Latest Update: November 17, 2010

Copyright © 2004-2009 Ross Hannan and Corry Arnold. All Rights Reserved.


The Firehouse, 3767 Sacramento Street, San Francisco, CA

Located north of Haight-Ashbury on Sacramento Street and once the home of number 10 fire truck and number 26 fire engine, the Firehouse was operated as a concert venue for a all too brief time in the early spring of 1966.   The building was owned by George Eby (and his dog Potpan, who is sadly no longer with us) who let the upper floor for rehearsals to the newly formed Sopwith Camel.  After a month of rehearsals and much of the time living in the Firehouse, the Sopwith Camel made their debut performance backing The Charlatans for the Lincoln's Birthday Party event at the Firehouse on February 12, 1966.  Entry was a mere $2 donation and shows were from 9 to whenever.

The Firehouse was notable for showcasing a number of local bands and for featuring some of the very first light shows to be performed in the city. Weekly shows were held each Saturday through to April 2, 1966 when The Firehouse presented The Wildflower supported by Ale Extrom and His Conceptina at “The Wreckers Ball”.  Advertised as “For our parting event, we present ... see this grand old firehouse in its last days before it becomes a parking lot ….”.

The light shows featured Elias Romero and Ray Andersen (who was also the manager of The Matrix at the time).  Although he never went on to work the ballrooms, Romero was a long-time "light artist" with his own distinct approach utilising a unique, all-liquid show. Ray Andersen went on to form the Holy See Light Show and to feature prominently at San Francisco ballrooms, such as the Fillmore. 

Most of the shows were advertised by large format handbills, each containing humorous  notations, such as the March 5 handbill which entices attendees by promising “Sensual Titillations and Mind Diddlers” with the extra added attraction of the “Lately Painted Lady”.



A List of Firehouse Shows


Date   Artists   Notes
12 February 1966   The Amazing Charlatans, Sopwith Camel    Lincoln's Birthday Party
19 February 1966   The Wildflower, Sopwith Camel    
26 February 1966        
05 March 1966   Jesse Fuller One Man Band, The Amazing Charlatans, The Wildflower    
12 March 1966   The Charlatans, Sopwith Camel, Duncans Blue Boy and His Cosmic Yo-Yo   The Alligator Clip
19 March 1966   Big Brother and the Holding Company, A Moving Violation, Movies   Projections by Elias Romero, Assorted Effects by Ray Andersen
26 March 1966   Great Society, The Outfit    
02 April 1966   The Wildflower, Ale Extrom and His Conceptina, Movies   “The Wreckers Ball - see this grand old firehouse in its last days before it becomes a parking lot ….” [Final Show]

The Firehouse, San Francisco, CA


In Search of the Firehouse