On Feb. 20, the Leather Archives & Museum ( LA&M ) took ownership of its location at 6418 N. Greenview before a capacity crowd at Etienne Auditorium. Chuck Renslow, the group's founder and president, burned a facsimile of the paid-off mortgage.
A program that preceded the ceremony featured remarks by board members and other dignitaries; there was also a remembrance for those contributors who had not lived to see the milestone take place. In addition, activist Roger Klorese received the first President's Award. Director Randall Klett, who runs LeatherWerks in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., blessed the building as a 'sacred space.'
The LA&M retired its mortgage in August 2004 after a seven-year campaign raised $400,000 to purchase and improve the 10,000-square-foot building. For more information about the organization, visit www.leatherarchives.org .