Last week, the National Trust For Historic Preservation officially declared the corner of Haight Street and Ashbury Street in San Francisco a “national treasure.” As the Trust explained in their announcement, “San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood contains an awe-inspiring amount of impeccable Victorian homes, but it’s best known for its ties to the counterculture revolution of the 1960s.”
While the physical street corner has remained a go-to attraction for tourists more than half a century after its brief period of true cultural prominence, the new designation aims to preserve one of the neighborhoods main landmarks: the Doolan-Larson building, former home to Mnasidika, the area’s first hippie clothing boutique. Run by Peggy Caserta, a close friend and eventual lover of Janis Joplin, Mnasidika was an important site in the neighborhood during its peak. Caserta is credited with starting the trend of bell bottom jeans at Mnasidika, eventually approaching Levi’s about producing them on a more widespread scale. The store was also the site of a notable Grateful Dead photo shoot, and is said to be where Jimi Hendrix picked up his first pair of bell bottoms.
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