To Celebrate Pride Month, the Bay Area Landscape Architecture Resources Community is featuring the Citywide Historic Context Statement for LGBTQ History in San Francisco by Donna J. Graves & Shayne E. Watson. This detailed guide highlights a variety of influential people, places, and movements and offers suggestions for preserving LBGTQ historic places. This resource can also be downloaded here for free!
This resource highlights Emily Williams who practiced architecture in the early 1900s. Inspired by her partner, Lillian Palmer, Williams studied drafting and classical architecture, and began to design and build projects herself when she wasn’t accepted within the field. Williams created designs in Pacific Grove including a vacation home for her and Palmer and some cottages. She went on to create many homes for professional women in the Bay Area.
Graves and Watson emphasize the role public spaces have played in San Francisco’s LGBTQ history. They describe how in the 1900s, some public spaces including streets, parks, and beaches became places where queer people could meet each other, reject traditional gender roles, and express themselves; specific places that this publication mentions include Lower Market Street and Nob Hill.
Pride Parades, including the first San Francisco pride parade that took place in 1970 and commemorated the Stonewall Riots, are described in this resource. Pride Parades are great examples of how public spaces can be used to come together, celebrate, and advocate for inclusion and social justice.
This publication offers several suggestions for protecting and interpreting LGBTQ historic properties in San Francisco including educational programs. Educational programs could include interpretive exhibits, doing educational tours, and funding youth culture heritage educational programs.
Another suggestion mentioned in this public is identifying and designating historic properties. At the time of publication, there were “only three City Landmarks designated for significant associations with LGBTQ SF”: Harvey Milk Residence/Castro Camera, NAMES Project/AIDS Quilt Founding Site, and Twins Peak Tavern. This resource includes information on how anyone can nominate a property for landmark status.