Nathan Marsak


  1. nathan
    January 4, 2009 @ 4:14 pm

    card1More on 221 (not to be confused with some other late-Victorian 221) from good people at the Library of Congress.


    Girvigian’s report runs like so:

    221 South Bunker Hill Avenue (originally 123)

    Two-story frame residence, built in 1895, attributed to Frederick Sparr or Judge Halton. (From interviews of residents on Hill.)

    A two-story frame residence with finished attic; was finally rooming house containing 20 rooms; total of 4,342 square feet, plus 99 square foot open wood front porch; 349 square foot covered rear porch and 260 square foot brick rear covered porch. Foundation was brick.

    Exterior or typical frame clapboard siding; pitched roof (rolled composition and metal); 20’ x 30’ basement with frame walls and concrete floor. 17’ x 25’ high brick wall at rear; 145’ x 3/12’ high glazed block wall at front.

    Interior of typical pine board flooring, wood doors, windows, trim and stairway; walls and ceilings of lath and plaster. Overall dimensions: 42’ x 78’, apporximately.

    September 1963.


    A little digging for “Frederick Sparr” yielded only that there was a man so named in London, who, as a believer in “gay funerals,” shocked mourners in 1907 by officiating at the funeral of a church deacon dressed in a gray suit of clothes. “I am heartily sick of the paganism connected to Christian funerals,” said Sparr, “…so I wore a gray suit and we sang the Easter hymn.”

    As to Halton, there was a Deputy District Attorney Halton here in the 90s. Whether or not he became a Judge, much less built this house, remains a mystery.



  2. nathan
    January 4, 2009 @ 5:07 pm

    It wasn’t that gay folk bunked on Bunker exclusively at 221—but 221 was an important touchstone in the gay movement.

    221 South Bunker Hill was the home of Tony Reyes, aka Antonio Sanchez, life-partner of “Dauntless” Don Slater.

    One spring night in 1945, when Slater was twenty-one years old, he went cruising in nearby Pershing Square, where he met a slender Hispanic boy of about sixteen named Antonio Sanchez. As Slater described the meeting to Hansen, the two repeatedly bumped into each other while prowling through the bushes. “What! You again?” they laughed. They joked that they must have been meant for each other, and indeed, they were to remain partners until Slater’s death nearly fifty-two years later. After living together for a while in a ski lodge belonging to Slater’s parents, Slater and Sanchez moved into an apartment at 221 South Bunker Hill Avenue, in one of the Victorian mansions Slater admired.

    In fact, Joseph Hansen’s biography of Slater, A Few Doors West of Hope, is so named because 221 was just that (truth be told, 221 was a stone’s throw east of Hope St., but we must suppose west comes off more mellifluously).

    Note Sanchez’s 221 address on the 1953 Articles of Incorporation for One, and outgrowth of “homophile collective” Mattachine Society (founder Harry Hay details another Pershing Square encounter here).


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