Richmond Mayor Tom Butt has been on a quest for many months now trying to figure out which of a group of houses in Point Richmond was home to Owsley “Bear” Stanley's LSD-making lab back in 1966. A problem he keeps running into, though, is that no one quite remembers which house it was, even the people who were there.
Butt posted about his quest back in December on his website, noting that the infamous "King of Acid" was amongst friends in Point Richmond, which across the last century "has always been a quirky place, filled with characters and intrigue artists, heroes, villains, musicians, poets, drunks, druggies, professors, rogues and scoundrels." Among those rogues and scoundrels was also Richmond's mayor at the time, a leftie hippie named David Pierce, and at least until October 1966, LSD was still legal in California.
Grateful Dead biographer Dennis McNally wrote that “Without [Stanley], there simply wouldn’t have been enough acid for the psychedelic scene of the Bay Area in the Sixties to have ignited."
Stanley, along with cohorts Tim Scully, Melissa Cargill and Don Douglas, reportedly made hundreds of thousands of tabs of acid in one Point Richmond basement, and were responsible for the trips of tens of thousands of hippies at the Human Be-In in January 1967, kicking off what would be the Summer of Love.
But now Butt, who found out about the Point Richmond lab from the 2016 biography Bear: The Life and Times of Augustus Owsley Stanley, is determined to put a brass plaque somewhere so that Richmond's place in drug history can be solidified. He told KPIX back in December "I’ve got actually some old home movies. I’ve got slides of the neighborhood, assessor records. I’ve looked at historic maps, historic aerial photos..." and now he tells KQED he's got it narrowed down to three possible houses, one of which is no longer there, and two of which have been heavily remodeled.
If he can figure this out, definitively, he wants to hold a dedication ceremony and "invite all the characters from those days," as he told KPIX.
Sadly, though, Stanley died in a car crash in 2011, so he won't be there to see it.
Below, a video of him from 2009.