Perry hunt

Here’s a message from Bob Linke who’s kindly been digging around looking for the exact location of Kesey’s old haunts… Thanks Bob.

I recently reread The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and I also wanted to know where Perry Lane was. I couldn’t find it online so today I went to the Palo Alto City Library. I met the reference librarian and asked him where Perry Lane was. I said “was” since in the book it stated that a developer bought the place. The librarian turned out to be Library’s Historian.

He stated that Perry Lane is still there but it isn’t really in Palo Alto. I asked him to show me on a map and he did. Perry Lane is near the Stanford Golf Course. I provided a map attached to this email. However, the map indicated the name as Perry Ave. He said Lane… Avenue…. whatever… this is the place where Ken Kesey stayed. He said that it belongs to an unincorporated part of Menlo Park. Up to around the late 1980’s to early 1990s, it was still a very cheap place to live. The reason was that much of the land was parcelled into very small lots which was barely on the legal side as sufficient for a house. However, he stated that now it is gentryfied and isn’t that cheap anymore.

Sooooo…. I got in my car and drove the 10 minutes from the library to Perry Ave. It was actually a little hard to find as Oak/Vine is not well labelled. However, I finally got the right place and drove down the short road. It’s mainly newer houses but I did see what looked like two old wooden one room cottage houses that looked from the Kesey period. It was raining today so I didn’t take any pictures. Maybe in a week or so I will.

Welcome to the Perry Lane Page

Ahhh, Perry Lane, wither thee now.

Kesey came to Stanford University in 1958 after winning a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship. He and Faye, his wife, found a house on Perry Lane, the bohemian sector of Palo Alto that was home to some of the area’s literary, intellectual and artistic set.

It was here that Kesey first befriended some of the early Pranksters, began writing a novel about the North Beach Beat scene in nearby San Francisco, and smoked his first joint. The parties at Perry Lane — fueled by Kesey’s LSD-laced venison chilli and a variety of other mind-altering substances — were the original Acid Tests in all but name, and the adventurous, inquisitive nature of the people involved set the tone for what was to follow …..

plparty

Did you hang out at Perry Lane, wrestle with Kesey on the mat (and with existentialism around the kitchen table), or complain about the noise at one of the weekend-long parties? If so, send your stories, complaints and/or pictures to us here to let others share in your youthful high jinx. If you missed the party, click on a link to the left to read about what really happened.

I got a chance to visit Perry Lane over xmas and it still holds a certain magic. Kesey’s cabin, and some of the others are long gone, but I took a photo of one of the original cabin that is still standing.

Hey, Kesey allowed me to take some scans of some photos from his personal collection. Here’s one from the old Perry Lane days. Thanks Kesey.

Just added a couple more photos from Kesey’s personal archives from the Perry Lane days. One shows him writing at his desk, the other of him reading a manuscript, maybe an early draft of Sometimes a Great Notion. These photos are both courtesy of Kesey himself. Hey, Bob Linke has been searching for the exact location of Perry Lane. Check out his message here. He also sent us a 1998 picture of Kesey’s old cabin at La Honda. Thanks Bob.