It looks prim and proper now, but the debauchery that took place behind the doors of this incredible San Francisco mansion during the 1960s and 1970s is legendary.
In 1968, psychedelic rock band Jefferson Airplane — started by Marty Balin and Paul Kantner and fronted by icon Grace Slick — bought the sprawling pad. Previously, the rockers had lived in several apartments, but with two No. 1 hits (“White Rabbit” and “Somebody to Love”) and lots more money under their belts, they splurged on this palace.
Every band member’s name was on the deed, and they scored it for $70K.
“It was like a culture center for the Haight-Ashbury,” veteran San Francisco music writer Joel Selvin told SFGATE in an incredibly detailed and juice article on the house. “There were some very famous parties.”
Selvin admitted to attending loads of parties here, but memories are cloudy at best. “Nearly all involve a good amount of drugs and many celebrities, groupies and eccentrics passing through the tall glass-paned door,” the article says.
The SFGATE article delves into detail, but in a nutshell: The basement was occupied by a drug dealer and filled with nitrous oxide tanks, where people would all gather to get high. Meanwhile, the third floor was more exclusive, featuring heaping piles of cocaine atop tables. Numerous beds were available for quickies, according to Slick’s memoir, where she admits to sleeping with all the band members but one.
Slick also admits to pulling a gun on David Crosby in the house, which they painted black and gold during their ownership.
When they sold the house in 1986, it was painted white again and, presumably, has a lot more tame situation happening inside.
Built in 1904, the Neoclassical mansion was built by lumber magnate R. A. Vance. The home featured “mahogany finishings shipped from India, a grand staircase, stained-glass windows, eight fireplaces and a master bedroom fresco featuring reclining, seminude women,” according to a lengthy story in the SFGATE.
One early story associated with the home is that Italian opera singer Enrico Caruso was performing in San Francisco, and the morning of the 1906 earthquake, he fled the Palace Hotel to hang with Vance and avoid the damage. He remained safe there while the fire destroyed much of the city, including his hotel.
The house stayed in the Vance family until 1968, when the band took ownership. A 1987 Jefferson Airplane compilation album is named after the house: 2400 Fulton Street.