Haight-Ashbury Switchboard


“During the ‘hippie‘ period 1967–1968 in San Francisco, an individual named Al Rinker started an organization located at 1830 Fell St in the city’s Haight Ashbury district called the Switchboard. Its purpose was to act as a social switchboard for people living there.  In early 1967 the Diggers were promoting a new type of philosophy and life concept in the Haight Ashbury. With media coverage of the district increasing, a local resident Al Rinker visualized the need for a service providing news and information about the Hippie movement. He rented an apartment at 1830 Fell Street in early 1967, adjacent to the Panhandle of Golden Gate Park, to act as both his home and headquarters of his conceptual ‘Switchboard’. Al found willing assistants in George Darling and Danny to assist with his concept of a human switchboard. While he and the volunteers were doing this, the ‘Human Be In‘ took place and the Fillmore Auditorium was gaining national prominence. News coverage of the Haight Ashbury skyrocketed bringing in more people with more work required to keep the Switchboard going. The rapid influx of people flooding the area created an immediate need for some services that Al had not originally considered. One of these was in finding safe lodging (Crash Pads) for the wandering jobless hippies that arrived without any means of support. This program proved so popular that Al’s office (living room) was changed to the ‘We will help you find a place to stay’ room. Al moved his office to a tiny room next to the kitchen. The Switchboard attracted additional volunteers Ron Small and Ken Englander to assist with the many tasks the Switchboard wanted to accomplish. Social networking took a back seat to the more critical services required by the population explosion. In summary, the Switchboard was created, then made useful by events not originally considered and grew to fill those needs as well as those in its original plan. …”
Wikipedia
Remembering The ‘Haight Ashbury Switchboard’

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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