A Homestead Headlines Article by Chuck Oldenburg
Now and then, strangers knock on Maverick’s door at 370 Montford. They want to see where Jack Kerouac used to live. The house is on Homestead’s open space land which Maverick maintains. He has lived there since 1966.
A 1916 map shows that Anton S. Perry owned the 1.07 acre lot at 370 Montford. He lived in the existing house and milked cows twice a day on the Dias ranch across the valley. In the 1930’s, Tony also worked part-time maintaining Three Groves and Stolte Grove just as Maverick does today. Tony built a shack up the hill near the back of the lot close to Pixie Trail.
In 1956, the old Perry house was occupied by Locke McCorckle, a poet/carpenter. He and his family lived frugally, considering themselves refugees from American consumerism. Locke’s brother-in-law, also a carpenter, converted the shack into a habitable cabin. Locke invited Gary Snyder to stay there. Gary named it Marin-An.
Gary and Locke were beat generation poets and writers who hung out with Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady, Kenneth Rexroth, William Burroughs, Peter Orlovsky, Michael McClure, Philip Whalen, Gregory Corso and Jack Kerouac.
In the spring of 1956, Gary invited Jack to join him at Marin-An for rent-free peaceful living. They both took Buddhism seriously. Jack Kerouac describes the site and his experiences there in “The Dharma Bums.” Poetry readings, meditations, serious discussions and co-educational picnics and parties, always with lots of wine and sometimes with nudity. Gary left on May 15, 1956 for a monastery in Japan. His going away party, which lasted three days, was pretty wild. It is described in “The Dharma Bums.”
Jack wrote “The Scripture of the Golden Eternity ” before he left Marin-An on June 18, 1956 to take a fire lookout job in northwest Washington. In December 1956, “On the Road” was accepted for publication, almost six years after he wrote it. In 1957 he wrote “The Dharma Bums.”
The cabin was condemned in 1961 as a fire hazard and demolished. Maverick rehabilitated the house to accommodate his family. In the early 1970’s, the property became part of Homestead’s open space. Some consider it a sacred site with ghosts of the beat generation and Jack Kerouac.
If you have comments or questions about this article or other topics
pertaining to the history of Homestead Valley,
please feel free to e-mail Chuck Oldenburg.