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Hippies Leave Mark

While touring the San Francisco streets blessed with gorgeous Victorian homes this past week, I learned that these houses had always been painted white, beige and other earth tone colors until the hippies moved in back in the 60s and 70s. Those free spirits were the first to paint houses in riotous colors, possibly while under the influence of a substance or two.

One left!  A Hippie-painted Victorian

Their creative impact remains today, as most of the Victorians are now painted with three or more colors on their facades, with colors that complement each other: Lovely blues and yellows and greens... I don't know for sure, but have a feeling that homeowners can go to a local paint shop in the city and find sample paint chips with complementing colors already chosen.

I wonder how the very first multi-colored Victorian was received by the local neighborhood. The hippies probably got a real kick when they saw the amazed looks on their neighbors' faces as they took in the artistic license.

A tastefully painted Victorian

These homes, which sold for a few thousand dollars during the highpoint of the Haight Ashbury experience, now go for $2 million or more and still require a lot of upkeep. I asked one tour guide where the "regular" folk live who can't afford that kind of money for a home. They rent, he  said, adding that San Francisco has one of the highest percentage of renters in the country.

When it comes to these beautiful homes, look but don't touch is the mantra. The tour guide also said that those same hippies, if they have continued living in their Victorians since their heyday, will call the police if a neighbor plays music too loud.  Well, they are over 30 now, aren't they?

By Teresa K. Flatley


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