September 22, 1965: You Beatniks Get Off My Ave

Countercultural Seattle Remembers

Anyone familiar with Seattle’s University Way Northeast — better known affectionately among longtime locals as “The Ave” — surely knows that it’s long been one of our city’s most lively stretches of urban thoroughfare. Indeed, The Ave has been host to a cavalcade of colorful characters and anecdotes going back several decades. In the autumn of 1965, as the University of Washington welcomed a record baby-boom enrollment of some 26,000 students, The Ave, and the University District in general, became host to a rather amusing manufactured controversy over a certain segment of Ave regulars known alternately as “beatniks,” “fringies,” and — depending on whose opinion one was asking — other terms which were much more derisive.

That manufactured controversy became journalistically official on the date in focus here, when the University District Herald, a weekly neighborhood newspaper catering mostly to the U District business community, published the first in…

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