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Village Gay Bar Julius' Could Become National Landmark

By Andrea Swalec | December 21, 2012 7:56am

MANHATTAN — The West 10th Street bar Julius' bills itself the oldest gay bar in the city, and its contributions to the LGBT-rights movement through the years could see it recognized a national landmark.

The state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation determined Monday that Julius', which is located at 159 W. 10th St. at Waverly Place, is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

The bar, opened in 1864, was the site of a 1966 "sip in," in which members of the gay organization the Mattachine Society protested the State Liquor Authority's ban on serving drinks to anyone known to be gay.

In a letter sent to the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, which requested national recognition of the building, the state preservation office praised the condition in which the bar has been kept.

"An important factor in evaluating Julius' Bar for the National Register was the evaluation of the building's interior, which remains remarkably intact from the 1966 period of significance," the letter reads.

GVSHP executive director Andrew Berman thanked the state preservation office for its decision to consider the site.

“We are very proud to see this important history recognized by New York State, and this acknowledgement of the groundbreaking work done by these brave people almost 50 years ago in Greenwich Village," he said in a statement.

The National Register currently lists only two sites associated with LGBT history: the Stonewall Inn, which was the site of the 1969 Stonewall Riots, and the Washington D.C. home of Mattachine Society co-founder Franklin Kameny.

According to the state preservation office, the National Register documents sites of cultural significance and makes them eligible for grants and tax credits.