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.Valley of the Dead: Palo Alto

How to connect to the history of the Grateful Dead without a ticket.Here are the places where history happened.

music in the park san jose
The Stanford Theatre Photograph by Geoffrey Smith II

The Stanford Theatre

221 University Ave.

Originally opened as a movie house, the Stanford Theatre was briefly a live music venue. Bob Weir and Kingfish played there on New Year’s Eve 1974. David Packard turned it back into a theater that shows classic movies.

St. Michael’s Alley

436 University Ave.

This coffee shop was a bohemian hangout in mid-’60s Palo Alto. Jerry Garcia and Dead collaborator Robert Hunter used to hang out here. It’s a Peet’s now. Top of the Tangent Coffee House

El Camino Park

100 El Camino Real

The Grateful Dead played a “Be-In” here on June 24, 1967, not long after the Monterey Pop Festival.

117 University Ave.

Mother McRee’s Uptown Jug Band Champions—which featured Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir and Ron “Pigpen” McKernan—regularly performed at The Top of the Tangent. The bottom floor of this building used to be a bar called Rudy’s, which recently closed.

Pigpen’s Grave

695 Arastradero Road

Alta Mesa Cemetery is the final resting place of the Dead’s founding organist, Ron “Pigpen” McKernan.

Dana Morgan Music

534 Bryant St.

Garcia and Bob Weir both taught music lessons at this downtown music store. Dana Morgan Jr., the son of the store’s owner, served as the original bassist in The Warlocks (The Dead’s original name). Although the band eventually gave Morgan Jr. the boot in favor of Phil Lesh, his membership in the band was vital in those early days, as The Warlocks were able to borrow equipment from the store free of charge. The building is now Duxiana, a luxury bed and mattress store.

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