Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Milwaukee Tavern (Tulsa)

East 15th Street and South Boston (1956)
Milwaukee Tavern

Location: East 15th Street & Cincinati Avenue, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA

Opened/Closed: 1940s/1950s

This is going to be one very short report. I have found only one reference to this lesbian bar, and even that reference was pretty brief. It comes from a piece called Flash from the Past by Tim Turner, and involves the history of gay bars in Tulsa. Only one specifically lesbian bar is mentioned:

The Milwaukee Tavern, a 40s and 50s lesbian bar located at about 15th and Cincinnati

...And that's all, folks! This is how challenging it can be to document lost womyn's space.

East 15th Street and South Boston (2009)
I have never visited Tulsa in person, but it appears that the neighborhood around the Milwaukee Tavern has been extensively bulldozed/redeveloped. The photo above is the intersection of 15th Street and South Boston looking east. South Boston is one block west of Cincinnati Avenue, so we're definitely peering in the right direction. And even if you can't see the particular building, you're getting a feel for the time and place. This particular photo was taken in 1956. (Damn, looks like somebody's new Buick got into a fender bender, eh?)

To the right is a photo of the intersection of 15th Street and South Boston in 2009. Sure has lost any neighborhood feel to it, hasn't it?

East 15th Street and Cincinnati (2011)
And over to the left is the intersection of 15th Street and Cincinnati today. Also stripped of any historical texture, and completely devoid of any human scale. I sometimes wonder just how many lesbian bars were lost to these kinds of urban "renewal" (obliteration) projects over time....

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