309 W. 6th Street in Pensacola, Fla. is one of the longest occupied punk houses in the country. The house was home base for the alternative/punk/DIY scene in Pensacola and housed members of This Bike Is A Pipebomb, BMX Bandits, and probably thirty to fifty short-lived punk bands. It was right down the street from the End of the Line Cafe and some train tracks where traveling kids would often hop off.
Recently, the house became a sort-of “Punk in Pensacola” museum that will house art shows, punk shows, and a recording studio. The book is compiled of thirteen interviews with former residents of 309 by University of Florida students. Some of the interviews are with the old-timers who were there during its heyday and some who were putting up with the house in its later incarnations. The house has always been falling apart and never had any kind of climate control, but it was extremely cheap. It got even cheaper when more people moved in and turned closets into rooms.
The former residents talk about the good times, like occasionally running a restaurant out of the living room with cheap vegan food (a hard-to-find commodity in the early ’00s). And the bad times that usually involve somebody’s terrible dog, traveling kids, and the previously mentioned lack of climate control. Some of the residents have fond memories while a few others have some bitterness with the house and their former housemates. Like most punkhouses, it seems like with different generations living there it was either a tight-knit community space or a sloppy trash house.
The book is a quick little read you will get something out of, especially if you’ve visited this spot. I have not—but have been to many houses very similar to it—and it brought back some fond and not-so-fond memories. There seems to be some discourse on why it was necessary to turn this house into a museum. It probably wasn’t necessary but if someone has the passion, the time, and the funds, any of the former dilapidated dwellings we lived in could and should be archived. –Rick V. (upress.ufl.edu)