Grateful Dead House – Oakland

The Grateful Dead once partied at 6024 Ascot Drive in the Piedmont Pines section of Oakland.

6024 Ascot Drive
Oakland Tribune May9, 1948

In 1948 house at 6024 Ascot Drive was advertised as an ‘ A Little Bit of Mexico” in beautiful Piedmont Hills ( Piedmont Pines), nestled in a glorious 2 1/4 acres: balconies overlooking a beautiful swimming pool. All the tiles in the bathrooms came from the Muresque Tile Co. of Oakland, one of the premier West Coast tilemakers in the 1920s and ’30s. Property highlights include a log cabin family room.

In 1968 Michael Leibert, his wife Alexa, and their 5 dogs lived at 6024 Ascot. Leibert was the founder of the Berkeley Repertory Theater.

The house had a routine existence until sometime during the late sixties, the house was rented by Owsley “Bear” Stanley (1935-2011) was an American audio engineer and chemist.

Stanley was the first known private individual to manufacture mass quantities of LSD. By his own account, between 1965 and 1967, Stanley produced no less than 500 grams of LSD, amounting to a little more than five million doses.

Owsley was a crucial figure in the San Francisco Bay Area hippie movement during the 1960s and played a pivotal role in the decade’s counterculture. Under the professional name Bear, he was the soundman for the rock band the Grateful Dead, whom he met when Ken Kesey invited them to an Acid Test party. As their sound engineer, Stanley frequently recorded live tapes behind his mixing board and developed their Wall of Sound sound system, one of the largest mobile public address systems ever constructed.

Bear: The Life and Times of Augustus Owsley Stanley III
By Robert Greenfield
Google Books
Bear: The Life and Times of Augustus Owsley Stanley III
By Robert Greenfield
Oakland Tribune Jul 16, 1970

In 1972 the house was advertised an authentic Spanish “Villa.” Back on the market.

Oakland Tribune May 21, 1972
SF Examiner 1998

The house was sold in 2012 for 1.2 million dollars.   A September 2012 article, “Rest Your Head Where the Grateful Dead Once Partied,” was posted on the  Curbed San Francisco website.

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7 thoughts on “Grateful Dead House – Oakland

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      1. Grrrr. I signed in but it says I’m anonymous. Wikipedia has the whole story. Bear had started putting lightening bolts on the sound equipment but wanted a more easily recognizable logo. Bob graduated from the California Institute of the Arts and was a painter and graphic designer. He painted the cover of the Live Dead album too.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. Brilliant! I will forever wonder whether it was Melissa Cargill who was the brains behind the Owsley lab, yet he got the credit. Oh, well, he was a good audio engineer, for sure. It was written somewhere that Tom Butt, sitting mayor of Richmond, became excited when he learned that Owsley and Melissa had one of their temporary labs in the basement of a building in Richmond. But no one could remember the exact location, so their landmarks board could install a brass plaque. Can anyone help the mayor with this?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. We bought the place 8 years ago and at times guests are still searching for Owsley’s stash when told stories about the place. Luckily the various owners have kept records over the years that were placed in a notebook and given to us during closing. I’ve never been able to find any photos of the original kitchen, which was renovated circa 1999/2000 (the date on the appliances) with a very odd Japanese motif (in a Spanish hacienda!?). I would love to see them if any turned up. And, no, the place doesn’t seem haunted and nobody has had any visions of Owsley or Jerry wandering through the log cabin as of yet. Perhaps at some point.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Our friends live off Longwalk, and we have passed your place many, many times without knowing of this glorious history. When these friends celebrated their wedding there back in 1978, the only guest wearing a suit turned out to be the blues guitarist Nick Gravenites, who had attended University of Chicago with the bridegroom.

      The talk turned to Owsley acid, of which I had gotten a few snootfuls during my youth in Santa Monica, prior to enrolling in the College of Engineering at U.C. Berkeley.

      “I knew Owsley. He was no saint,” Gravenites announced.

      But surely Melissa Cargill should be on the short list for sainthood.

      Liked by 1 person

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