Historic LGBTQ Sites in Philadelphia - The Overlook

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A City Rich in History for All

It’s no secret that Philadelphia has plenty of American history to brag about. If you just take a look around, you’re bound to find something that ties back to the past in some significant way.

What you might not have known, though, is that the city is also the setting for a number of key moments for the LGBTQ community, too. And with our townhome community so close to Philly’s more famous attractions, we enjoy letting our residents and visitors alike in on the lesser known stops as well. This summer, explore more of our favorite city and get a feel for why The Overlook loves calling it home!

Independence Hall

Starting with July 4, 1965, and recurring on each year through 1969, Independence Hall served as the location for the country’s first organized LGBTQ rights movements. It was these peaceful protests, in conjunction with the Stonewall riots in New York in 1969 and the Pride Parade in 1970, that essentially converted a campaign for LGBTQ recognition and rights into a real civil rights movement across the country. If you want to see where it all began, you can check out the state historical markers on 6th and Chestnut streets and read up on all of the Annual Reminders, as those protests are now collectively called.

Barbara Gittings's Home

There’s more to this home, located on 21st and Locust streets, than the furnishings or any other sort of décor – Barbara Gittings was the editor of The Ladder, the first widely known lesbian journal of its kind in America. In the history books, she’s also referred to as the mother of the LGBTQ civil rights movement, and her work included a lot of initiatives to spread knowledge about the community. From pushing libraries to include literature with LGBTQ subject matter on their shelves, to convincing others to stop classifying homosexuality as a mental illness, Gittings was a pioneer from her birthdate in 1932 until her death in 2007. Unfortunately, the house is not open to visitors, but you can still stop by and mark it off of your to-see list!

Arch Street Meeting House

In February of 1979, a Quaker congregation hosted more than 300 LGBTQ activists for the Philadelphia Conference. The objective: to plan for the very first National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. The home still stands at 320 Arch St., and attracts a number of visitors each year as a result of the march that occurred in October of 1979, just eight months after the mass planning session took place.

These are just a few of the notable sites you’ll find in Philadelphia where citizens fought for their rights. For more about living in and enjoying our historically rich city, check out The Overlook’s neighborhood recommendations!

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