Commune founder Bill Wheeler reflects on hippie life in one of his last interviews
In one of his last interviews, the late "King of Hippies" Bill Wheeler calls the 1973 bulldozing of his Occidental-area ranch by Sonoma County "traumatic."
Wheeler, who started his Wheeler Ranch commune in 1968 after the demise of Lou Gottlieb's Morningstar Ranch, famously battled with the county after neighbors complained about the 320-acre ranch's unpermitted structures and lack of sanitary facilities.
"If I had a swear word I could use, [the experience] would qualify for that swear" said Wheeler in the Sept. 2017 interview when asked about his conflict with the county. "The bulldozing of the ranch itself was pretty traumatic for everybody."
At its peak, 400 people lived at the property
The interview occurred just four months before Wheeler's death at an event celebrating "The Hippies," a multi-media exhibit at the West County Museum in Sebastopol.
"In general it was an amazingly poetic way for people to be" said Wheeler. "Of course the Vietnam War was happening at that point and there were a lot of draft dodgers and it was place for them to be."
You can see the whole interview here: