Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Foxy's Bar

Ad for Foxy's Bar (1979)
Foxy's Bar

Location: 249 West Seventh Street, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

Founded: 1968

Closed: 1984

Sometimes I have no choice but to piece together the history of a womyn's space from the tiny fragments left behind. Other times, somebody else has done all the work for me. In those cases, I'm more than happy to share their work and (hopefully!) introduce it to a wider audience. This history of Foxy's comes from

Foxy’s Bar was a popular neighborhood bar and night spot for queer women who settled in the West Seventh Neighborhood of St. Paul. Women likely chose West Seventh--formerly a neighborhood of Eastern European immigrants--because it was the safest neighborhood for its price with easy access to downtown St. Paul’s jobs.

Society prevented women from accessing the same jobs as men for much of the 20th century. Thus, specific sites of employment were dominated by women: namely hospitals, print shops, factories, office buildings, and government service centers. These occupations were concentrated in downtown, and the concentration spurned a nearby settlement of female households in the city's apartment district.

Once a socially acceptable location for women to live together, the large district stretched from the old seven corners area (roughly the site of the Xcel Energy Center), north to the Cathedral, towards the Minnesota State Capitol and Central Park, and east to Broadway Street. Sadly, postwar ideas regarding marriage and child rearing removed the social support for female households.

At the same time, plans for the Minnesota State Capitol Grounds, Interstate 94, and Interstate 35E demolished much of the old apartment district where female couples used to live. Without other affordable options close to their workplaces, determined women (or women with the luxury of choice) settled along West Seventh Street and established a separatist lesbian community.

Foxy’s opened in 1968, and by all accounts, it did not discriminate against men. The lesbian nightclub accepted women and men from all backgrounds. However, and perhaps as a result of nearby industrial work sites that employed butch women, some prospective patrons were turned away by their own beliefs in negative rumors. These rumors identified Foxy’s as a place for “Bad Dykes,” or aggressive butch women.

Foxy's closed at its Seventh Street location in 1984, and the Over the Rainbow Bar replaced it. The bar's owners next opened the Castle Royal on The West Side Flats before Honey Harold reopened Foxy's in the former site of The Grand Finale in downtown St. Paul.

Leaflet: Foxy's ad from 1979 Twin Cities Gay Pride Guide, courtesy of the Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.