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Boystown Rainbows get Landmark Status

CBS2 Chicago – “The Chicago City Council on Wednesday officially designated the rainbow pylons and Legacy Walk on the Boystown strip of North Halsted Street as a landmark.

The designation was part of a package of legislation that had been advanced by the Zoning and Landmarks Committee, chaired by Ald. Tom Tunney (44th).

Tunney was joined by LGBTQ activists Victor Salvo, Lori Cannon and Rick Garcia for the designation.

“I wanted to say the designation will make the Legacy Walk and the rainbow pylon streetscape the only multi-acre site in the world to be declared a landmark because of its importance to the LGBT people,” Tunney said at the City Council meeting Wednesday.

Ten pairs of 25-foot pylons featuring the rainbow Pride flag colors stand along Halsted Street between Belmont Avenue and Grace Street. Each pylon has a bronze memorial plaque that commemorates the legacy of notable LGBT individuals and groups.”

DID YOU KNOW??? 

those 20-foot bronze sculptures, and their rainbow rings, lining North Halsted Street were erected (!) by then Mayor Daley.  In 1998 they officially designated the area a gay ’hood as part of his Neighborhoods Alive program. Sure, these faux-futuristic structures are both noticeably phallic (what were they thinking?) and almost superfluous in today’s increasingly gay-friendly world. But back in the late ’90s, this was a big deal.

“When Chicago designated Halsted Street as a gay neighborhood and put up the pylons, that was the first time a U.S. city had officially designated a neighborhood as being ‘gay,’ ” says William Greaves, director for the city’s advisory council on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues. “It was groundbreaking.”

To ensure Chicago’s claim in queer history, Daley withstood outcries from straight residents, who argued a gay ghetto would lower their property values (uh, more like raise them!), and even from gay folks, who feared outing the ’hood could cause a spike in gay bashing.  But everything worked out just fine!

 

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