On June 23, the New York City Landmark Preservation Commission (LPC) voted unanimously to designate the Stonewall Inn an Individual Historic Landmark. The site is the location of the Stonewall riots of June 1969, an event that helped spark the current LGBTQ Pride Movement.
The building is already protected as part of the Greenwich Village Historic District and its significance derives entirely from its historical, social and cultural importance, rather than architectural, marking it a unique designation for the LPC.
Communities have commemorated the Stonewall uprising since 1969 by observing Pride Month in June. A variety of elected officials, preservation organizations, historians, community members and participants in the 1969 event gave testimony in support of the designation. Many spoke of the importance of the site as vital to the city’s heritage and the designation as a major step forward in officially recognizing New York City’s role in the LGBT movement.
Some called for the designation of more sites of significance to the LGBT community, while others, including the Historic Districts Council (HDC), applauded the designation of a site of principally cultural significance, something the LPC has been hesitant to do in the past. Commissioner Michael Goldblum described the designation of the Stonewall Inn as a great starting point to develop tools and new ways of thinking about broadening the definition of landmark properties beyond their architectural provenance.
Photo: The Stonewall Inn in about 1965; courtesy HDC.