Lesbian Herstory Archives Calendared for Individual Landmark Designation

The Lesbian Herstory Archive, located at 484 14th Street in Park Slope. Image Credit: LPC.

Already located within the Park Slope Historic District, the building will now be considered for a designation as an Individual Landmark. On June 28, 2022, the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to calendar the Lesbian Herstory Archives for designation. Located at 484 14th Street in Park Slope, Brooklyn, this French Renaissance Revival-style rowhouse was constructed in 1908 and has housed the Lesbian Herstory Archives since 1991.

Landmarks Deputy Research Director Margaret Herman gave a presentation to the full commission, explaining the building’s cultural and historical significance. While the Lesbian Herstory Archives was founded in 1974 as “a grassroots attempt to end the silence around lesbian history” at a time when LGBTQ+ rights were under attack, it was first located at the founders’ apartment in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The volunteer-run archive ran out of space by 1990, when the Lesbian Herstory Archives raised enough funds to purchase 484 14th Street, which was already a prominent building within the lesbian community.

After completing renovations at 484 14th Street in 1991, the Lesbian Herstory Archives rose to national prominence. Various high-profile events have been held in the current space, such as a marathon reading by authors Audre Lorde and Adrienne Rich. The Lesbian Herstory Archives has continued to grow their collection since moving into its current space, digitizing files to help improve public access.

The building is located within the Park Slope Historic District, which was designated in 1973 before the archives moved into the neighborhood. As such, there is no additional recognition for the property’s rich history since the Lesbian Herstory Archives moved in. Based on its important contributions to both LGBTQ+ and women’s history, the Research Department recommended that the Lesbian Herstory Archives be calendared for consideration as an Individual Landmark.

Landmarks Chair Sarah Carroll discussed the Commission’s ongoing effort to designate influential LGBTQ+ landmarks, and noted that the Commission’s own Research Department has relied on the Lesbian Herstory Archives in the past. Chair Carroll stated that the archives are “invaluable across the nation,” adding that she was “very excited to be recognizing the Lesbian Herstory Archives in this particular moment as we wrap up Pride Month.”

Landmarks voted unanimously to calendar the Lesbian Herstory Archives for designation. Landmarks will hold a public hearing at a future date.

By: Cassidy Strong (Cassidy is a CityLaw intern and a New York Law School student, Class of 2024.)

LPC: The Lesbian Herstory Archives, 484 14th Street, Brooklyn (LP- 2262) (June 28, 2022).


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.