Monday, August 31, 2009

The Hub- Detroit, Michigan (Gar bar)

I found this reference on the Detroit News website to a place called "The Hub?" If you know anything about it, please let me know. Photos, exact location of the bar.

During the 1960s, the patrons of The Hub, a downtown hangout for homosexuals, held a one-block parade on Halloween. At the time, it was illegal in Detroit for a man to dress as a woman, except on Halloween. Word of the parade spread, and soon the annual event was drawing big crowds as the cross-dressers displayed their outrageous costumes.

Female impersonators from The Gold Dollar on Cass sashayed down the parade route on stiletto heels dressed in shocking bright colors with equally shocking hair colors and ratted bouffant styles. Ostrich feather boas yards long trailed behind, inch-long eyelashes fluttered, and long gloved hands bejeweled with huge fake rings and gaudy bracelets parodied the movements of Marilyn Monroe.

Police provided crowd barriers and stood around hoping the event would fade away. Crowds grew each year until 1967, when The Detroit News, abandoning a policy against covering homosexual events, finally mentioned the upcoming parade. Bolstered by the publicity, paraders demanded the city issue a permit for a parade down Woodward, but city officials resisted. The Hub later closed and the tradition ended.

3 comments:

  1. I'm not entirely sure where The Hub was, but the Halloween party used to happen near LaRosa's, in the old gay area on the east side of downtown around Bates and Farmer.

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    Replies
    1. The Hub Grill at Farmer & Bates was a greasy spoon chili joint operated by sisters Fran and Flo with Uncle Jimmy at the grill. It was heaven on earth for gay teens in the 50s and 60s, the only island in a sea of ridicule. The parade survived the Hub's closing in the early 1960s by a few years. When the hustling walkway along Monroe declined as the block declined, and gays emerged into the sunlight, the Hub somehow lost its luster. It's been a parking lot for some time now. If anyone has photos of the Hub, would appreciate one. Tom

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    2. The Hub Grill at Farmer & Bates was a greasy spoon chili joint operated by sisters Fran and Flo with Uncle Jimmy at the grill. It was heaven on earth for gay teens in the 50s and 60s, the only island in a sea of ridicule. The parade survived the Hub's closing in the early 1960s by a few years. When the hustling walkway along Monroe declined as the block declined, and gays emerged into the sunlight, the Hub somehow lost its luster. It's been a parking lot for some time now. If anyone has photos of the Hub, would appreciate one. Tom

      Delete