Interactive Map Locates Queer History of St. Louis

The ongoing project aims to show how LGBT history is embedded throughout the city.
October 12, 2017, 1pm PDT | Elana Eden
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The Missouri Pride Parade in 2015.
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A collaboration of Washington University, the Missouri History Museum, the State Historical Society of Missouri, and the St. Louis LGBT History Project has launched Mapping LGBTQ St. Louis, an interactive online map documenting queer history across the city. Researchers identified 800 sites representing slices of queer life across a nearly 50-year period—including bars and nightclubs, bookstores, places of worship, HIV clinics, cruising spots, protest sites, and locations of police raids and arrests. Clicking on the markers brings up photographs, news clippings, and other background; a time-lapse view by decade is also available.

The site also offers a broader context for the project as a whole. "The distribution of LGBTQ space across metropolitan space wasn't random," researchers explain. "Instead, the geography of St. Louis's LGBTQ spaces has always been related to the region's history of racial segregation, socioeconomic inequality, suburbanization, and urban decline and renewal. St. Louis's LGBTQ history isn't somehow separate from the city's wider history—it's embedded in everything else."

The project accepts public feedback and will continue to grow, eventually representing Pride parades, same-sex marriage, and gay villages. For now, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports, it focuses on LGBT life in the city from 1945 ("the beginning of rapid demographic changes in the region") to 1992 ("the year the St. Louis Board of Aldermen passed an ordinance that prohibited discrimination in housing, education and employment because of race, age, religion, disability or sexual orientation.")

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Published on Tuesday, October 10, 2017 in St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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