Stonewall Inn

New York, New York | C.1930

Photo Credit: Lewis Miller Design

The Stonewall Inn is a gay bar and tavern in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Lower Manhattan, New York City. It is the site of the Stonewall riots of 1969, which are widely considered to be the single most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBT+ rights in the United States.

In 1930, the Stonewall Inn operated as a speakeasy, which was soon raided and closed by federal prohibition agents. In 1934, the bar relocated to 51-53 Christopher Street, where a large vertical sign was installed with the name “Bonnie’s Stonewall Inn”. The inn operated here until 1964, when the interior was destroyed by fire.

Two years later, members of the Mafia invested in the building, turning it into a gay bar, and it became the largest gay establishment in the U.S. It was the only bar for gay men in New York City where dancing was allowed.

During this time, police raids on gay bars were very common, and in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, police raided the bar. Tensions rose, and as police forces waited for patrol wagons to transport arrested suspects, a crowd began to grow outside of the inn, swelling as the night went on. Riots soon broke out, which transitioned into demonstrations with thousands of participants over the next six days.

The events that took place at Stonewall led to the first gay pride parades in the United States and many other countries. On June 28, 1970, a march was led from Greenwich Village to Central Park.

In June 1999, through the efforts of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and the Organization of Lesbian and Gay Architects and Designers, Stonewall became the first LGBT-history site in the country listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and later, the first LGBT-history site in New York City.

In March 2007, the Stonewall Inn was ultimately reopened and continues to pay homage to its historic movement for equality.

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