The Doolan-Larson Building on the northwest corner of Haight and Ashbury Streets is owned and operated by San Francisco Heritage, a nonprofit organization with a mission to preserve and enhance San Francisco’s architectural and cultural identity.
Originally constructed in 1903, the Doolan-Larson Building was raised after the 1906 Earthquake and Fire to add storefronts on the ground floor and in the rear yard. The Colonial Revival building includes six commercial retail spaces fronting Haight Street, while the upper floors contain the residence of the original owner, Richard P. Doolan. The building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, designated San Francisco Landmark No. 253, and recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as its 100th National Treasure. Longtime owner and resident Norman Larson arranged for the donation of the building to San Francisco Heritage upon his death in 2018.
Hippies on the corner of Haight and Ashbury Streets, 1967. The Doolan-Larson Building can be seen in the background (photo courtesy Peter Larsone).
Located at Haight-Ashbury’s “crossroads of the Counterculture,” the Doolan-Larson Building served as set and backdrop for 1967’s Summer of Love. Businesses such as the Psychedelic Shop (1535 Haight) and Mnasidika (1510 Haight, where owner Peggy Caserta invented bell-bottom jeans), catered to legions of young people who descended on the Haight-Ashbury district seeking alternative lifestyles, new cultural movements, and kindred-minded souls.
Peggy Caserta inside Mnasidika, 1967 (photo courtesy Herb Greene).
San Francisco Heritage is collaborating with community partners to develop a comprehensive vision for the Doolan-Larson Building, exploring its potential to interpret and preserve Haight-Ashbury’s many contributions to the United States’ Countercultural legacy and serve as a cultural cornerstone for artistic expression in the city.
Joe Goode Performance Group rehearses for "Time of Change" at the Doolan-Larson Building, April 2021 (SF Heritage photo).
Explorations of using the Doolan-Larson Building as a center for history-focused creative arts began in late 2020. Since then, the upper floors have hosted a series of artist residencies. Musicians, dancers, journalists, photographers, and multi-media artists have performed on the roof, in the “Heritage on Haight” storefront at 1506 Haight Street, and even suspended from the sides of the Doolan-Larson Building. To see the artists who have lived and worked at the building as part of our residency so far, visit the Artists page.