2006-02-lunch-at-ralphsThe Hip Santa Cruz History Project (HipSCHP)

Launched in 2002

HipSCHP is group devoted to to documenting the history of Hip Santa Cruz, ca 1964-1972 or so. This site is a companion to the physical meetings, archival collections, and individual efforts that have been underway for over a decade.

There’s little argument that the 1960s was a rarefied time, what with the Vietnam War, Free Speech Movement, and general political unrest which ultimately paved the way for the Feminist Movement and a burgeoning ecological and civil rights awareness.

But in broad summation, what has come to be known as “the 60s” is perhaps best remembered as a culture clash in which “hippies” challenged everything “the establishment” had come to stand for. This challenge was joyously predominant on the West Coast, probably nowhere more so than in San Francisco, Santa Cruz and Big Sur.

However, “the 60s” is itself a bit of a misnomer. More than a time, it was an experience; one that wasn’t neatly contained between the parameters of two decades. In fact, the events that conspired to make that period memorable, at least in Santa Cruz, occurred during a brief few years from about 1964 to 1972.

Before 1964, women in this town were still wearing Jackie Kennedy pillbox hats and listening to Trini Lopez. And after 1972, we had moved from tie dye to polyester; from Jimi Hendrix to John Denver. But during that 8 year stint, a small community thrived in Santa Cruz. Most of us knew one another; VW buses were still a good thing, and the ignominious moniker of “Drug Capitol of the World” was perceived by many of us as the height of flattery.

Many bizarre things, poignant as well as hilarious, took place during that condensed time. There are stories, people, and a period of time we thought we’d never forget. And the reason we put together this website is to make sure that we don’t. Some of us are scattered all over the globe, some of us have returned to Santa Cruz. Some never left. And some have passed on.

We’d like to spread this net — on the net — far and wide. Send us your stories, remind us, all the readers, of who you are and what your experiences were in the Santa Cruz 60s. This should be an easy task, now that we’re all of the age where long term recall is more accessible than short term. Let your memory be jogged awake by some of the observations of old (probably now very old) friends on these pages.

Common questions we seek to answer regarding this time in Santa Cruz:

  • Was SC a world capital of hip in the 1960s? If so, why?
  • Did the hip bubble burst in 1972? If so, why?
  • Is the story of SC in the 1960s important? If so, why?
  • What aspects of today’s culture derive from the 1960s?