Uncle Donald's Castro Street
1998 G U E S T B O O K

Selections from the comments of 1998 visitors . . .

On 8/11/98 ...
Alan White
You have created something very, very special. You have grasped so very well that the world we lived in these past three decades are indeed what is called history. Sometimes we do not realize the impact or the contributions we make. You have placed our history in front of us so we may see what we have done.

As the media coordinator for San Francisco's 1998 Pride activities, I find I can never forget the rich heritage we bring with us every June. I remember the first gay pride event I was honored to be a part of. The date was June 22, 1979, the place: Grace Cathedral and the event was the first Gay Musical Celebration at Grace Cathedral. One year later I would become the media coordinator for the first gay pride parade, the year Robin Tyler stormed the stage and caused a revolution which would result in the inclusion of lesbians, in the name as well as the planning of the participation of the event as never before.

This year, I will again have the opportunity to make a contribution to the annual candlelight march on November 27, 1998, the 20th anniversary of the assassination of Harvey Milk and George Moscone. Like your website, this event provides an opportunity for young people, many not alive during the times of Harvey Milk, to understand, in some small measure, their own history.

For your contributions to chronicle our history I send you a most heartfelt thank you. You should be so very proud of the work you have done to create this website. I salute you.

Allen White

On 8/2/98 ...
Geoff Mitchell
From: Portland, OR
Comments: Hi, Uncle Donald! I just watched a documentary on Harvey Milk, and found your site that way. Being 27 years old, I missed most of that very important era for the gay community, but I have always been appreciative of the hard work and great people that were involved. I feel that most of my freedoms as a gay man today can be directly traced back to historical events like Harvey Milk's election and assassination, Stonewall, and the like. Wanting to find out what ever became of Dan White, I searched for his and Harvey's names on the web, and came directly to your Dan White epilogue. Though I do not wish death upon anyone, I am glad he took his own life rather than having an angry gay person further besmirch our collective reputation. Again, thanks for the (very well done!) website. I will tell my friends and family about it. Right now, though, I'm going to check out the rest of it! ~Peace and love~ Geoff

On 7/15/98 ...
From: Michigan
Comments: Just saw the 1984 film about Harvey Milk. Sorry to say I really didn't pay much attention to this situation back in the early 80's. The film really touched me and I was very upset to hear Dan White's sentence. Where was I back then? Anyway, Harvey's story touched me and I wanted to know what happened to Dan White. Your website told me. I do not believe in capital punishment and I believe that Dan White took care of it himself without having one of us do it. Just my 2 cents. Peace, Marilyn (a straight 51 year old woman)

* On 7/6/98 ...
Rafael Anaya
From: Atlantic City NJ USA
Comments: Well Uncle Donald I want to thank you. I'm 25 and grew up in a small town in Brazil where gays were not discussed then we moved to the Jersey Shore and once again gays were not discussed. I was one of the lucky ones because my parents(mom) would discuss anything. I knew only what she knew about gays for years. I look back now and realize that old mom knew quite a bit. My thirst for anything gay grew as I did and I hunted everywhere for anything dealing with gays. At that time all most everything was linked to the newly named gay cancer. So most of the information was negative even if it was written by a gay person. I sit here today and thank god that someone like yourself has finally filled in a lot of the pieces of the puzzle. And thank you for letting me know that there was a positive side. I wish a site like this was available to me when I was younger. On behalf of those searching for something positive about being gay Thank you.

On 7/5/98 ...
robin weiss
From: las vegas
Comments: At work tonight i was told a story by one of the waiters which was connected to the murder of Harvey Milk and George Mascone. Feeling very interested in the subject and always willing to increase my knowledge I got off work early and headed straight for my DELL and searched for the twinkie defense. Your website came up and here I am about 45 minutes later. Thank you for the info. When i have more time i will most definatly come back to educate myself some more, as my mother has told me all my life.. learn my robin... the only way they can take knowledge away is to cut your head off... So thank you again Uncle Donald... great website.. and greatly appreciated by me. Robin Weiss.

On 6/30/98 ...
Roberto Polastri Vieira
From: South America, Brazil, Goi·s, Goi,nia
Comments: Very nice page. I loved and found the informations that I was looking for. Go ahead with your page! May I send a kiss for you in portuguese? Here you have - UM BEIJO Best whises, Roberto

On 6/16/98 ...
Crystal Lite Visiting From Toronto
From: Polk and Geary
Comments: I found your magnificient site on my first visit to San Francisco in Jan 1997 and as I don't own a computer at home I check out your site whenever I visit. It makes me long for a time that will never happen again and I thank you for putting so much love into your creation. I hope every person who views this site will put as much effort and love into creating a similar site for their own area. Our history needs to be documented and remembered and passed on to those who follow in our footsteps. Thank you again Uncle donald from the bottom of my heart!!! All My Love And Gratitude, Crystal Lite

* On 5/22/98 ...
Josh Blauvelt /
From: the super shnazzy dj jazzy josh
Comments: I want to thank you for what you have done. I am sort of a history buff (at 19, wonderous, huh?) and I would have loved to have been "of age" during 1970's New York and San Francisco. Unfortunately, I was born in late 1978, so whatever participation I can experience during the early days of the the liberation movement has to be vicariously in the memories of others. So I appreciate your web page immensely. I just have a quick comment: in your section "Uncle Don's Uncle Donald Page" I think there is a little confused. I knew a little bit about Harvey Milk, and you referred to him as "a strong charasmatic leader." For those who don't read your Harvey Milk page beforehand, it is a little confusing to follow, because you don't elaborate on the subject; there is no mention that he was in politics, nor is there an explanation as to Anita Bryant is (I knew thanks to Armistead Maupin and his "Tales from the City" Series). I had heard Mr. White claimed "too many twinkies" contributed to his actions, but I thought this was some sort of myth until I read some entries in your guestbook. Anyway, you may want to address that when you are talking about Mr. Milk so readers will understand what you mean. At any rate this is one hell of a web page and I can see you put so much time and effort into this, and I am impressed. Myself, I visted San Francisco for the first time in February 1997 for President's weekend or whatever. I instantly became enamoured with The City, and regretted leaving. I was 18 at the time, and although I was underage, I got into "Phoenix" and had a wonderful time (Although I wanted to see other clubs, I was afraid I wouldn't be let in so I didn't try, I'm from So Calif and Clubs there are extremely stringent on age restrictions and such). This summer I have an internship in San Jose, so I will once again visit San Francisco and this time able to actually explore more for myself on my own. When there I would love to meet for lunch maybe, and possible a tour? (I know you aren't a guide, but I don't know, you are resourceful so who better to ask :) Anyway i was looking for info on San Jose and San Francisco when I stumbled onto your page. Well this is getting long winded and I don't want to take up too much space. Thanks once again, and take care, guy.

* On 4/23/98 ...

I am genuinely moved. Having been born in Children's Hospital on California Street, December 25, 1968, I was going on ten on November 27, 1978. I lived in The City for most of my life that matters to me. To this day, the events of those times bring an emotional reaction. When the Mayor and the Supervisor were assassinated, I was unprepared for the shock. Until that time, I believed there were certain unchangeable constants in my life. As a child, I knew what "gay" meant and understood that my mother had taught me tolerance, while others would (and did) have un-like thinkers dead. So, too, I understood who Harvey Milk was and what he stood for, as much as a ten-year-old can. These two murdered individuals were, in addition to significant figures to the gay community, Officials of the City. That city is my city, San Francisco. That anyone could, or would want to, murder such officials of MY CITY was the biggest shock of all. Of course this is a simplistic view, but I was ten years old, and that is how I saw it.

Subequent to Dan White's sentencing, riots and protests occurred. In retrospect, this should have been expected. At the time, when I was going on eleven, I was scared and surprised. All I could think of was my grandmother. She was a maid in Del Webb's TownHouse Hotel on Market Street for many years. On her way home every day she transferred busses in front of City Hall. Her home, and mine and my mother's at the time, was a flat on 6th Avenue at California Street. From radio and television, I knew that there was violence near my grandmother. The year before, some obscure (in my ten-year-old mind) political figure had murdered important people. I wondered, was My wonderful City, my world, the only environment I knew, becoming like some strange violence-ridden country in my history books? And was all this about to take away my grandmother, then my mother and my friends, and the whole City? I was frightened, when Milk and Moscone were killed, and the fear returned when Dan White was unjustly released.

As an adult, I have a different perspective. These events comingle with other defining moments in my life, including the earthquake of 1989. Your words and images have allowed me to retouch a part of myself -- I now understand how defining, indeed, the events of 1978 and 1979 in San Francisco, California, were, to me personally. For that I thank you.

* On 4/17/98 ...
Ernie Potvin ONE/IGLA
From: Los Angeles
Comments: I am the webmaster for our institution... ONE Institute, International Gay and Lesbian Archives.... a volunteer task but aside from all that... your site is spectacular!!!! and historically so very valuable... Gay and Lesbian history is our thing at ONE/IGLA... I am very impressed with your efforts and would like to see your efforts saved off and stored in one or more media at the ONE/IGLA collection... Are you affiliated with a San Francisco G/L history group or are your efforts those of a independent enthusiast Whatever... I would like us to be more actively in supportive contact... My own history I am a 66 year old activist who first became an activist as founder of the first hispanic gay organization in 1974 on the island of Puerto Rico. I also published a monthly newspaper in Spanish in San Juan from 1974 through 1976... many other involvements since then in the Los Angeles area. Enough already! Ernie

* On 4/4/98 ...
Lynwood Scott Miller
From: Atlanta
Comments: I moved to San Francisco in 1973, I left in 1981. Moreover, I only have memories of that special time in my life. There's really no one left to reflect and remember with. . . Thank you for giving me and many others the chance to look back at that wonderful period of time. Ahh. . . the times we had. . . I you'd like a copy of the "All Male" production of HELLO DOLLY starring Michelle that was done at the Japan Center in 1979 let me know. ( I played Cornelius. . . to rather kind reviews if I do say so myself! :-) ) I loved the Toad Hall story. . . it was the first bar I went to when I moved to San Francisco. . . I was afraid to go into Twin Peaks because of the big windows. . . accustomed to dark places that were hidden. . . all that exposure would have been too much to handle. . .HA! Again thank you. . . LSM

THANK You, too!
TWIN PEAKS, on the corner of Castro and Market and 17th streets does offer a lot of exposure. It was irreverently referred to back then as THE GLASS COFFIN because of the picture windows and a predominantly older clientele. They are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year!


On 3/23/98 ...
Rudi Matias
From: Los Angeles
Comments: Hi, I'm a former resident of SF & the Castro area of the '70s. My Mom still lives in the City (Dolores & 22nd). Dad passed away there & is buried at the Presido. I left SF Jan.'76 & spent the next 22yrs in Honolulu with my Love, Louis, whom I met at the Castro St.Baths, Aug.15,'75.He was a native Hawn. He passed away July15,'97, no not Aids, heart failure, in our bed at 3AM, at the age of 47.Ileft Hawaii Oct.1,'97 & now live here in LA. We both loved SF & visited many many times. The Ole Castro was very special to us.I've yet to return but will this May & relive some very happy memories. Your site is very special to me. Thank You.Rudi Matias

On 3/13/98 ...
Fred Biddle
From: Hollywood, Calif.
Comments: You're doing the Lord's work, man! What a wonderful setup! Now that I've moved to California from Boston, I can get up to The City reasonably often, but until I actually move there, your site helps. Thanks!

Stuff I'd love to see here: 1) A subsection on the mighty leather community, starting with a history of "The Tool Box": Life magazine, of all places, actually ran some excellent pix of antediluvian San Francisco leathermen in a 1964 "expose" of the "sick homosexual lifestyle" that year...I forget the month. 2) More dyke history. 3) A History of the Folsom St./Dore Alley street fairs 4) A History of Discos (and Disco) as related to S.F.: Sylvester/Two Tons, the Fantasy/Megatone/Moby Dick labels, the I-beam/Trocadero/End-Up, etc. 5) Black queer history in S.F. (and the eventual split to Oakland). 6) The lyrics to the Village People's "San Francsico (You Got Me)"!!!!!!!
Love, Fred

I appreciate the suggestions. You can find some of these things on PLANET SOMA (South Of Market Area - the Folsom - historically the home of the leather community) listed on my LINKS page. Also check out KWEER.COM for galleries of the street fairs. As far as dyke history is concerned, I don't have the resources to attempt that and I think it would be a more appropriate project for a woman.
Believe me - trying to document the CASTRO of the 70's is more than enough work for one person. This web site will be 2 years on-line in May, and I've only touched on a few of the many many topics that need to be documented.

On 3/13/98 ...
Steven Palmer
From: New York
Comments: Dear Uncle Donald:
This is a very nice page. I lived in San Francisco in 1980-81, and lived at Sanchez and 18th from August through October, 1980. I spent most of my time up in the Haight-Ashbury, but did roam Castro as well. I was a hippy boy in what had become a pretty clone atmosphere, so the Haight suited me better. In fact, at the time, the Haight was a lovely district -- hippies, punks, gays, etc. Now it is a bummy drag. I hate going there. Anyway, I visit San Francisco about twice a year. It is my mecca. I remember returning to San Francisco in the mid-late 1980's and feeling desparately sad on Castro Street. In fact, there were VISIBLY less gay men in all of San Francisco. Castro Street was desolation row. In the last few years, it has come back to life and when I was there last October, it was really jumping. I am going to San Francisco on March 20th for the 10th Annual HIV Update Conference (I'm a Physician Assistant in the HIV Clinic at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York). I would enjoy meeting you because I am interested in documenting the history of gays in the Haight-Ashbury, especially during the so-called Summer of Love. I read that you had lived there in 1969, and you may be a very good resource for me. Thanks. Steven

* On 3/8/98 ...
Forrest Oliver
From: Houston, Texas
Comments: In my mid-forties I have just recently come out of the closet. This week I read "THE MAYOR OF CASTRO STREET" (as I was told it was required reading for gays to learn more about our history). I was curious about Dan White and what happened to him. A search engine brought me to your page and I was pleased to find such a wealth of information about the 70's in the Castro area. Thanks for the pages Forrest Oliver

* On 3/8/98 ...
Bobby Gray
From: Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Comments: Actually, I found this page through the ADVOCATE mention. I called some friends in San Francisco who have lived there for a couple of years (one of them works at DADDY'S) to read them some of the fascinating history. I can't thank you enough for this page! I'm planning on finally moving to San Francisco later this year (from my computer to God's ear!) and your page is almost like being there already. I was here (Ft. Lauderdale) during Anita (I don't collect buttons either - only have about 500). I also have the ANITA SUCKS ORANGES button. I don't know why it's taken me this long to finally move. I knew San Francisco was my true home the first time I visited. Soon it will be my home in fact. When I visited The first time, I called my boss (a straight woman) from a pay-phone at the corner of Castro and 18th. I told her where I was, and she said "I take it this location has some significance?" So I told her, "Well, let me put it this way - if being Gay was a religion, I'm in St. Peter's Square!" Bobby Gray

On 3/1/98 ...
Emily ("Ruby")
From: Ohio
Comments: I'm borrowing my boyfriend's Dead Kennedys compilation CD ('give me convenience OR give me death'), right? And I got to song #9, "I Fought The Law", a song about Daniel White. Well, I'd never heard of the Twinkie Defense, until I'd heard that song. I called my boyfriend and asked him about it, and he tried explaining the story to me, but he didn't know what the Twinkie Defense was. When I was surfing the internet, I typed in "search for: Daniel James White -- the Twinkie Defense". Well, it brought me to one of your pages, about Daniel White. I found some other links too, pages about the Elephant Walk, and Harvey Milk. I just wanted to thank you for posting those pages, because without them, I'd be completely lost, and wouldn't know where to begin looking. Now I have pictures and info to show my boyfriend. Thank you very much!

* On 2/28/98 ...
Michael Stamos /
From: Clipper & Douglass (SF)
Comments: As someone whose family has been part of San Francisco since 1912, I really appreciate the history you've preserved. So many people forget (or chose not to remember) that there were many evolutions of "the Castro" Eureka Valley during the 60s, 70s and prior. I'm sending you're URL off to lots of my "newcomer" friends. My first memories (given that I'm 34) of "the Castro" come from going to the Castro Street Fair in the 70s with my sister. From what I remember - I think at one time the fair was only on Castro between Market and 19th. (and that was with some room to spare) Thanks Again, Michael

* On 2/6/98 ...
ray babin
From: new york
Comments: Thank You! Having picked up on the site in the advocate, I am too overwhelmed for words. Thanks for a wonderful site and sharing gay history. The life of Harvey Milk overwhelms me; I was too young to know of him while he was alive. Thanks for keeping his memory, spirit, and even his voice alive!
I might also add the color, photos, speed, links, and voice included in your site are by far the best of any site I've ever come across. Kudos Uncle Don! Queer spirit rages on!

You make me blush!

* On 1/31/98 ...
michael oglesby
From: in the ozarks near fayetteville,arkansas
Comments: hey thanks for the memories and the beautiful photos. my lover and i marched in the 75 parade and then moved to sf in 76. we have a photo of the 75 march from harvey's shop that includes us. we treasure it. yes we are still together 25 yrs. oh yeah-we were almost thrown out of the march for wearing "faggot revolution" T-shirts! a member of BAGL was very upset with us! we got the shirts from friends in Iowa City so for once the midwest was too much for sf!! thanks again for your work.we walk a radical fairie path here in the woods and live in a gay/lesbian community (we all own individual pieces of land but there is alot of us--no more communes thank you very much) we were very poor in sf and lived in welfare hotels during the era of burning hotels for insurance money. just before we came back to the ozarks in 77 the hotel next door was burned(north beach) and shots were being fired on Market Street during a transit strike.. of course nearly all of our friends from that time are in the spirit world and hey we have some unbelievable ancestors! weell i will tell all my friends here about your site. thanks again michael oglesby

On 1/31/98 ...
From: s.f.
Comments: I rode my bike in the "Dykes on bikes" (so long women on wheels) in 1980 (I believe it was the first year there was such a contingent). Thing's have sooo changed and never could be what they were. I've lived in and around the Castro since 1976, and I wish the people I used to go out with were around. Whether they are alive I don't know for sure (this city has always been transient and I have the luxury of beliving that they just went back from whence they came). Keep the web site up! It is important! s1.

* On 1/30/98 ...
Tom Martin
From: Modesto, CA
Comments: Actually, I found you through the Advocate (Feb. 3rd). Great fun! I came out in '72 and spent a lot of my "formative years" in the Castro. I knew Michael Ader, a bartender at Toad hall, quite well. My partner at that time had an apartment and Michael was his roommate. Jerry went to SF weekly for the Flower Market as he owned a floral shop in Stockton. Each year when my winter break came around (I teach high school in Modesto), I went to the City and stayed at the apartment. Michael and I always would do a "movie marathon," sometimes seeing as many as three films in a day. I don't know the year, but I remember that the Toad Hall employees and friends "took over" Beach Blanket Babylon for a night and did a wonderful send-up of all the songs and costumes. I remember that a "Hard Man is Good to Find" was just one of the many hilarious tunes that the staff of Toad Hall re-wrote for that fabulous evening. Those were great days! I really loved seeing the PBS series "Tales of the City" because so much of what I experienced as a young gay man was embodied in that. Thanks for what you are doing. babylon

* On 1/27/98 ...
Jamie Norton
From: West Hollywood
Comments: actually you've been plugged in the advocate, so look for a few more visitors in the weeks to come...i grew up in northern california (muir beach in fact) and lived in sf between '71 and '77. a bunch of that time was spent right there in the castro! sigh...your pages are great, and they evoke a time in my life, in many people's lives, of self-discovery, self-examination, not to mention fun! sometimes here in southern california i get pangs of home-sickness for the old neighborhood, the old days...sometimes it seems that young people have fewer choices and live under more rigid codes of behavior than we did during that incredible time...i feel very lucky to have experienced it...it was a golden window of time...thanks for bringing it home to me here!

* On 1/27/98 ...
Joe Hickman
From: a town of 1100 right wing christians in Indiana
Comments: I'm sitting here bawling my eyes out after reading about and seeing the good old days in my beloved Castro. I lived in LA in the 70's, but visited SF frequently until I moved there in '82. The spirit of optimism and hope for our future free of our small town backgrounds is something I don't think I can explain to those who weren't there. Finally we were free to be ourselves!!! We were slowly making political advances and the world was ours for the taking.We would create a brave new world free of the hate and prejudice we grew up with. Then Harvey and George were killed, and it tore our collective hearts out. The senselessness of it made us realize there were still people outside of our "safe" ghettos who despised us and our fight was going to be tougher than we thought. Little did we know what horrors were to come, but that's a topic for the 80s, and the joys of the 70s are the focus of your incredible site, so I'll not digress... Probably the most vivid night in the Castro I recall was Christmas Eve 1978. I went to numerous house parties and hit all the bars. Under the influence of (probably) MDA, I recall the nite having a shimmering glow to it. You must remember this drug created a wonderful warm feeling of love (and was highly sexual) unlike the later popularity of crystal. When the bars closed at 2AM, the streets flooded with partiers and the atmosphere was oh so festive. Instead of everyone feeling alone and away from their families at this most special of holidays, the mood in the street was of total "oneness". That is, we were all connected, we could share the holiday with each other and as Sister Sledge had just recently told us, we are family. The warm bond of that nite will never leave me and is one of my happiest memories of the gayest neighborhood in the world. Castro, I loved you and still do. I will always carry you and your denizens in my heart. It was truly a special time and place in history and I hope that feeling of hope and optismism is returning there today.

That was a beautiful and accurate description of the way we were!




This page created January 1, 1998 and modified September 16, 2001