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National Register of Historic Places Program

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.


Property Name Cherry Grove Community House & Theater
Reference Number 13000373
State New York
County Suffolk
Town Cherry Grove
Street Address 180 Bayview Walk
Multiple Property Submission Name
Status Listed 6/4/2013
Areas of Significance Social History, Performing Arts, Community Planning & Development
Link to full file
The Cherry Grove Community House and Theatre on Fire Island is eligible for the National Register under Criterion A in the areas of Social History, Performing Arts, and Community Planning and Development. The Community House and Theatre is exceptionally significant in social history for the enormous role it played in shaping what gradually evolved into America's First Gay and Lesbian Town. Located in the hamlet of Cherry Grove on Fire Island, the building was floated across Long Island's Great South Bay to serve as the community house for the Cherry Grove Property Owners Association, Inc., which organized in 1944 to serve this small, beach colony's civic needs. In 1948, a theater addition was constructed, completing the building seen today. As an organization, the association influenced the community's development, facilitating gradual social acceptance, self-affirmation, and integration of its gay and lesbian residents into Cherry Grove's governing affairs and civic life. This integration of homosexual residents into daily life and events at its community house afforded Cherry Grove a singular status; it became the one of the first and, for many years, the only gay and lesbian influenced geography in the United States. Its metamorphosis played out against turbulent social and political upheavals -- our nation's response to the pre- and early days of the homosexual liberation movement. The 1969 uprising at the Stonewall Inn, which is largely credited as the turning point in the gay civil rights movement, has been documented by numerous scholars. For the purposes of the National Register program, a thorough discussion of the events leading to the riots and its impact can be found in the 1999 Stonewall National Register nomination and its subsequent National Historic Landmark designation report. The nomination of the Cherry Grove Community House and Theatre is especially significant because it offers the rare opportunity to document an entire GLBT community in the pre-Stonewall era.


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Properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places under four criteria: A, B, C, and D. For information on what these criterion are and how they are applied, please see our Bulletin on How to Apply the National Register Criteria