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Celebrating Portland’s LGBTQ+ sites on the National Register of Historic Places

With the addition of Erv Lind Field and McMenamins Crystal Hotel, the city now contains 10% of such locations in the country.

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McMenamins Crystal Hotel’s original listing from 2009 has been amended to include the building’s LGBTQ+ associations between 1969 and 1985.

Photo via Steve Morgan

Since 1966, the National Register of Historic Places (NHRP) has pursued its mission to identify and preserve “districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects significant in American history, architecture, archaeology, and culture.”

It took until 2014 for the program to begin recognizing important sites for the LGBTQ+ community. A similar effort launched in Portland in 2022 and those efforts have recently paid off with the addition of two new entries — Erv Lind Field and McMenamins Crystal Hotel.

In addition to Darcelle XV Showplace, this means the city is now home to 10% of the country’s LGBTQ+ designations on the NHRP. Let’s explore these local landmarks.

McMenamins Crystal Hotel

Originally constructed in 1911 as the Hotel Alma, this lodging would go on to wear several names, eventually becoming the anchor to Portland’s Pink Triangle along West Burnside Avenue. As the Majestic Hotel from 1969 to 1985, the building also housed a men’s bathhouse and various bars and nightclubs, while providing health services to gay men.

A black and white aerial photo shows Normandale Field, eventually renamed Erv Lind Field. Bleachers surround the softball diamond, where tall lights stand. Some old timey cars are parked on the road and nearby trees stand beyond the outfield.

Normandale Field (it was renamed in 1965 following Erv Lind’s death) remains the only sports facility in Oregon constructed primarily for a women’s major-league team of any sport.

Erv Lind Field

Normandale Park’s softball diamond was built in 1948 to host the national softball championship tournament. Until 1964, it was also home field for the two-time pennant winning Erv Lind Florists. Their games became a safe space for queer women to socialize and helped diversify public spaces during the period of intense anti-LGBTQ+ civic measures known as the “Lavender Scare.”

Colorful lights, stars and curtains decorate the stage at Darcelle XV Showplace. Two giant high heels shoes are centered, with the outline of a martini glass.

Darcelle XV Showplace is one of only two known drag clubs open prior to 1970 in the US where the owner performed as part of the company.

Darcelle XV Showplace

The long-running drag performance club was added to the NRHP in November 2020, honoring the legacy of Walter Cole, who converted the former hotel and tavern into an entertainment venue in 1967. Beyond its value as a sanctuary for self-expression, the business was and remains a base for LGBTQ+ activism throughout the city.

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