Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Navigation

Land of 10,000 Loves

A History of Queer Minnesota

2012
Author:

Stewart Van Cleve

Land of 10,000 Loves

A groundbreaking, comprehensively illustrated portrait of queer history in Minnesota

In Land of 10,000 Loves, Stewart Van Cleve blends oral history, archival narrative, newspaper accounts, and fascinating illustrations to paint a remarkable picture of Minnesota’s queer history. Land of 10,000 Loves honors this rich and diverse legacy and is a compelling testament to the sacrifices, scandals, and victories that have affected and continue to affect the lives of queer Minnesotans.

Stewart Van Cleve has gone into the musty archives and brought them to vivid life. His comprehensive and entertaining overview of queer Minnesota history is a total page-turner. This feat is all the more impressive given that he’s writing about people who, for a long time, were trying hard to keep their lives hidden. This important work of regional history is also a kind of family history—documenting our recent past with equal parts painstaking accuracy and unabashed love.

Alison Bechdel, creator of the comic strip DTWOF and former Dyke Heights resident

For too long, LGBTQ communities—including Minnesota’s—have been maligned, misrepresented, and often outright ignored. Myths regarding the queer experience have grown and become embedded in local and national consciousness. The absence of queer stories over time in local historical and popular writing only served to further this ignorance, but great strides have been made in recent decades to celebrate Minnesota’s vibrant queer history. Add to this rising chorus an enchanting new voice: Land of 10,000 Loves, Stewart Van Cleve’s wide-ranging and unprecedented illustrated history of queer life in Minnesota.

Drawing from the renowned Tretter Collection at the University of Minnesota—a vast collection of books, photographs, films, and other historical artifacts that Van Cleve calls “one of the most comprehensive accounts of international queer history in the world”—Land of 10,000 Loves blends oral history, archival narrative, newspaper accounts, and fascinating illustrations to paint a remarkable picture of Minnesota’s queer history. More than 120 concise historical essays lead readers from the earliest evidences of queer life in the state before the Second World War—for example, Oscar Wilde’s visit to Minnesota and “rumors” at the Alexander Ramsey house—to riverfront vice districts, protest and parade sites, bars, 1970s collectives, institutions, public spaces, and private homes. More than 130 illustrations illuminate these histories with images of pride guides, archival photographs, and advertisements from local queer bars, among other extraordinary pieces of ephemera and artifacts. Many of the stories and images are well known, while others have been all but forgotten until now.

Building on foundational works of regional queer history such as The Evening Crowd at Kirmser’s and Queer Twin Cities, the historical vignettes of Land of 10,000 Loves show us that Minnesota—from its biggest cities to its smallest towns—has been, as Van Cleve notes, “queer, to a certain extent, since the very beginning.” Land of 10,000 Loves honors this rich and diverse legacy and is a compelling testament to the sacrifices, scandals, and victories that have affected and continue to affect the lives of queer Minnesotans.

Land of 10,000 Loves

Stewart Van Cleve is a former assistant curator of the Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies at the University of Minnesota.

Land of 10,000 Loves

Stewart Van Cleve has gone into the musty archives and brought them to vivid life. His comprehensive and entertaining overview of queer Minnesota history is a total page-turner. This feat is all the more impressive given that he’s writing about people who, for a long time, were trying hard to keep their lives hidden. This important work of regional history is also a kind of family history—documenting our recent past with equal parts painstaking accuracy and unabashed love.

Alison Bechdel, creator of the comic strip DTWOF and former Dyke Heights resident

Land of 10,000 Loves is in itself an archive of GLBT history, each entry another astute illumination of queer Minnesota places, spaces, and people. We may ourselves be out of the closet, but too much of our history is still hidden. This compendium is a necessary revelation.

Barrie Jean Borich, author of Body Geographic and My Lesbian Husband

Stewart Van Cleve has made my dream real with this book. I dreamt that scholars, one day, would use the Tretter Collection to reflect our queer world back to us. You will learn something reading this book, find some new story you missed because you were too young, too old, or just not in the right place at the right time. It is rich, wide-ranging, and very smart. May many others be inspired to follow his lead.

Patrick Scully, founder, Patrick’s Cabaret

Van Cleve’s academic background in urban studies and public history, combined with his intimate knowledge of Tretter Collection primary sources and his Minnesotan soul, make him—at barely thirty years old—the most capable person in the state (aside from Tretter himself) to write this book.

Lambda Literary

Van Cleve is well-suited to write this interesting history of men and women in our community who had to hide their loves for decades and now march proudly during Gay Pride week.

Pioneer Press

An excellent springboard from which to dive into Queer Minnesota’s history. Van Cleve dared to plunge into the vast mother lode of material at UMN’s Tretter Collection in GLBT studies.

Lavender

Land of 10,000 Loves is a testament to the incredible work that queer people have done to preserve their own history in spite of significant challenges.

Minnesota History

Too often our history is focused on the coasts, and this book shows the deep and incredible activism and culture from this Midwest state. There are more than 120 essays, each of them very brief, providing a road map for those who want to learn more.

Windy City Times

Land of 10,000 Loves

Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments

Introduction

1. What Is Queer Here? Looking for Experiences in Early Minnesota
Ozawwendib of Leech Lake
Lucy “La Roi” Lobdell
Was Alexander Ramsey Queer?
Oscar Wilde’s Visit
The Death of William Williams
The Emporium and Golden Rule Department Stores
Goodtime Parties on Rondo Avenue
Josephine Baker at the Metropolitan Theater
Drag at the Nicollet Hotel
Gertrude Stein visits the Women’s City Club
Clement Haupers
Fort Snelling

2. How We Kept Warm: Queer Life in the Vice Districts of the Twin Cities
Rice Park
The James Montague Murder
The Coney Island
The Hennepin Avenue Baths
Union Bus Depot
The Garrick Theater
Kirmser’s Bar
The Dugout
The Onyx Bar
The Bremer Arcade
The Gay Nineties Complex
Directory Services, Incorporated
The Hotel Andrews
The Brass Rail

3. Act Up Here: A Legacy of Activism
Jack Baker and Michael McConnell’s Marriage License
Allan Spear
The Lesbian Feminist Organizing Committee
The Minnesota Committee for Gay and Lesbian Rights
Lutherans Concerned
Dignity Twin Cities
St. Paul’s Equal Rights Ordinance
The GLC Voice
The Guardianship of Sharon Kowalski
Brian Coyle
The Minnesota Family Council
Gay Community Services, the G.L.C.A.C., and OutFront Minnesota
ACT-UP Demonstrates in Mora
The Bisexual Organizing Project
Paul Koering Votes against Gay Marriage
The Two-Spirit Press Room
Twin Cities Trans March

4. Erotic Cities: Urban Sexuality Explored
The Nineteen Bar
Honey Harold’s Many Ventures
Sutton’s
Queer Warehouse Parties
Foxy’s
The Rossmoor Building
The Town House
The Sandbox/Club Cabaret
The Noble Roman
The Saloon
The Locker Room
Bare-Ass Beach
The Adonis Theater
The Main Club
The Minneapolis Eagle
Margarita Bella
Pi Bar
The Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport

5. Come Outside: Queer People Out in the Open
A Death in Loring Park
Twin Cities Pride
The State Fair
Rising Moon and the Pioneer Farm
Twin Cites Goodtime Softball League
The 1986 Winter Gay Games
Twin Ports Pride
The AIDS Trek
The North Star Gay Rodeo
Outwoods
North Country Bears/Minnesota Bears
The Queer Street Patrol
Capital City Pride
The 1997 Two Spirit Gathering
Twin Cities Black Pride
Pine City Pride
The 2008 Two-Spirit Gathering

6. The Lavender Tower: Institutions of Art and Education
The Transsexual Research Project
Fight Repression of Erotic Expression
The Amazon Feminist Bookstore
The Club
The Northfield Gay Liberation Front
At the Foot of the Mountain Theater
Jim Chalgren
A Brother’s Touch Books
Patrick’s Cabaret
The Quatrefoil Library
Philanthrofund
District 202
Angels in America at the World Theater
The Anoka–Hennepin School District
UMD GLBT Services
People Representing the Sexual Minority (PRiSM)
Straights and Gays for Equality (SAGE)
The Transgender Commission

7. Building Community: Life beyond the Gay Ghetto
Gay House
The Lesbian Resource Center
Christopher Street
A Woman’s Coffeehouse
Dyke Heights
All God’s Children Metropolitan Community Church
Equal Time
The Minnesota AIDS Project (MAP)
Out to Brunch
The Aurora Lesbian Center and the Northland Gay Men’s Center
The NAMES Project Memorial Quilt
The Basket and the Bow
Gay and Lesbian Elders Active in Minnesota (GLEAM)
The Bisexual Connection
The B.E.C.A.U.S.E. Conference
Minnesota Men of Color
Bi Cities!
Lavender Hills
Homo Heights
Shades of Yellow
The Iron Range GLBTA

Epilogue: Dust on the Weathervane


Note on Sources
Notes
Index

Land of 10,000 Loves

UMP blog - 40 years of Twin Cities Pride: We've come a long way, yet still have so far to go

6.21.2012 - As the end of June approaches, people across the United States are celebrating in a festival circuit of unprecedented size. In Boston, an anonymous decorator attached a pink boa and a blonde wig to a statue of William Ellery Channing. In Portland, Oregon, a rainbow tassel appeared on the tail of another statue, a horse, ridden by a stoic Teddy Roosevelt.

Here at home, Minneapolis has unfurled stylish rainbow-themed banners along Hennepin Avenue in preparation for our local celebration of Gay Pride week. Our Pride, like other Pride celebrations around the world, commemorates the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York. We also celebrate the 1969 founding of a pioneering gay and lesbian student group,
Fight Repression of Erotic Expression (FREE), at the University of Minnesota.

Read the full article.