''Let it forever be remembered that here -- on this spot -- men and women stood proud, they stood fast, so that we may be who we are, we may work where we will, live where we choose and love whom our hearts desire.''Nine and a half years later, not one more queer site has been seen fit for the National Historic Landmarks list. And, not a single queer site has made it on the National Register, the next level down from 'landmark' status. The work that Carter, Dolkart, Harris and Shockly put into getting the Stonewall nomination accepted has turned into a once-and-only event.
The Stonewall Inn certainly deserves its place as a queer national historic site but how could it be the only one. Two years after landmark status was achieved the Keeper of the National Register Carol Shull and Beth Savage, architectural historian at the National Register, congratulated themselves and the National Park Service in a paper at the annual NCSHPO meeting in DC:
"Historic places associated with other groups in American society forced to fight for civil rights are beginning to be documented, and more will be identified as part of the NPS’s civil rights study. Stonewall in Greenwich Village, the site of the 1969 raid and demonstrations regarded by many as the single-most important event that led to the modern gay and lesbian liberation movement, was documented by several local organizations and nominated to the National Register by the New York State Historic Preservation Officer. After its listing, Stonewall was designated a NHL for the exceptional role it has played in the Nation’s history."Yet that same year, the National Park Service dropped entirely the discussion of queer historic sites from its year long study Civil Rights in America: A Framework for Identifying Significant Sites.
So now nearly forty years after the Stonewall riots, at the thirtieth anniversary of the Milk assassination, and four weeks after Proposition 8 triumphed in California, queer historic sites linger in preservation limbo. We certainly have historic sites -- and not just bars and clubs -- to remind us of our historic struggles. We need to get them out of the preservation closet and into the main streets of preservation.
The nomination to the National Park Service: by David Carter, Andrew Dolkart, Gale Harris, Jay Shockly - http://www.nps.gov/nhl/designations/samples/ny/stone.pdf
New York Times' coverage of the National Historic Landmark listing: