How Terrapin Crossroads Came To Be
For years now, our family has talked about creating a home away from home, where we could play and listen to music together, while also finding a way to reach out to our community. We find so much value in the arts and feel that so many outlets have shaped our lives, and given us perspective on the world and all its moving parts. A few years ago, we seriously started researching what it would take to truly embark on this adventure. After considering various options, an array of locations and ever-morphing ideas, we were very lucky to come across the wonderful venue located at 100 Yacht Club Drive. The minute we walked through, we knew the shell had the bones and the promise to build a fantastic musical and culinary home. We are so blessed to be right here in Marin, and so excited to bring so much of what our family has experienced to the communities around us. We hope you enjoy the ride!
The Grateful Dead are known primarily as a San Francisco band, owing to their very short but very important time living in The City, and being the true embodiment and co-creators of “The San Francisco Sound.” But by 1970, the band had crossed the Golden Gate Bridge to Marin County, with San Rafael becoming the hub of all Grateful Dead activity from 1970 to 1995. So to be accurate, the Grateful Dead was essentially a San Rafael band.
San Rafael is literally dotted with important Grateful Dead historical places. In 1970, the band’s management and administrative team moved into a house at 5th and Lincoln, where they would remain until 1995 (the year the Grateful Dead stopped touring) and beyond, with a Grateful Dead and Ice Nine (the band’s song publishing company) presence remaining for another few years. Later in the 1970s, just around the corner on 2nd Street was the house of the New Riders of the Purple Sage’s management team. And, just up the street from the 5th and Lincoln house was the Grateful Dead’s long-time, and unique in the rock world, Grateful Dead Ticket Sales office.
It was in 1970 when our story of the Grateful Dead’s history in San Rafael really begins to merge with Terrapin Crossroads. In 1970, the band played a venue intermittently called Pepperland and the Euphoria Ballroom, which to this day remains under a huge neon sign that reads “Litchfields” on the east side of Highway 101 in Central San Rafael. The July 16, 1970 show at the Euphoria is significant for two reasons: It was the last time the Grateful Dead would share a stage with Janis Joplin, who sat in during Lovelight; and, Bear was sent away for two years after being arrested when he got home after this show (the reason there are no live Grateful Dead tapes in the Dead’s archive for the rest of 1970). Litchfields/ Pepperland/Euphoria Ballroom ties in with Terrapin Crossroads, as it it’s just blocks away (so check it out while you’re here!).
While you’re poking around this area of San Rafael, known as the Canal neighborhood, be sure to check out 20 Front Street, site of the band’s long time (1975-1994) recording studio, tape vault, equipment storage facility, and all- around boys’ clubhouse. This is Club Front, where Shakedown Street, Go To Heaven, Dead Set, Reckoning, In The Dark, Built To Last, Without A Net, One and Two from the Vault, and Dick’s Picks 1 were produced, not to mention loads of solo projects.
San Rafael is tightly connected to the history of the Grateful Dead. Not only were virtually all of the commercial and philanthropic activities of the band tied to San Rafael, several of the band members lived in San Rafael at one time or another, and were active members of the community. With Terrapin Crossroads bringing Phil Lesh back into the forefront of the San Rafael entertainment (and dining!) community, there is a feeling of coming full circle,and now we’re starting a whole new journey that we expect will be a long, fun trip. So buckle up and come check out why San Rafael was so appealing to the Grateful Dead and why it continues to hold great appeal for Phil.