Shakedown Street: Excelsior Unveils A 2nd Plaque To Honor Jerry Garcia

Shakedown Street: Excelsior Unveils A 2nd Plaque To Honor Jerry Garcia
The plaque's unveiling. | Photos: Cheryl Guerrero/Hoodline
By Cheryl Guerrero - Published on August 03, 2017.

A bronze sidewalk plaque honoring late musician and Grateful Dead member Jerry Garcia was unveiled August 1st in the Excelsior District, on what would have been Garcia’s 75th birthday.

The unveiling coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love and the 15th annual Jerry Day Concert, which takes place this Sunday. The concert is performed each year at the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater in McLaren Park.  

Garcia was lead guitarist in the Grateful Dead, in addition to being one of the group's primary vocalists and songwriters. The band was known for its eclectic style, improvised live jams and the resulting deadhead culture of its followers.

The band played more than 2,300 live shows between their formation in 1965 and Garcia’s death in 1995.  

Ben Bleiman of the San Francisco Entertainment Commission said Garcia’s influence is felt from the Excelsior to the Haight and beyond.  

“Jerry’s unique sound and his imminently cool demeanor became inextricably bound to the soul of this great city and he remains a part of us still today.”  

The unveiling was attended by District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safai and the musician’s daughter Trixie Garcia, as well as representatives from DPW and the offices of Assemblymen Phil Ting and David Chiu. Tom Murphy, founder of the Jerry Day Concert, was also on hand.  

The plaque, designed by artist Beth Byrne, is located on the corner of Mission Street and Amazon Avenue, just down the street from where the musician spent the first five years of his life.  

Garcia lived in this home at 121 Amazon Avenue until age five.

Safai said the Excelsior District was still in many ways what it had been in Garcia’s youth, home to the city’s working and middle class families.

“His legacy is deep in San Francisco,” Safai said, “and it’s represented in this neighborhood.” 

Supervisor Safai (left) and representatives from Assemblymen Ting and Chiu's offices present commendations to Trixie Garcia (2nd from left) and Tom Murphy (center).

This is the district’s second plaque dedicated to the San Francisco native. The first was installed last October on the corner of Mission and Harrington Streets. 87 Harrington Street was where Garcia and his brother lived with their grandparents after the death of their father when Garcia was just five years old.  

“I’m totally honored,” Trixie Garcia told Hoodline, “and having him memorialized in this neighborhood hopefully will be inspiration for a lot of working-class kids growing up here.”  

The first plaque dedicated last October on the corner of Mission and Harrington Streets.