A podcast about history

That's not stuck in the past


The previous episodes in this miniseries covered the early history of Canyon and this town’s fight for survival during the height of the hippie era. The conclusion of this trilogy explores this unusual little village’s trajectory since then. How did Canyon manage to transition out of the wild and experimental 1960s, while still holding onto many of the values that drew so many idealists out here? Listen now to find out. Bonus: Stay tuned after the credits to hear a cautionary tale about what not to do while tripping on psychedelics near an electric fence.

“We didn’t get here until 1970 and already every chicken coop and tree house was occupied by a colorful group of people.” -Esperanza Pratt Surls (Photo: Liam O’Donoghue)
“Back then, I think Canyon was sort of a refuge for people who found living in Berkeley too confining.” -John van der Zee
A poster by artist Jean Lorenz celebrates Canyon’s self-reliance.
“In Canyon, you have to take care of yourself and your neighbors. And I like that.” -Dean Pratt, seen standing in a house that he built, leaning on a cane that he carved. (Photo: Liam O’Donoghue)
“I feel closer kinship to my friends in Canyon than my blood relatives” -Ed Johnson, seen here with Karen Pickett. (Photo: Christopher P. Bisiar)
Many of Canyon’s “handmade homes” appear to float among the trees of the surrounding forest. (Photo: Liam O’Donoghue)

WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW. If you want to be surprised, listen to the episode before scrolling down. Also, if you enjoy what you hear, please support East Bay Yesterday: www.patreon.com/eastbayyesterday

The goal of the protest known as the Port Chicago Vigil was to prevent bombs from being shipped through a military base in Contra Costa Country en route to Vietnam. The activists’ headquarters was a house in Canyon. (Photo courtesy of Berkeley Barb)

“Anti-war hippies were impersonating Navy personnel. They painted a truck and put caution flags on it to make it look like a real military vehicle.” (Photo courtesy of Harvey Richards Media Archive)
Jim Bernard ended up fleeing from Canyon to Costa Rica after police stormed his house. Ed Johnson claims that he witnessed an officer planting marijuana which was “discovered” during the raid.

If you enjoy the episode, please support East Bay Yesterday: www.patreon.com/eastbayyesterday

Deep in Canyon, part 3

“A community of choice”
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