by Will Kohler
The National Park Service is seeking nominations of historical LGBT sites and landmarks to be added to the National Register of Historic Places and for consideration to be designated as a National Historic Landmarks.
“We are looking to preserve and protect sites associated with LGBTQ history,” said Alexandra M. Lord, Ph.D., branch chief of the National Historic Landmarks Program.
To date ONLY THREE sites, all on the East Coast, which includes the Stonewall Inn, the Washington, D.C. home of the late gay rights activist Frank Kameny and the Cherry Grove Community House and Theater on Fire IslandIn have recieved federal recognition specifically due to their ties to LGBT history.
One minor problem concerning LGBT historic sites is the fact that many were situated in neighborhoods that have since been gentrified. For federal landmark purposes or listing on the register, a structure must still exist and many have been torn down or altered in such a way that their historical integrity no longer is intact.
The next LGBT historic site designation very likely will be the Henry Gerber House in Chicago. Given city landmark status in 2001, the residence is where Gerber lived in the early 1920s when he formed the Society for Human Rights, the first American gay civil rights organization, according to its listing on the Chicago Landmarks website.
The late great LGBTactivist Supervisor Harvey Milk’s old camera shop and campaign headquarters at 575 Castro Street, in San Francisco is also a property that could receive federal recognition. Currently the Human Rights Campaign owns the property.
For information about the California State Historic Preservation Office, which the park service has asked to assist with identifying LGBT sites to nominate, visit http://ohp.parks.ca.gov/
NOTE: The National Park Service is planning to hold a LGBT-focused webinar later this month. For more information, visit http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/