History of Gay and Lesbian Life in Wisconsin - Businesses - Bars and Clubs

 
Legion Bar
Location: N. 6th Street (between Wisconsin Ave. and Wells St.)

Opened:
Closed:

c1930s
c1930-40s
Clientele:

Male/ female
Bar/ social

 

 
       
 

According to Bunny, before the Aiellos owned the Mint Bar, Angelo Aiello was involved with the "Legion Bar". Bunny believed it was on Sixth Street south of Wells on the west side of the street, in a block that was later redeveloped as Firestone / Parking Ramp. (That lot is now vacant, as the Firestone/Ramp was torn down in 2015 for safety reasons.) Researcher Michail Takach found some photos from the 1930's showing the block, and there is a tiny tavern space visible that could have been this "Legion Bar."

But Bunny's recollections have perplexed researchers, trying to nail down the name and location of this mysterious "Legion Bar" on 6th St between Wisconsin & Wells. It is said to have had a shameless "blow and go" operation, or gay back room, behind its jukebox in the 1930s or 1940s. Researcher Michail has recently found evidence that this place actually existed -- and what's more, "Legion Bar" wasn't its real name. It was actually an American Legion Hall with a bar.

Michail is developing more details; watch for an update of this page soon.

(While the City Directory shows a "Legion Dug Out" in the Kilbourn Hotel (626 N 3rd St, between Michigan and Wisconsin, across the street from Woolworths), that bar is listed as being open 1953-1956, much later than our source indicates. This was not a Legion/ VFW type bar, just named "Legion Bar".)

More information about this business is welcomed from anyone who can contribute it.

(A book, "LGBT Milwaukee" by Michail Takach, seeks to make the story of LGBT Milwaukee accessible, visible, and portable for future generations--before it is too late. The so-called "Legion Bar" is one of many early LGBT landmarks documented in the book.)

 


View of the area in mid-1930s
(Photo courtesy Milwaukee County Historical Society)


Closer view

Credits: contents, design and arrangement by Don Schwamb.
Information contributed by Michail Takach.
Photo by special permission of Milwaukee County Historical Society.
Last updated: August-2016.

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