Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Pre-order Book!
Pre-order Book!
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

LGBT HISTORY MONTH: SF supe vows to landmark Lyon-Martin house
by Matthew S. Bajko
2020-10-17

This article shared 2417 times since Sat Oct 17, 2020
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


A San Francisco supervisor has vowed to landmark the home where the late lesbian pioneering couple Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin lived throughout most of their 54 years together.

Historic preservationists, friends of the couple, and Lyon and Martin's daughter held a Zoom call on September 24 to discuss designating the house at 651 Duncan Street in the city's Noe Valley neighborhood as a historic site. Gay District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman said during the call that he would seek granting historic status to the property.

"I do think this is clearly a home of historic value and needs to have that recognized and honored over time. Whatever we can do to help with that effort, we are happy to do," said Mandelman, who represents Noe Valley at City Hall and is the lone LGBTQ member of the board.

Mandelman legislative aide Jacob Bintliff, a gay man who formerly worked for the city's planning department, added, "It is something we are very interested in moving forward with, and pretty quickly too."

On Tuesday, September 29, Mandelman's office submitted the necessary resolution to trigger the approval process. It will be taken up by the supervisors' land use committee in mid-October and, if passed by the full board, then sent to the city's historic preservation commission for a vote before being sent back for a final vote by the supervisors.

Mike Buhler, president of San Francisco Heritage, said during the virtual meeting that the local preservation group was supportive of seeking city landmark status for the Lyon-Martin house. He noted that one advantage of having a supervisor introduce landmark legislation is it requires the historic preservation commission to make a decision within 90 days.

"This is a uniquely important site," said Buhler.

After first meeting in Seattle in 1952, Lyon and Martin moved to San Francisco. As recounted in the city's LGBTQ historic context statement released in 2015, Lyon moved first and found a flat in what is now the Castro district in which Martin moved into on Valentine's Day 1953.

Two years later they bought the 756 square foot home atop a steep hill in Noe Valley. As Lyon recounted to Shayne E. Watson, a lesbian and architectural historian who co-wrote the citywide LGBTQ report, their only requirement when house hunting was to buy one "with a view."

Their home would become a gathering place within the city's lesbian community and the site of various meetings and events. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ( D-San Francisco ) addressed one gathering there while standing on the staircase of the two-level cottage reportedly built in 1908.

Journalists and co-founders of the Daughters of Bilitis, the first political and social organization for lesbians in the United States, Lyon and Martin made history again in 2004 when they were the first couple to be married by San Francisco officials in defiance of California's prohibition of same-sex marriage.

When the state Supreme Court tossed out the homophobic law, the women were the first same-sex couple to legally marry in California on June 16, 2008. Weeks later, on August 27, Martin died at the age of 87 in San Francisco with Lyon at her side. This past spring Lyon died at the age of 95 on April 9.

Earlier this month the news website SF Gate reported that their home had sold for $2.25 million. The 5,700 square foot lot was two parcels sold as one; the women had tended a garden on the adjoining lot.

"The views are iconic SF, from this last parcel of undeveloped land atop Noe Valley," noted the article's author, Anna Marie Erwert. "Homes in this area have easily sold for $5-6M, so as long as a person keeps construction costs under control, a turn over of this property could be very profitable."

Property records show the buyer was David R. Duncan. The Bay Area Reporter was unable to reach him for comment.

Local preservationists had approached Lyon and her family about the possibility of landmarking the house years ago but the process was never initiated. Watson and Donna Graves, a public historian based in Berkeley who co-authored the citywide LGBTQ context statement, had included the Lyon-Martin house on a list of LGBTQ historic properties they identified as likely eligible for designation as a city landmark and listing on the California and national registers of historic places.

While the state and federal listings are largely honorific, a city landmark designation would provide a level of protection to the property should its new owners submit plans to raze it in order to build a larger structure. While a property owner can seek historic landmark status, a member of the Board of Supervisors or the city's planning department working with the historic preservation commission can also seek adding a property to the list of 288 local landmarks currently in San Francisco.

To date, San Francisco has granted city landmark status to only four sites for their importance to LGBTQ history. Two are gay bar locations, one the former home to the AIDS Memorial Quilt, and the fourth was the late gay supervisor Harvey Milk's residence and former Castro Camera shop at 573 Castro Street.

All are located in commercial corridors. The Lyon-Martin house would be the first LGBTQ historic site in a solely residential neighborhood.

"I can see it in the future be a destination as an archival site for GLBTQ rights and women's rights here in San Francisco," said Terry Beswick, executive director of the GLBT Historical Society whose archives house the papers of Martin and Lyon.

Beswick and Watson, who used to chair the society's historic places working group, helped organize last week's meeting about how to preserve the couple's cottage. As for the vacant portion of the property, Beswick said it "would be a lovely park to go with the house."

Matthew S. Bajko is an assistant editor at the Bay Area Reporter.


This article shared 2417 times since Sat Oct 17, 2020
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Chicago Cultural Center historic interiors to be restored for June reopening 2021-04-22
--From a press release - CHICAGO, IL — Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) today announced the historic restoration of the landmark Chicago Cultural Center to reclaim two lost interiors decorated by the ...


Gay News

Windy City Times publishes book of historical newspaper covers 2021-04-14
- Windy City Times newspaper, founded in 1985, is publishing a limited-edition, four-color book featuring hundreds of covers from its own archives, plus covers from other LGBTQ Chicago media, including Outlines, BLACKlines, En La Vida, Identity and more ...


Gay News

LGBTQ+ History Podcast Queer Serial launches third and final season 2021-04-07
--From a press release - Queer Serial, the acclaimed LGBTQ+ history podcast produced and hosted by 2021 GLAAD Award nominee Devlyn Camp, returns Monday, April 12, with its final season. Season 3 picks up in 1963, as militant gay activists, taking ...


Gay News

465+ feminist leaders sign open letter in solidarity with trans women and girls 2021-03-31
--From a GLAAD press release - More than 465 feminist leaders sign open letter standing in solidarity with transgender women and girls in honor of Women's History Month and Transgender Day of Visibility. The letter, organized by GLAAD & Raquel Willis, comes ...


Gay News

Nearly half of all LBQ women have been physically or sexually assaulted 2021-03-30
--From a press release - New study examines the social, economic, physical, and psychological well-being of cisgender and transgender LBQ women and girls A new study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds about 5% of cisgender and ...


Gay News

CHM to explore work of photographer Vivian Maier 2021-03-25
- The Chicago History Museum 1601 N. Clark St., is featuring a collection of many never-before-seen works by world-renowned photographer Vivian Maier in an upcoming exhibition, "Vivian Maier: In Color," opening to the public May 8. "The ...


Gay News

Gerber/Hart celebrating Pearl Hart's birthday through April 7 2021-03-25
--From a Gerber/Hart press release - Gerber/Hart Library and Archives is celebrating the April 7 birthday of Pearl Hart, the "heart" of Gerber/Hart, and raising funds to help Gerber/Hart continue its vital mission to preserve LGBTQ history in Chicago and the Midwest. ...


Gay News

Evanston makes history by paying reparations to Black families 2021-03-23
- On March 22, the Evanston City Council voted eight to one to adopt a resolution that will allow it to become the first city in the nation to implement a program to fund reparations for its Black residents, approving plans to ...


Gay News

Chicago alderman proposes zoning amendment banning house museums, raising ire 2021-03-20
--From a press release - CHICAGO, March 18, 2021 — Emmett Till's death became a rallying cry for the civil rights movement 66 years ago. Till's mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, worked tirelessly to preserve her son's place in history. From the segregated ...


Gay News

WNBA marking Women's History Month 2021-03-15
- In celebration of Women's History Month, the WNBA announced plans for the league's landmark 25th season, which include the new campaign "Count It" and a 25th-season logo. Among season-long celebrations to highlight the league's milestones and ...


Gay News

PPIA to feature Lauren Underwood on March 5 2021-03-02
- Planned Parenthood Illinois Action (PPIA) has announced a special Activist University Extra Credit session featuring Congresswoman Lauren Underwood on Friday, March 5, at 5:30 p.m. Kicking off Women's History Month ...


Gay News

Treasurer Frerichs honors Illinois leaders during Women's History Month 2021-03-01
--From a press release - SPRINGFIELD — In honor of Women's History Month, Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs today kicked off a virtual campaign to highlight and celebrate the achievements of women in Illinois. This year's national theme for Women's Histo ...


Gay News

Author and educator Sarah Chadwick talks new book on female sexuality 2021-02-21
- Sarah Chadwick's debut book, The Sweetness of Venus: A History of the Clitoris, was the result of her desire to understand the status of female sexuality in the West from an historical perspective. During Chadwick's research, ...


Gay News

Red Stars rename Press Row in honor of Ida B. Wells 2021-02-19
- The Chicago Red Stars announced that they are formally renaming Press Row at SeatGeek Stadium in honor and memory of Ida B. Wells. According to the National Women's History Museum's website, Wells "was a prominent journalist, ...


Gay News

Chicago History Museum names new president 2021-02-17
- The Chicago History Museum (CHM) announced that Donald E. Lassere—president of the Muhammad Ali Center and Museum (MAC) in Louisville, Kentucky—will succeed Gary T. Johnson as Museum president. Johnson is ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.