Menlo Park’s musical lore – Jerry, the Dead, Vince and more

by Linda Hubbard on February 7, 2010

In a touch of irony, while the InMenlo team was talking jazz with KCSM’s Alisa Clancy yesterday, two different blog posts appeared about music related events and lore that happened in 94025.

There’s a terrific recap  about the Grateful Dead – including its various offshots – and Menlo Park on the Lost Live Dead blog. In showing how connected the Dead was to Menlo Park, even though they considered themselves a Palo Alto band, the writer, Corry Arnold, takes the reader through a litany of long gone Menlo establishments and places. Magoo’s Pizza Parlor, the Underground, Guitars Unlimited. For anyone who lived in the area in the 60s – or wish they did – it’s a really fun read.

Personal note: I’ve long wondered where Ken Kesey’s house was on Perry Lane but can’t figure out how Perry Lane (or Avenue) could have extended to where the Oak Creek Apartments now are, as one of Arnold’s sources thought (he and I have been emailing back and forth on the subject). There’s long been a row of ranch houses – built in the early ’50s – that run along the San Francisquito Creek side of Oak Ave. Then there’s the issue of where the street would have crossed the creek itself. Perry Lane now dead ends on its eastern end at the Oak Knoll School tennis courts. It could have extended at one time to Oak Avenue, I guess; finding out when the tennis courts were built could solve that part of the puzzle. Here’s the Google map so that you can see the area in question – open to hearing any other recollections.

Meanwhile, another blog, Saber Point, featured a memorial post to jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi, who died 34 years ago at the Red Cottage Inn in Menlo Park. It’s also an interesting read. Evidently Guaraldi was playing a gig at Butterfield’s which the post says was adjacent to the Red Cottage Inn, which still exists.

Personal note: Growing up in Menlo, I remember the Red Cottage restaurant very well. It was a bit of a special occasion place, at least for my household. The last restaurant housed in the same place was Gaylord’s, now boarded up and awaiting redevelopment. Does anyone remember Butterfield’s and where it was?



James Lathe March 28, 2010 at 7:12 pm

This is a comment about Perry Lane (avenue). When my dad bought the house at 1925 Oak avenue in 1957, there were still several open lots at the Sand Hill end of Oak. (my friends and I used to trap and kill gophers in the lot using long barbecue forks, brutal but effective). To my memory, there were no footers (bridge supports) other than under Sand Hill where a crossing might have existed. I am not certain where the street would have ended since there was nothing on that side of Sand Hill at the time except open land.
There was no street, bridge or other over water structure crossing the creek in between Sand Hill and the El Camino. The area where the Oak Creek apartments now sit was empty fields. I spent much of my childhood catching toads, lizards, and various non poisonous snakes in the fields and creek. During certain seasons quail were plentiful in the underbrush near the creek. Hawks hunted small game in the fields all day, then at dusk or soon after Owls took over.

Robert Gunderson May 21, 2010 at 9:24 pm

There is an area on the west side of Alameda and Foothill Expressway on Alpine Road. It borders the Stanford Golfcourse. There used to be a bunch of small cottages there. It is near what is now called Stowe Lane. We were aware of the scene, and cruised back there on a few occasions, because we had heard that Keasey and others lived there. That is where there was a Perry Lane. They were not streets, they were just dirt drives with small signs on wooden posts.

Robert Gunderson May 21, 2010 at 11:44 pm

I used to go to see Vince Guaraldi play at Butterfield’s which was at the corner of Buckthorne Way and El Camino in Menlo Park. The address was 1706, right next door to the Red Cottage.

Cameron Miller November 28, 2019 at 6:36 am

Butter fields was the old Red Cottage restaurant. They had live music every weekend. I happened to be at Vince Garaldi show that night. He played his first set then went to his room at in Red Cottage in for his break and never came back. Waited about an hour for the second set but finally got impatient and left. Read in the chron the next day that he had a heart attack and died during the break. He put on a really great show. Saw him several times at butterfields which was a good place for a lounge style show.

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