THE GREATEST HIPPIE STORY NEVER TOLD. “Olompali: A Hippie Odyssey”

Published on December 30, 2019

“Olompali: A Hippie Odyssey” is the story an ordinary man caught up in extraordinary times, whose life is forever changed by the social upheaval going on around him.

Embracing the spirit of the counterculture revolution during the Summer of Love, wealthy Marin County businessman Don McCoy transforms his life from conservative entrepreneur to beneficent hippie dropout, using his family inheritance to lease Rancho Olompali, a 700-acre estate north of San Francisco, to start a commune. He invites a couple dozen like-minded friends and families to join him in his dream of creating a community where they can live without monetary concerns in an atmosphere of love, peace and freedom. The group becomes known throughout the Bay Area as the Chosen Family – Marin’s archetypal entry into the legend and lore of the Sixties hippie commune movement.

Dubbed by the press as “The White House of Hippiedom,” Olompali quickly becomes a hip mecca, welcoming local counterculture luminaries like Janis Joplin, acid-guru Timothy Leary, and the Grateful Dead, who lived at Olompali for a brief stint in 1966. But the family’s quest for nirvana is short-lived, and their blissful first year is followed by unforeseeable tragedies that turn McCoy’s utopian dreams to ashes.

Narrated by Peter Coyote and featuring classic songs from the San Francisco psychedelic era, “Olompali: A Hippie Odyssey” explores the idealism of the hippie movement and its enduring message of peace and love.

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Kids in the Kitchen at Olompali
Children of the Chosen Family commune play in the kitchen of Olompali’s mansion in 1968. Photo by Peter Risley.
Jamming at Olompali
Jack Cassidy of the Jefferson Airplane and Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead jam at Olompali in the Summer of 1968. Photo by Peter Risely.

Back cover of Aoxomoxoa
The children of the CHosen Family commune pose with the Grateful Dead at Olopali. Album photo by Thomas Weir.

Olompali Drug Bust 1969
Don McCoy tries to keep everyone calm during a nightime drug bust of the Chosen Family commune at Olompali in early-1969. Photo courtest of the Marin Independent Journal.
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