleasant issues such as waste discharge became a big problem. As the community’s population grew, the services provided by the marinas such as shower facilities and waste removal became overwhelmed.
A law was established by the state to make a regulate development and prepare long-term planning. Houseboat owners were soon given the choice to either bring their homes up to code and berth them on docks where they would be connected to the sewer systems– or to pack their bags. The “houseboat wars” of the 1970s began.
For a decade, it was common viewing on local news channels to see long-haired hippies defending their floating homes against sheriffs raiding homes and trying to play tough with the free-and-easy residents who refused to comply with the program. Meanwhile, just as the hippies had once infringed on the ship labourers’ community, middle class retirees and holiday makers began to make themselves at home in the marinas, with fancy new up-to-code homes complete with hot tubs and cable TV.
But even to this day, the hippies, now with a few more grey hairs than before, are still trying to keep up the fight. The Gates Co-Op represents the last of the 70’s era bohemian lifestyle, a small eclectic collection of houseboats, one called “the pirate ship” and a few built on the old WWII shipbuilding tugs. While protests are still being played out in courtrooms and hearings to this day, new development plans are likely to see these boats disappear within a few years.
While most of the original hippies have left, the bohemian spirit is still alive and well at the Sausalito waterfront. If you’re ever in the area, make sure to check out the Floating Homes Association website to see if you’re lucky enough to be there at the same time as their open homes tour.
Life Photographs by Michael Rougier, find the full story in the archives here.
CELL FROM WHICH A PRISONER ESCAPED
Images 1-9 of 9
The federal prison on Alcatraz Island in the chilly waters of California’s San Francisco Bay housed some of America’s most difficult and dangerous felons during its years of operation from 1934 to 1963. Among those who served time at the maximum-security facility were the notorious gangster Al “Scarface” Capone (1899-1947) and murderer Robert “Birdman of Alcatraz” Stroud (1890-1963). No inmate ever successfully escaped The Rock, as the prison was nicknamed, although more than a dozen known attempts were made over the years. After the prison was shut down due to high operating costs, the island was occupied for almost two years, starting in 1969, by a group of Native-American activists. Today, historic Alcatraz Island, which was also the site of a U.S. military prison from the late 1850s to 1933, is a popular tourist destination.
In 1775, Spanish explorer Juan Manuel de Ayala (1745-97) mapped and named rugged Alcatraz Island, christening it La Isla de los Alcatraces, or Island of the Pelicans, due to its large population of sea birds. Seventy-five years later, in 1850, President Millard Fillmore (1800-74) signed an order reserving the island for military use. During the 1850s, a fortress was constructed on Alcatraz and some 100 cannons were installed around the island to protect San Francisco Bay. Also during this time, Alcatraz became home to the West Coast’s first operational lighthouse.
By the late 1850s, the U.S. Army had begun holding military prisoners at Alcatraz. Isolated from the mainland by the cold, strong waters of San Francisco Bay, the island was deemed an ideal location for a prison. It was assumed no Alcatraz inmate could attempt to escape by swimming and survive.
During its years as a military prison, the inmates at Alcatraz included Confederate sympathizers and citizens accused of treason during the American Civil War (1861-65). Alcatraz also housed a number of “rebellious” American Indians, including 19 Hopis from the Arizona Territory who were sent to the prison in 1895 following land disagreements with the federal government. The inmate population at Alcatraz continued to rise during the Spanish-American War (1898).
During the early 20th century, inmate labor fueled the construction of a new cellhouse (the 600-cell structure still stands today) on Alcatraz, along with a hospital, mess hall and other prison buildings. According to the National Park Service, when this new complex was finished in 1912 it was the world’s largest reinforced concrete building.
In 1933, the Army relinquished Alcatraz to the U.S. Justice Department, which wanted a federal prison that could house a criminal population too difficult or dangerous to be handled by other U.S. penitentiaries. Following construction to make the existing complex at Alcatraz more secure, the maximum-security facility officially opened on July 1, 1934. The first warden, James A. Johnston (1874-1954), hired approximately one guard for every three prisoners. Each prisoner had his own cell.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) viewed Alcatraz as “the prison system’s prison,” a place where the most disruptive inmates could be sent to live under sparse conditions with few privileges in order to learn how to follow rules (at which point, they could be transferred to other federal prisons to complete their sentences). According to the BOP, Alcatraz typically held some 260 to 275 prisoners, which represented less than 1 percent of the entire federal inmate population.
Among those who did time at The Rock was the notorious Prohibition-era gangster Al “Scarface” Capone, who spent four-and-a-half years there during the 1930s. His arrival on the island generated headlines across America. Capone was sent to Alcatraz because his incarceration in Atlanta, Georgia, had allowed him to remain in contact with the outside world and continue to run his criminal operation in Chicago. He was also known to corrupt prison officers. All of that ended when he was sent to Alcatraz. According to the biography “Capone” by John Kobler, Capone once told the warden, “It looks like Alcatraz has got me licked.”
Other famous (or infamous) Alcatraz inmates included George “Machine Gun” Kelly (1895-1954), who spent 17 years there on a kidnapping conviction. Gangster Alvin “Creepy Karpis” Karpowicz (1907-79), listed as “Public Enemy No. 1″ by the FBI in the 1930s, spent over 25 years behind bars at Alcatraz, reportedly more time than any other prisoner. Murderer Robert Stroud, also known as the “Birdman of Alcatraz,” was transferred there after three decades at the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas. Stroud arrived on the island in 1942 and served 17 years there; however, despite his nickname, he was not permitted to keep birds at Alcatraz as he had while locked up at Leavenworth.
Over the years, there were 14 known attempts to escape from Alcatraz, involving 36 inmates. The Federal Bureau of Prisons reports that of these would-be escapees, 23 were captured, six were shot and killed during their attempted getaways, two drowned and five went missing and were presumed drowned.
The most famous escape attempt resulted in a battle, from May 2 to May 4, 1946, in which six prisoners overpowered cellhouse officers and were able to gain access to weapons, but not the keys needed to leave the prison. In the ensuing battle, the prisoners killed two correctional officers and injured 18 others. The U.S. Marines were called in, and the battle ended with the deaths of three of the rogue inmates and the trial of the three others, two of whom received the death penalty for their actions.
The federal penitentiary at Alcatraz was shut down in 1963 because its operating expenses were much higher than those of other federal facilities at the time. (The prison’s island location meant all food and supplies had to be shipped in, at great expense.) Furthermore, the isolated island buildings were beginning to crumble due to exposure to the salty sea air. During nearly three decades of operation, Alcatraz housed a total of 1,576 men.
In 1969, a group of Native Americans led by Mohawk activist Richard Oakes (1942-72) arrived on Alcatraz Island and claimed the land on behalf of “Indians of All Tribes.” The activists hoped to establish a university and a museum on the island. Oakes left Alcatraz following the death there of his stepdaughter in 1970, and the remaining occupiers, whose ranks had become increasingly contentious and divided, were removed by order of President Richard M. Nixon (1913-94) in 1971. The island became part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in 1972 and was opened to the public a year later. Today, some 1 million tourists visit Alcatraz each year.
Its fascination for the public remains though, as millions travel to San Francisco Bay to take in a glimpse of the cells which held the country’s most dangerous criminals such as – Al Capone, George ‘Machine Gun’ Kelly and Alvin ‘Creepy’ Karpis.
And on Thursday, The National Park Service celebrated the 50th anniversary of Alcatraz Island’s closure as a federal penitentiary with an exhibit of newly discovered photos of the prison’s final hours.
In this March 21, 1963 photo taken by Leigh Wiener and provided by the National Park Service, prison guard Jim Albright, (second from left), leads out the last prisoners from Alcatraz federal penitentiary
On that day in 1963, prison guard Jim Albright led the Navy-coat clad prisoners — considered the nation’s most dangerous — to waiting boats as cameras clicked and hundreds of reporters chronicled The Rock’s last hours as a prison.
Albright wasn’t deterred by the ruckus, keeping his eye on his wards and his focus steely.
The ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the closing was attended by former guard Jim Albright, who can be seen in the photographs in a light gray suit and dark tie, walking the shackled prisoners past reporters.
New discovered photos show the last prisoners depart from Alcatraz Island federal prison in San Francisco. The National Park Service on Thursday celebrated the 50th anniversary of Alcatraz Island’s closure with an exhibit of the photos
He had been a guard during two escapes, including the one made famous in the movie ‘Escape from Alcatraz,’ and was keeping an eye open for any funny business involving the prisoners and reporters.
‘What I was worried about was that one of these god-darned fools was going to give the inmates something that they could get out of their cuffs with,’ Albright, now 77, said. ‘These were all the worst bad guys. If you messed up somewhere else you came to Alcatraz.’
Alcatraz started as a fortress and became an Army disciplinary barracks before the Bureau of Prisons took it over in 1934 to house America’s most notorious criminals.
U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy signed an order in 1962 to close the prison due to its expensive upkeep and its prime location in the bay.
A flag flies on a ferry as it approaches Alcatraz Island on the day The National Park Service marked the 50th anniversary of the closure of the notorious Alcatraz federal penitentiary with an exhibit of newly discovered photos
Tourists view an exhibit of photographs documenting the last day of Alcatraz federal penitentiary on today on the island prison
Former Alcatraz Island prison guard Jim Albright looks on while viewing an exhibit of photographs documenting the last day of Alcatraz federal penitentiary today.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2297271/Alcatraz-final-days-revealed-new-photos-released-50th-anniversary-prison-closing.html#ixzz3oUc9SOA6
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COLLAGE-WORLD’S FAIR – #ANA CHRISTY
The World’s Fair was held twice in the New York City borough of Queens, once in 1939/1940 and again in 1964/1965 at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. These are the only World’s Fairs ever to be held over two seasons.
New York was also host to a World’s Fair in 1853, the Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations held in Manhattan at what is now Bryant Park.
This fair was the second largest ever held in the United States, second only to the St. Louis’s Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904. Master planner Robert Moses used the fair as an opportunity to build Flushing Meadows Park, draining swampland and cleaning up the immense ash pile at the site known as Mount Corona. However, due to financial shortfalls, the park envisioned by Moses was not completed until the 1964/1965 fair.
The 1964/1965 World’s Fair was one of the high points of New York City history in the 1960s. It was a time of optimism before the travails of the Vietnam War and protest era. The fair attracted national and international attention and showcased the city that never sleeps and the dawn of the American Space Age.
Some 51 million visitors attended the fair. A generation of New Yorkers were touched by their visits to the fair. Strike up a conversation with New York Baby Boomers — anyone who was a child, teen, or young adult in the mid-1960s — and you’re bound to hear stories of the fair.
Some structures remains and have been repurposed at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, including:
The Queens Museum of Art is housed today in the former New York City pavilion from the 1939/1940 fair. The museum’s attractions include the Panorama, a scale-model of New York City built for the 1964/1965 fair, as well as exhibits and memorabilia of both fairs.
THE HISTORY OF THE DRIVE IN MOVIE THEATRE
“WAY BACK WHEN” COLLAGE #ANA CHRISTY
Advertising Ideas – Snack Bar Rico’s Nachos (Vintage Drive-In Movie Ad) – 1970s
Drive-In Movie Ads : Drive in Intermission 1960’s
By Mary Bellis
Richard Hollingshead was a young sales manager at his dad’s Whiz Auto Products, who had a hankering to invent something that combined his two interests: cars and movies.
Richard Hollingshead’s vision was an open-air movie theater where moviegoers could watch from their own cars. He experimented in his own driveway at 212 Thomas Avenue, Camden, New Jersey. The inventor mounted a 1928 Kodak projector on the hood of his car, projected onto a screen he had nailed to trees in his backyard, and used a radio placed behind the screen for sound.
The inventor subjected his beta drive-in to vigorous testing: for sound quality, for different weather conditions (Richard used a lawn sprinkler to imitate rain) and for figuring out how to park the patrons’ cars. Richard tried lining up the cars in his driveway, which created a problem with line of sight if one car was directly parked behind another car. By spacing cars at various distances and placing blocks and ramps under the front wheels of cars that were further away from the screen, Richard Hollingshead created the perfect parking arrangement for the drive-in movie theater experience.
The first patent for the Drive-In Theater (United States Patent# 1,909,537) was issued on May 16, 1933. With an investment of $30,000, Richard opened the first drive-in on Tuesday June 6, 1933 at a location on Crescent Boulevard, Camden, New Jersey. The price of admission was 25 cents for the car and 25 cents per person.
The design did not include the in-car speaker system we know today. The inventor contacted a company by the name of RCA Victor to provide the sound system, called “Directional Sound.” Three main speakers were mounted next to the screen that provided sound. The sound quality was not good for cars in the rear of the theater or for the surrounding neighbors.
The largest drive-in theater in patron capacity was the All-Weather Drive-In of Copiague, New York. All-Weather had parking space for 2,500 cars, an indoor 1,200 seat viewing area, kid’s playground, a full service restaurant and a shuttle train that took customers from their cars and around the 28-acre theater lot.
The two smallest drive-ins were the Harmony Drive-In of Harmony Pennsylvania and the Highway Drive-In of Bamberg, South Carolina. Both drive-ins could hold no more than 50 cars.
An interesting innovation was the combination drive-in and fly-in theater. On June 3, 1948, Edward Brown, Junior opened the first theater for cars and small planes. Ed Brown’s Drive-In and Fly-In of Asbury Park, New Jersey had the capacity for 500 cars and 25 airplanes. An airfield was placed next to the drive-in and planes would taxi to the last row of the theater. When the movies were over, Brown provided a tow for the planes to be brought back to the airfield.
The drive-in theater movie experience cannot be beat.
all artwork Mary Bellis – (original photo source LOC)
I’ve been thinking about taking a road trip from Michigan to Yellowstone. It would be a long drive, but I think there might be some very interesting things to see along the way. We try to take a break every couple hours during long road trips and we are always looking for add roadside attractions. I think these fit the bill for odd roadside attractions along I-80.
Of these, I think Carhenge is my favorite. It’s not directly off I-80, but I think it might be worth the trip.
It’s incredible to see what time can do to a building when it is no longer cared for.
British photographers Daniel Barter and Daniel Marbaix spent years traveling around New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and other states capturing images of decrepit U.S. buildings.
The photographers would only reveal the state in which each photo was taken for fear that being more specific would draw thieves or vandals to the abandoned sites.
From New York to Connecticut, these pictures show a different side of America.
Taos, New Mexico
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