“The ultimate Hippie Fantasy, a pot-friendly, clothing-optional tree house village at the end of the road on Kauai’s North Shore, started in 1969 by actress Elizabeth Taylor’s brother, and ending in 1977, when State officials burned it to the ground.”

Yes, this is a true story.

If this is your first time hearing about the Taylor Camp, here’s how it goes:

In the spring of 1969, 13 hippies established a small settlement on the island of Kauai, Hawaii, thanks to Howard Taylor (brother of actress Elizabeth Taylor) who bailed them out after being arrested for vagrancy and invited them to set up their tents and live on his land for free.

The place grew and over the course of next 8 years attracted surfers, fugitives, families, hippies and Vietnam War veterans transforming a place from the small campsite into a village, almost completely free from society’s norms.

People lived in tree houses and grew their own food. Clothing was optional.

They “created order without rules and rejected materialism for the healing power of nature.”

© John Wehrheim

After 8 years of living in their own Utopia, in 1977, Kauai county police decided to burn the place down in order to make a public park.

That day, 8 years of Utopian ideals vanished in the hot, glowing gas leaving families hard time to adjust to new circumstances; the place disappeared from geography maps, but it also indelibly stayed locked in memories of its residents.

At its peak, 120 of them…

Including John Wehrheim – a photographer, writer and film maker; author of books and films Taylor Camp and Bhutan (that brought him two Emmy awards) who in the 70s captured the essence of the hippie community of Taylor Camp through the series of 108 exceptional photos and interviews with the campers, their neighbors and the government officials who got rid of them and revealed it all in his Taylor Camp Book almost 4 decades later…

© John Wehrheim

© John Wehrheim

© John Wehrheim

Find out more about the photo series, book and the Taylor Camp Film:

Photos kindly provided by John Wehrheim