Toledo Talk

NW Ohio Gay History

Hi everyone,
I'm somewhat new to the area, and am curious if anyone has stories they'd like to share about LGBTQ history in NW Ohio. Anything from popular bars, organizations, local leaders, police/government relations, meeting spaces, local lingo, famous people/celebrity, crimes, opposition, whatever tickles your fancy.

SwampProf

created by swampprof on Sep 19, 2012 at 09:14:48 pm     History     Comments: 27

source      versions


Comments ... #

A few years back a gay co-worker told me there are two clubs in the area: Caesars and R' House. Went to R' House once to see him DJ, seemed hospitable even for a hetero like myself.

Think there is one in BG as well.

About all I know :)

There was a post this past Spring about Domestic Partnerships.

http://www.toledotalk.com/cgi-bin/tt.pl/article/115593/Domestic_Partner_benefits_-_new_council_ststorm

Welcome to the area. Hope you enjoy it here.

posted by INeedCoffee on Sep 19, 2012 at 09:43:42 pm     #  

Ceasars Show Bar or Ceasars Palace, I'm not sure anymore exactly what it was called. But back in the 60's it was a great place for shows. I'm straight but I loved going there with friends, both gay and straight. The shows were absolutely fabulous. It was truly good entertainment in a well run establishment by good people. The crowds were enthusiastic and pretty well mannered. It was just a great time.

Being openly gay in the 60's was tough. My gay friends were pretty courageous people. Made of sterner stuff than I.

posted by holland on Sep 19, 2012 at 10:10:45 pm     #  

Ceasars is no longer open. But as for the nightlife in Toledo, there is:

Club Blush
117 N. Erie St
(Downtown)
Blush is Toledos' Premiere Club in the art of Female Illusion. We offer drag shows each and every Friday and Saturday and select Sundays.
Our current cast includes Hostess and Emcee Sylvia Austin. Amber Stone. Veronica Scarlett, and Vivica Cartier Foxx along with other special guests each week.
We are located at 117 N.Erie Street in Downtown Toledo.
The telephone number is 419-255-4010.
Reservations accepted.
Hours of operation are 9:00 pm -2:30am

http://www.facebook.com/blush.toledo/info
http://www.blushtoledo.com

Ripcord Bar
115 N. Erie Street
Toledo, Ohio
419-243-3412
NO COVER !!*
21 and Over Only with proper ID
Open 9 am to 2:30 am
Happy Hour till 8 pm every day
The Ripcord is Toledo Ohio's fun gay bar with fun gay events every day. Gay male strippers, drag shows, karaoke, and the 'Pig Pen'.
*No Cover - Excludes Special Events

http://www.facebook.com/ripcord.toledo?ref=ts
http://www.ripcordbar.com/

Bretz Bar
2012 Adams Street
(Uptown)
Toledo's hottest gay bar with the youngest crowd in town. Every night is different, whats your poison?

Thurs: Dollar Drinks
Fri: Fierce Fridays
Sat: Old Skool All Request Open House Party w/ DJ Ben
Sun: Different

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bretz-Official-Check-In/111765115527857?sk=info

R-House
5534 Secor Rd,
(West Toledo)
(419) 474-2929
Hours (estimated)
Mon: 4:00 pm - 2:00 am
Tue - Sat: 8:00 pm - 2:00 am
Sun: 1:00 pm - 2:00 am

Outskirts
Toledo's only lesbian bar!
5038 Lewis Ave.
(North Toledo)
#lezrage
Hours:
Friday 5 p.m.-2:30 a.m.
Saturday 5 p.m.-2:30 a.m.
Sunday 5 p.m.-midnight
&
Wednesday 5 p.m.-midnight

Find us on Twitter @outskirtsinfo!
www.outskirtstoledo.org

Other information on the LGBT community
http://outlinestoledo.com/
http://www.equalitytoledo.org/

Last but not least there is the
Diplomat
Toledo's only gay bath house
1313 North Summit Avenue (From I-280, take the Summit Street exit, and go two blocks south)
Toledo, OH

posted by ToledoLatina on Sep 19, 2012 at 11:05:34 pm     #  

In the early 80's, the shopping strip on Secor Rd (between Central and Monroe)was a rather "seedy" affair with adult movie theaters, 24hr saunas, peep shows and a gay bar called "The Open Closet".

Any night of the week, if you parked in the lot that is now Macy's you could watch gay men travel from the OC to the dark area behind Sears...have anonymous sex, and then head back to the OC. It was common to see the same auto make several trips every night.

Students from "TU" would grab fast food and park in the Macy's lot to gawk at the action.

After the bar closed, the Denny's restroom became a popular "meeting place".

posted by Star56 on Sep 20, 2012 at 02:50:16 am     #  

One of my best friends might have been in that "parade". He died of complications from aids in the late 90's. I never understood the high risk promiscuity some gay men engaged in.

Wasn't there also a bar called the Scenic? I remember going there with him (and others) quite a bit. No shows, just a friendly pickup bar for gay man and women. Straights were also welcome and not bothered as I recall. God, that was a long time ago. I still miss my friend and think about him often.

posted by holland on Sep 20, 2012 at 05:28:36 am     #  

So Star56, your college Saturday nights were spent sitting in a car by yourself, eating fastfood watching while men have anonymous gay sex? Wow, you had the worse college experience ever.

posted by SensorG on Sep 20, 2012 at 05:50:58 am     #   11 people liked this

SensorG posted at 06:50:58 AM on Sep 20, 2012:

So Star56, your college Saturday nights were spent sitting in a car by yourself, eating fastfood watching while men have anonymous gay sex? Wow, you had the worse college experience ever.

Dude, I'd have said more, but I don't want jr putting me in time-out, and I'm trying to watch my karma (at least until very late Nov. 6th)

posted by anonymouscoward on Sep 20, 2012 at 07:12:42 am     #   1 person liked this

I remember The Open Closet. It was Mr. C's before then. Prairieson/Mr.Gamegrrl has a funny story about that. LOL!

I kind of miss Blu Jeans Cafe, which was in a strip mall on Monroe just west of Sylvania Ave. Great food. Played a lot of pool there, too.

posted by gamegrrl on Sep 20, 2012 at 07:24:03 am     #  

My childhood friend's father was a gay man who lived in Toledo with his partner. If I recall correctly, R-House was his dad's hangout.

(Friend lived in my hometown with mom. The parents were married, then divorced when the dad came out and moved to Toledo.)

posted by mom2 on Sep 20, 2012 at 07:53:52 am     #  

You can't mention gay history in Toledo without mentioning the Old West End. In the early 80's I lived on Parkwood near Bancroft and we would sit on our front porch during the OWE festival and watch the couples walk around. This was back when the OWE festival was more of a neighborhood thing (yard sales, artist booths set up on side streets by the old hosiptal) and not as centralized as it is now.

posted by cmb on Sep 20, 2012 at 08:48:06 am     #  

Hi SwampProf!

You know, this would be a really good topic to cross-post at Swamp Bubbles. I'm sure the knowledgeable users over there will be able to provide you with some valuable input.

posted by madjack on Sep 20, 2012 at 08:50:42 am     #  

Thanks everyone - does anyone recall any police crackdowns on bars, etc? That was a problem in many other cities into the 1960s, how about Toledo? I really appreciate your reminiscing!

posted by swampprof on Sep 20, 2012 at 10:02:28 am     #  

Bretz was busted for child porn back in the 1980s.

I think the Twilight Zone got raided a few times back in the 1970s, and I know that the gay bath house had their door kicked on one occasion. That didn't end well for the City of Toledo, as the cops tried to kick in a security door and found they couldn't get the job done. Then they parked outside all night, arresting the patrons as they left the building. There was a law suit and the city paid off.

The businesses in the Westgate Red Light District that I remember are:
The Las Vegas Cinema, which showed x-rated films. Kind of like a regular theater except with perverts, voyeurs, exhibitionists and curiosity seekers.
The Open Closet, a gay bar. Just what went on in there I couldn't say, but it got a lot of traffic.
Secor Adult Book Store, an adult book store. I think it had video booths in the back.
Oriental Massage Parlor, a whore house that gave massages.
The Jolly Trolley nude dance club. The owner was Doug somebody or other, and he ran for mayor of Toledo one year. He also had a bunch of self-proclaimed Christian zealots that would show up on weekends and raise Holy Hell with a portable PA system and demonstrators giving out tracts and such. I think Doug offered them coffee when the nights got colder. Ironically, it was due to the protests that the business and general traffic increased around the Trolley.

How do I know all this? I was hired to teach the girls at the Trolley to dance. The gig lasted about six weeks, and there are worse ways to spend an afternoon.

Here's something else for you to chew on:
Survey, Findings and Recommendations of Sexually Oriented Businessses in Toledo, Ohio by Eric Damian Kelly, PhD, FAICP

I remember when the ding-a-lings at Toledo city hall spent a few pounds of c-notes to get this done. I'd have done it for less. I considered it a huge waste of time back then, and I haven't changed my mind.

posted by madjack on Sep 20, 2012 at 11:38:17 am     #  

Ah, the old Scenic bar.....my SO and I met there 31 years ago - 31 years ago this past Tuesday as a matter of fact.

There was really nothing special about the place and it was pretty much a dive but anyone and everyone were welcome.

The only thing one could consider "special" was the manager and primary bartender - Don Hanna - may he RIP. A rather flamboyant character who could always be counted on for a smart ass comment - and a good laugh.

Never was a fan of Caesar's. Drag shows and female impersonators has just never been my thing.

I didn't see any mention here of Hooterville - which was owned and operated by Joe Wicks (Caesar's). It had an eclectic patronage. Everybody from boring, middle aged folks like me to go-go boys, wet underwear contests, bears (a gay term for large, hairy men) and a rather large gay biker crowd on the weekends. Fellow biker groups from Cleveland and Detroit used to show up on the weekends as I recall. It was an interesting cast of characters.

posted by Foodie on Sep 20, 2012 at 03:52:49 pm     #  

Foodie, I wonder if you would have known my friend's father and/or his partner. They would probably be close in age to you, and may have went to some of the same bars 30-31 years ago.

posted by mom2 on Sep 20, 2012 at 04:15:39 pm     #  

Who was that guy that was essentially the Mayor of the old west end that had that huge house near the art museum? I can't remember if it was Parkwood or Scottwood, but it was enormous and pretty far south in the OWE. Pool in back. Three floors. It was for sale last fall.

posted by justread on Sep 20, 2012 at 04:40:08 pm     #  

Oh geez! I hadn't thought about Hooterville in a LONG time! I danced in a cage there once. AIDS fundraiser in, I think, about 2000.

posted by gamegrrl on Sep 20, 2012 at 04:46:40 pm     #   3 people liked this

I used to have so much fun dancing the night away at The OC. It was the only place I felt that I wasn't judged for being an overweight female. Respect towards me has earn a life time of respect from me.

posted by ToledoLatina on Sep 20, 2012 at 04:58:47 pm     #  

I just want to say if you go to Bretz, they have the best and nicest bartender. :) Big shout out to Skiboy. :)

posted by tlm0000 on Sep 20, 2012 at 05:44:55 pm     #  

mom2: How do we go about finding out the answer to that question? Is there a PM option on this board?

posted by Foodie on Sep 20, 2012 at 07:09:28 pm     #  

Foodie posted at 08:09:28 PM on Sep 20, 2012:

mom2: How do we go about finding out the answer to that question? Is there a PM option on this board?

http://toledotalk.com/cgi-bin/tt.pl/sendpm

posted by jr on Sep 20, 2012 at 07:40:04 pm     #  

I tried sending the PM, foodie. Hopefully it went through.

(I've used the PM feature before with success, but not sure if it went through this time posting from my phone.)

posted by mom2 on Sep 20, 2012 at 10:35:16 pm     #  

Thanks everyone...keep the comments coming!

posted by swampprof on Sep 20, 2012 at 10:53:47 pm     #  

Another more direct question: Has Toledo (or NW Ohio) ever had a GLBT Center? That could mean a dedicated building/center, or a place (bar, university office, person's home) that functioned like a community center. I don't think there is one now, so I wondered if there ever had been one.

posted by swampprof on Sep 20, 2012 at 11:17:35 pm     #  

justread posted at 05:40:08 PM on Sep 20, 2012:

Who was that guy that was essentially the Mayor of the old west end that had that huge house near the art museum? I can't remember if it was Parkwood or Scottwood, but it was enormous and pretty far south in the OWE. Pool in back. Three floors. It was for sale last fall.

I think that I found it on Aries and that it was Ed Hoffman.

posted by justread on Sep 21, 2012 at 05:57:08 am     #  

swampprof posted at 12:17:35 AM on Sep 21, 2012:

Another more direct question: Has Toledo (or NW Ohio) ever had a GLBT Center? That could mean a dedicated building/center, or a place (bar, university office, person's home) that functioned like a community center. I don't think there is one now, so I wondered if there ever had been one.

I believe that was a mission of a former Toledoan named Lair Scott.

I'm not a native Toledoan, so I don't personally know all the history. However, I recall that person being in the news recently talking about the fact that there has never been one in the area and trying to rally support for the idea.

If you google his name + Toledo, I'm sure you could find some of his comments about it.

posted by mom2 on Sep 21, 2012 at 09:27:58 am     #  

It was this thread I believe.
http://toledotalk.com/cgi-bin/tt.pl/article/116071/Threats_and_bullying_for_street_names

posted by Linecrosser on Sep 21, 2012 at 09:46:19 am     #