Secretary Jewell, Director Jarvis Participate in Public Meeting on Community’s Vision for Preservation of Stonewall Site

Public responds to proposals to preserve and manage one of the nation’s premier LGBT historic sites

Last edited 09/29/2021

Date: May 10, 2016
Contacts: Jessica Kershaw (Interior),
Jeremy Barnum (National Park Service),

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis participated in a public meeting with community members and local leaders to hear their vision for the long-term preservation and management of Christopher Park, which is currently proposed to become a unit of the National Park System.

“We are committed to ensuring our national parks, monuments and public lands help Americans better understand the places and stories that make this diverse nation great, and the site of the Stonewall Uprising is a compelling example,” Secretary Jewell said. “The National Park Service is America’s storyteller and sites like this one enable all Americans to learn about our country’s on-going struggle for civil rights. We came to listen to the community’s proposals on how best to preserve this site for present and future generations.”

Last year, U.S. Representative Nadler and U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer, with the support of several state and local officials, introduced legislative proposals in Congress to establish a Stonewall National Historic Site as a unit of the National Park System.  This iconic area is the site of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, which in large part inspired the modern Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) civil rights movement. Separately, in a letter to the President, Representative Nadler, Senators Gillibrand and Schumer, and other members of the New York Congressional delegation requested that the President use his authority under the Antiquities Act to designate Stonewall a national monument. 

“Stonewall is known around the world as the birthplace of the modern LGBT civil rights movement. I am proud to have led the campaign to establish a new unit of the National Park System at Stonewall, which would recognize the contributions of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising and of the brave individuals who have fought and continue to fight for LGBT equality, and would preserve their stories as part of America’s civil rights history,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler.  “Thank you to Secretary Jewell and Director Jarvis for coming to hear from New Yorkers about the importance of Stonewall to our community.”

In May 2014, Secretary Jewell visited the Stonewall Inn to announce that the National Park Service (NPS), in partnership with the Gill Foundation, would conduct an LGBT theme study to identify places and events associated with LGBT Americans for inclusion in the parks and programs of the agency, as well as to explore how to incorporate LGBT stories into existing monuments and parks. The study includes the work of 28 scholars and a host of other peer reviewers across the country.  The final report, expected this summer, will provide recommendations on sites and stories that can be documented and shared and may ultimately increase the number of LGBT-themed sites and programming throughout the National Park System.

In August 2015, Representative Nadler and Senator Gillibrand requested that the NPS undertake a reconnaissance survey to determine whether the site would likely meet the criteria for inclusion in the National Park System, which included assessing the national significance, suitability, feasibility, and need for direct NPS management. NPS completed the study in February 2016, concluding that the Stonewall site would likely meet these criteria.

New additions to the National Park System can be accomplished by an act of Congress or by presidential designation under the Antiquities Act. In Congress, a bill can be introduced to designate an area as a national park unit. That bill must then be approved by both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and then signed into law by the president.

A unit of the National Park System can also be created through the use of the Antiquities Act, which allows the president to designate a site as a national monument. Since the enactment of the Antiquities Act in 1906, most presidents have used the authority, resulting in the establishment of over 140 national monuments and assuring the protection of their historic or scientific resources. Later, Congress has often revisited these areas and re-designated them as national parks or other types of National Park System units. Almost half of the national parks in the National Park System today were first protected as national monuments under the Antiquities Act.

The Governor of New York recently signed state legislation that allows the City of New York to transfer Christopher Park to the Federal Government if a new national park unit is authorized.

“We are here because we are committed to hearing from local communities to learn their perspectives on neighborhood preservation. And we are gaining valuable insight from the public on how best to protect and manage Christopher Park in the future. This feedback is very useful whether a designation is established by Congress or through executive authority,” said Jonathan B. Jarvis, director of the National Park Service.

Yesterday, nearly 250 people gathered at PS 41 Greenwich Village School to express their views about designating Christopher Park as a national monument.  The two and half hour public meeting attracted state and local elected officials, veterans of the Stonewall Uprising, as well as modern-day LGBT advocates, neighbors and preservationists.  The majority of speakers enthusiastically expressed support for a Stonewall monument designation.

The Stonewall Inn, across from Christopher Park, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in June 1999 and subsequently designated as a National Historic Landmark in 2000, recognizing the significance of the events that took place in the late 1960s. Stonewall Inn was the first LGBT site to ever be designated a National Historic Landmark. Last year the Obama Administration recognized the Henry Gerber House in Chicago as a National Historic Landmark and since 2011 eight other LGBT sites have been named to the National Register of Historic Places including:

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