Representative Earl Blumenauer Calls for Portland LGBTQ+ Venue Darcelle XV Be Listed as Historic Site

June 30, 2020
Press Release

Today, in celebration of Pride Month, Representative Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), co-chair of the Congressional Historic Preservation Caucus, called for Darcelle XV in Portland, Oregon to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). Blumenauer’s letter was in support of the Oregon State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation’s (SACHP)’s nomination for Darcelle XV.

Darcelle XV is a nightclub and drag venue that has been owned and operated by Walter Cole since 1967 and is located in a three-story brick building completed in 1910. The club pre-dates the famous Stonewall uprising that is often regarded as the start of the LGBTQ+ rights movement. 

“Walter Cole and his club were influential in educating the straight mainstream through drag performance, an art form that is now widely accepted and celebrated in this country,” wrote Rep. Blumenauer in his letter to Interior Department Secretary Bernhardt. “This mainstream acceptance of drag performance contributed to a broader societal acceptance of gay rights. Further, Walter Cole persevered through discrimination during the 1970s and kept the club active for over 50 years. In line with the NRHP criteria, Darcelle XV should be memorialized for its historic role in using entertainment to impact a cultural shift in the acceptance of LGBTQ+ rights.”

To read the full text of the letter, click here