Lee tells the story of Arlo and of the church belonging to Alice and Ray Brock.
Freelance writer and former radio announcer Lee explores the history of Trinity Church in western Massachusetts, saying that “few churches… have had so many distinct and fascinating rebirths.” Indeed, Trinity reflects many of America’s transformations in microcosm: in the Gilded Age, it was a posh branch church of an Episcopalian parish. After it fell on hard times in the mid-20th century, it was deconsecrated and purchased by a “hippie” couple named Alice and Ray Brock in the early 1960s. They converted it into a home and a haven for countercultural youth. It was there, on Thanksgiving 1965, that musician Arlo Guthrie offered to take out the garbage from the meal and threw it down a local hill. His arrest for littering, and subsequent night in jail, resulted in the famous 18-minute song-cum-manifesto called “Alice’s Restaurant” and a 1969 movie by the same name.