Allan Watts library hidden in Druid Heights in Muir Woods State park: The Mural at 210 Clayton

210 clayton

My daughter, Alessandra (she painted the butterfly), and I painted this mural in 2010 on Clayton at Hayes in San Fransisco. It shows the valley in the Muir Woods State park called Frank Valley and is where the 1950’s, and beyond, community of Druid Heights, with Allan Watts Library, is hidden. Druid Heights was recently in the news when a cabal of interested folk, probably old friends and nabes of Roger Sommers the builder, cajoled the local rags including the Chron to feature a ‘Where Is the Druid Heights Mystery?’ and reporting an effort in The US Congress to declare Druid Heights a National Treasure.

The mural is 39-feet tall and similarly wide – it extends unseen down a narrow side alley.

It features a male Snowy Egret in breeding season, in full and improbable flap – wings up like that usualy indicate take-off and should feature a strenuous forward tilt of the body with legs dangling. Looks graphic like this though. Dahn va soid alley (cockney accented) is a stretched out version (with more probable wings) to allow for the effects of perspective. I used a Sharp copier, and by moving the original photograph got the stretched-out version as artist’s reference for the painting, as seen on on my Facebook header.

The scene is looking down Frank Valley near Mount Tam in Marin County, with Muir Woods off picture at right. Hidden amongst the trees of the scene is the site of a ‘deliberate conurbation’, a 50’s era community of what was called ‘Druid Heights’ from about 1952 to 1973 when one of the founders, Allan Watts died. This is where I lived in 1973-4. I was a room-mate there with Margo St.James, she of the famed SF Hooker’s Balls, that I named, and was an event manager from 1973 to 79, I designed many of the posters. Molly Bode, wife of the eminent artist, Mark Bode, also worked for St.James as Secretary to Her Majesty.

Druid Heights was the compound of homes, shacks and shanties cleverly concealed from the building inspectors, built by an owner, Roger Sommers and his sometine partner, nameless by choice, a high-class joiner, Together they had built a number of interesting buildings, including Allan Watts’ library, housed in a converted water butt, and the Goat House, built in 1967. The Goat House was the inspiration for the Tiny Homes movement.

The Goat House was the original ‘Tiny Home’ – the Ur Tiny Home of the Tiny Home Movement. Designed by Sommers, who had studied with Frank Lloyd Wright, the Goat House was less tham 150 square feet. It had a pot bellied stove and running water piped up from the stream below. It was intended to inspire folk to build their own, The results can be seen in the Hippie Shack built on the side of a Bolinas cliff in ‘Home Work’ by Lloyd Kahn, Shelter. The Goat House was in the garden of the eminent lesbian poet, Elsa Gidlow, who was the producer on KPFA of Allan Watts’ radio talkathons on the subject of a loosely interpreted Budhism. The Goat House was where I first lived at Druid Heights, later I moved up to the Big House and other structures. Boy, those were the days…

For copies of the books ‘Tiny Homes on The Move’, 2013, ‘Tiny Homes’, 2012, ‘Builders’, 2010, or ‘Home Work’, 2008 all by Lloyd Kahn, Shelter; email: ShelterPublications,com and get more than 2000 pictures in color on 360 pages of glossy wit for about thirty bucks a book.

Advertisements