Neal Cassady

Neal Cassady was a leading figure in the Beat Generation during the late 1940s and through the 1950s. Although he wasn’t one of its most famous writers, he was the leading muse for them. Cassady was the inspriation behind Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, and Allen Ginsberg immortalized him in his famous poem “Howl”: “N.C., secret hero of these poems”. Cassady made strides in literature that are often overcast by the works of his fellow Beatniks, but for those same writers his work was greatly inspiring. He would write lengthy stream of conscious letters to his loved ones that Kerouac believed were the best American writing he’d ever read. His writing was impulsive and lacked discipline, but was presumably therapeutic as well. He once confessed to Kerouac, “there is something there that wants to come out; something of my own that must be said. Yet, perhaps, words are not the way for me.” (Staton, 2012)

Cassady was born on February 8, 1926 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The infamous muse grew up in Denver on skid row; his mother died when he was a kid and his father was an alcoholic. He attended Denver East High School, but didn’t graduate or spend much time there–his spent most of it stealing cars and charming strangers. After he died in 1968, though, he did receive an honorary diploma.Through the writing of his fellow Beat Gens, Cassady became known as a crazy, charismatic womanizer who belonged on the road. However, in recent years, his seond wife Carolyn Cassady has debunked a few of these myths, stating that Neal was in fact a family man who found joy in ordinary life as well as the adventures the Beat Generation offered him.

Written by Jonina Diele and Christian Powell


Neal Cassady attends East High School

Neal Cassady ran all over the streets of Denver as he grew up in a small home in a rugged area of Denver. He went to East High School although he never officially attained a degree. He was still seen as an important figure in the school as they honored him after his death by giving him an honorary degree. He eventually became a major figure in the beat movement, and was a major figure in many stories, as he was mentioned with the locations in the stories.Characters in stories were also based on his free and wild spirit which is why he was such an influential and important character. Written by: Christian Powell



Neal Cassady and My Brother’s Bar

My Brother's Bar, or "Brother's", as locals call it, is very well known for having been a Beat Gen hangout. Neal Cassady and company frequented here, although it was known as Paul's place in his day. It still stands as one of Denver's pieces of the Beat Generation world. Nestled modestly in the restroom hallway, you can still find the letter Cassady penned to a friend asking him to  take care of a tab the Beat Gen muse still had open at the bar. The letter reads, "I believe I owe  [My Brother's] about 3 or 4 dollars. If you happen to be in that vicinity, please drop in and pay it, will you?" Written by Jonina Diele

Related Locations