Friday, January 09, 2009

City Hall History

One of the other things that struck me after seeing the movie Milk was the history held in certain places.

This may sound obvious and it may seem strange that it struck me as special, but I grew up in suburbia, where, if they were people, I would have gone to high school with most of the buildings. Where recorded history goes back to the developer who named your street by, say, some combination of the name of a type of flora and the word 'view' or 'grove' or 'place'. I also grew up where those historical locations we do have primarily speak to my LDS background.

Through the movie, though, I kept recognizing places from our second marriage, in 2004 when San Francisco started giving licenses for the first time. That's all described here, but in this post I just wanted to share some of the snapshots I took that day, as they've taken on new meaning for me.

While there, for example, I had no idea about the protests that pushed up against these doors, the steps taken to be sure I could have the life I have now even in Utah.
I didn't know that Dan White sneaked into this building and killed Milk and the Mayor a matter of yards from where we prepared our paperwork.
I didn't know the first openly gay politician asked his staff to make a grand gay entrance up these stairs, to be sure we were seen.

These were the stairs on which we were married a second time, and, man, you'd not believe the feel of love and joy in that place that day. Each time a marriage was performed and the couple embraced a crowd gathered around the landing would burst into cheers. Those flowers were donated to us all the way from Canada. Read my description I linked to above; it was a great day.

(Doesn't our JP look like she should teach at Hogwarts?)

Check out also how beautiful the the dome above those stairs is:

If we have to do it again in Ca, I'd not mind doing it there once more. And to top it off we got to meet the Mayor on our way out (this time without the pigeon ;-))

Anyway, living in the suburbia and in the US it seems I get little chance to feel those ghosts of history. I was glad to have them inserted into a bunch of our old photos, even if they only date back to the 70's :-).


Ezra said...

As an architecture buff, I think the biggest shame about modern america/suburbia is that practically nothing is built with grandness and longevity in mind. It's utilitarianism and practicality exclusively these days, and any "art" is an afterthought, attempting to make the building blend in a bit.

Can you imagine a city building a Public building with that kind of beauty and scale today? Unheard of--one, because there are no craftsmen, but two, it's too expensive, and three, no one seems to care.

I hope when prop 8 is overturned, you'll be able to return and be married for good!

Sean said...

I am glad to see that your photographer got a picture of you guys without that pesky pigeon. :)

Guy said...

Ah, great post. I LOVE our City Hall, too, even more after seeing Milk, but especially since the weddings of 2004. That was such a magical time here, seeing the throngs of loving couples and well-wishers for weeks, with kind, supportive members of the community, straight and gay, braving the rain and 'cold' to bring food and hot drinks, blankets and flowers and lots of love and warm wishes for all who stood in line, sometimes for days (we stood for two and loved every minute of it). Yes, I too love the history of old buildings in the city. Our 123 y.o. Victorian that just in the last half century alone has been a home "for coloreds only", a brothel (honest!), a Zen Buddhist commune and now our family home. Or our home in Heidelberg, from the 1600s, built as a school for the prince's children, then a furniture factory, restored to residences when we moved in, with walls three feet thick, original wood floors and all. Can't often find that in suburbia where I also grew up in new homes. Not that some aren't really wonderful, mind you, but they do lack history and the quality of the past.

Ned said...

Hi Scot, I enjoy your blog, the microscopic images and especially the family pictures. I grew up in a family of four (two kids and two parents). I look at your photos and think I was once a happy little kid like your boys. Thanks for helping me to remember.

angryyoungwoman said...

Great post. I always get lost in the suburbs because I can't tell the difference between the houses--they all look alike to me. I love interesting architectural features, and you have shown some good ones in your photos. Thanks.

Scot said...

[pay no attention to that last comment... My man was impersonating me again]

Ezra, I do agree. There's nothing but buildings build with a life expectancy in my area. At least churches still seems to be spending big on architectures, but not like they used to.
Sean. SEAN!

Where have you been!?

And I though no one would understand the pigeon remark :-).

Good to see you; I miss our chats about Heroes.

"Our 123 y.o. Victorian that just in the last half century alone has been a home "for coloreds only", a brothel (honest!), a Zen Buddhist commune and now our family home..."

Ah see, that's what our home is missing, the ghosts. I wonder in decades to come if the story of our home, told by some young couple, will start with "It was built way back in 2004 by a gay couple..." :-).
Hey there Ned, thanks for the kind words, and welcome!
"I always get lost in the suburbs because I can't tell the difference between the houses--they all look alike to me. "

It's funny. When we have people who need directions coming to our home I find it's terribly difficult without google maps. I mean, to say "turn after the LDS church" or "after the off white stucco home" describes every turn one could take out here.