Promise Of Paradise

3:30pm Thursdays
  • Hosted by Sarah Reith, Alice Woelfle, Kate Magruder, Laura Hamburg


Welcome to Promise of Paradise, Back to the Land Oral Histories of Mendocino County.  We are working to document an experiment that began roughly fifty years ago all across the country. In the 60’s and 70’s, young people began to “tune in, turn on, and drop out.” Anything was possible. College-educated hippies began to stream away from the cities and into the country, to put a modern twist on ancient homesteading skills. We’ll hear about the sense of exhilaration, the resilience, and how these now aging hippies recall their rush towards freedom and responsibility.

We’ll also hear about how the lack of boundaries led to tragedy and disillusionment; the racial insensitivity; and how the back to the land experiment altered Mendocino County.

Who were these people, why did they come, and what mark did they make on this county’s history?

Promise of Paradise is supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, California Humanities, the Arts Council of Mendocino County, the Judy Pruden Historical Preservation Fund of the Community Foundation of Mendocino County, the Mendocino Institute, StoryCenter, and Grace Hudson Museum.


Episode 3: David Raitt

Dec 3, 2018
Contributed by David Raitt

November 29, 2018 -- In our third episode of Promise of Paradise back to the land oral histories of Mendocino County, we'll hear from David Raitt, of Udder Truth Dairy and Lumber Company, the Yurt People, and, of course, Hansen and Raitt. He shares stories of building yurts, demolishing an old high school in Ukiah, and the math teacher who inspired him. We'll also hear some of the highlights from his performing career, which include singing "Who is Your Guru" for a crowd of drunk realtors and standing on his head in front of a crowd from sheer delight.

Episode 2: Ross Walker and Kate Magruder

Nov 25, 2018

In our second episode of Promise of Paradise, which aired on Thanksgiving Day, 2018, we'll hear from Ross Walker and Kate Magruder, who came to Greenfield Ranch outside Ukiah in the early 1970s. Their tales of building their homes, what they found, and what's changed are simultaneously unique and of a piece with what Kate calls the "experiment" of moving back to the land in an era when anything seemed possible.

Episode 1: Prue Wilcox and Anne Shirako

Nov 25, 2018
Yoshiki Sakane

In our first episode of Promise of Paradise, which aired on November 15, 2018, we'll hear interviews with two women who came to the region in the back to the land era. 

Prue Wilcox' stories of being a newcomer in Elk are truly iconic, from her memories of a wedding and a birth to her first encounters with hippie culture and the freewheeling attitudes about pot.