Fruit Loop: Phoenix AZ LGBTQ+ Walking Tour
Celebrate our community Pride by learning about a a few of the Downtown sites that are a part of our LGBTQ history
On early Sunday morning in 1964 Police raided an LGBTQ Social Club. Arrested were 23 person on charges of drunkenness to indecent acts. Names were printed in the newspaper, many lives were forever changed. The Mayor congratulated the Chief of Police for ridding the city of something that originally belongs in LA.
In 1960, this building was the Coronet Apartment Hotel, it sported a coffee shop that became the Mardi Gras Lounge. In 1976, the hotel under new management experimented with the lounge, creating a Go-Go bar featuring women dancers and a biker bar. These experiments were short-lived. In just a year later the lounge opened as Cruisin' Central which it remained until the early 2000's when it relocated and modified their name to Cruisin 7th St. located at 3702 N. 7th Street, Phoenix.
Rainbow crosswalk - one of two in Phoenix, unveiled the summer of 2018, the effort was organized by Phoenix Pride and other LGBTQ+ non-profits. It highlights the history of Roosevelt as the first Phoenix Gayborhood, and to this day, the neighborhood is home to the Parsons Center for Health and Wellness, Southwest Center for HIV/ AIDS, to One-N-Ten, Aunt Rita’s Foundation and several LGBTQ+ Friendly organizations.
This was a active cruising area starting in the mid 40s through to the mid 90s. If it was a busy night the loop might continue on Portland. The was one apartment building, long gone that was called Vaseline Alley. You know this desert climate can be hell on your lips, I'll assume this alley had well moisturized lips. Also, popular were house parties. Since being discovered as a memeber of the LGBTQ community could be disatsterous. The filter of a house party was a welcomed respite away from prying eyes. Though sometime even those were raided.
Roy's Buffet opened in the late 1930s, by the mid 40s it was called the 307 Buffet because of its location at 307 E. Roosevelt. It's unclear when exactly the 307 became a place where the LGBTQ+ community would congregate, but it was very conveniently located on the route of the Fruit Loop. In the early 1950s, the building caught fire and the 307 Lounge physically relocated to 222 E. Roosevelt, keeping it's 307 moniker.
Please notice the inset plaque to commemorate the 307 Lounge. It relocated from 307 Roosevelt to this location in the early 1950s. Keeping the 307 name meant the current clientele as well as any newbies who had only heard of the place, could easily find the bar. The 307 name stayed with the bar through decades of changes in ownership. It officially closed in early 2000. In the 50s, Tucson artist Ted DeGrazia struck a bargain with the bar, artwork for drinks, this enabled him to drink on the cheap. At that time, he was a relatively unknown, later he would be called Arizona's Warhol. His mural depicted a moonshine still operation, can-can dancers and members of the local Yaquai community. Unfortunately, these one-of-a-kind murals were painted directly onto the plastered brick walls. The Tucson DeGrazia Museum tried to save the murals when the building was slated for demolition, but the artwork shattered during removal. Legendary Drag Queens; Ms. Ebony, Pussy Le Hoot, Barbara Seville and Celia Putty graced the stage at the 307 Lounge.
The Dressing Room is a restaurant once next door to The 307 Lounge (when it was located at 222 E. Roosevelt). The 307 Lounge had a small bar and a stage, but lacked a dressing room for performers. In the early 70s, the 307 began hosting regular Drag Shows. Performers would use the space across the alley as their "dressing room", making a grand entrance through the side door of the 307. A few entertainers still performing around town appeared on the 307 stage; Pussy Le Hoot, Barbara Seville, and Celia Putty.