San Francisco to honor native son Jerry Garcia 

click to enlarge San Francisco officials are planning to honor the late Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia by installing plaques at his childhood homes at 87 Harrington St., above, as well as at 121 Amazon Ave. in the Excelsior district. - MIKE KOOZMIN/THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Mike Koozmin/the s.f. examiner
  • San Francisco officials are planning to honor the late Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia by installing plaques at his childhood homes at 87 Harrington St., above, as well as at 121 Amazon Ave. in the Excelsior district.

As a tribute to a rock music icon with local roots, San Francisco plans to install commemorative plaques at the childhood homes of the late Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia.

The proposed installation of the plaques comes with the approach of the Grateful Dead's 50th anniversary in 2015 and 20-year anniversary of Garcia's death on Aug. 9, 1995 at the age of 53.

Supervisor John Avalos, who represents the neighborhood of both homes, introduced the resolution Tuesday to have the plaques installed under the Department of Public Works' commemorative plaque program. The Board of Supervisors is expected to approve the resolution in September.

The plaques would be installed at 121 Amazon Ave., where Garcia lived his first five years in the Excelsior district, and at 87 Harrington St., where the musician and his brother, Tiff, moved in with their maternal grandparents, also in the Excelsior district.

Avalos has firsthand knowledge of Garcia's talents, having seen two Grateful Dead shows in 1987. One show was at the Ventura Country Fairgrounds on June 14 and the other was with Bob Dylan in Foxboro, Mass. on July 4.

This isn't the first time San Francisco has honored the influential artist. In 2005, the Recreation and Park Department named the 2,000-seat Greek theater in McLaren Park after Garcia since he grew up not far from the theater. An annual Jerry Day concert is held there. Last year, when there was talk of a theater name change, fans also known as "Deadheads" rallied to defeat the suggestion, showing how Grateful Dead music and Garcia remain an important aspect of many people's lives.

"Commemorating the childhood homes of Jerry Garcia will celebrate Garcia's unique contributions to the social and cultural life of the City and help promote the significant role the Excelsior District played in the formative years of this unique San Franciscan," the resolution says.

Correction: This story was updated Aug. 1 to correct the date of the Grateful Dead show with Bob Dylan in Foxboro, Mass., in 1987.

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