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Tool Box Bar, 1963

Poster design by Sonia Harris

The copyrighted material included is included below with the permission of Justin Hall.


The following two page history of San Francisco's Tool Box bar is part of the "Marching Toward Pride" series of posters documenting Gay History drawn by artist Justin Hall.

On his web site, he explains:

It illustrates the story of the first leather bar in SF’s South of Market (SOMA) district and the beginnings of leather culture in the city.

The poster title should have been TOOL BOX BAR, 1962, since that was the year the bar actually opened. I had read that the date was 1963, but was corrected by Gayle Rubin, who is the greatest historian of the early leather scene. I changed the date in the body of the poster, but unfortunately, I forgot to do so in the title.

Click the following images to view them at full size.

Further Reading

More from Justin Hall

Other episodes in Justin's Marching Toward Pride series include:

  • Daughters of Bilitis
  • Jose Sarria's Campaign
  • Council on Religion and The Homosexual
  • Compton's Cafeteria Riots
  • San Fracisco Pride

In Print

  • Jack Fritscher "Artist Chuck Arnett: His life/our times" in Thompson, Mark (editor). 1991. Leatherfolk -- Radical Sex, People, Politics, and Practice. 1st ed. Boston: Alyson Books.
  • Gayle Rubin "The Miracle Mile: South of Market and Gay Male Leather Culture, 1962-1997" from Reclaiming San Francisco: History, Politics, Culture by James Brook, Chris Carlsson, & Nancy J. Peters. San Francisco: City Lights Publishers. 3rd edition (January 1, 1998)

On Line

Additional relevant links can be found on EvilMonk.org's History section landing page.

Another attempt to recreate the Tool Box mural with Artificial Intelligence.