Family Dog at the Great Highway
This place started out life as a roller skating rink. Just down the hill from the Cliff House, and Sutro's, just before you get to Playland. It was an all wood building, and the sound here was real good. I lived very close to here on 42nd Ave, so I did spend a fair amount of time at this fine establishment. Many of the secrets of the Universe were revealed to me at Chet Helm's places...
The dear Dog was located right across from Ocean Beach and like buddy plant said - just down from the Cliff House and Sutro's. I was still missing the old ballrooms, the Filmore and the Avalon so the building wasn't what I was used to. The size was right thou, and I will have to look in the concert lists to see if I heard the Dead there but I do remember a really nice night when Country Joe & the Fish played. No one hung around the Filmore, the Avalon, Winterland or the Carousel after a concert but a lot of people headed for the beach and the big parking lot up at Sutro's with the great view of the ocean crashing on the rocks and ruins below after a concert at the Family Dog. Meanwhile, in the park.............
& don't forget....the parking lot overlooking where the Sutro Baths were was still dirt............Meanwhile, in the park...phase 2
Hey Gypsy Cowgirl & Buddy,
I think the Family Dog on the Great Highway was the building next door to the skating rink. Or maybe in better days (haha) part of it. I remember being down there one evening early and opened the door to the skating rink and there were hundreds of kids skating to James Brown. The skating rink was cookin'. The place didn't even look like it was open. I totally expected the door to be locked. You should have heard those skates hitting the ground to Brother James. Back to the park.............
I remember only 1 building @ the Great Hwy. It's on the corner now/ empty lot....did you mean across the street? I also thought the skating rink was up above closer to above the Sutro Baths (but I could be wrong-as I was under 10 when skating)........Back to the park Phase 3
In the park? phase 4?
...from a nonprofit site dedicated to preserving and sharing the history of western San Francisco neighborhoods.
One person stated:
If I recall, Skateland on Great Highway (next to Bull Pupp restaurant) turned into a slot car racing venue and then became the Family Dog.
And here's another's opinion:
Chet Helms moved his Family Dog concerts from the Avalon Ballroom to the former slot car racing track in summer 1969, where he operated for only one year as "Family Dog at the Beach" and "Family Dog on the Great Highway."
And even more here (it's kinda quaint):
On summer nights, fog hung in writhing sheets around the old building and the muffled roar of the breakers could be heard through the front door, just on the other side of the seawall. Venturing onto the beach for a night time smoke was, in the parlance of the time, really trippy.
And just one more:
No wonder Chet Helms briefly advertised the site as "Magic at the Edge of the Western World."
So Docks, the skaters and the James Brown music? Could these have been ghosts of Playland's Past? From a time in our past? Were they ever there at all? LOL
now googling for James Brown @ Family Dog......ahhhhh the summer of 1969.....good ole Panama Red......hehe.......BTW-FOG is still hanging.....place was very magical, that's for sure
onto Phase 5 yet? thanks 4 the info Buddy....or are u over in the park again?
I can't believe I'm so wrong on this one. I can see the Family Dog being a slot car place but it seems too small to have been the skating rink. Then I got to wonder what were all those kids doing skating after 8pm? I know the concerts were from like 9pm-2am. Jamaican. In the park. I guess you just had to be there (with Docks). Smokin'