Slinging burgers till 4am since any San Franciscan can remember, Grubstake is among Polk Gulch's original LGBT-owned businesses. (Courtesy of @grubstakesf)

Before the Castro, Polk Gulch was San Francisco's Gayborhood

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Before the Castro became the gay mecca for the entire United States, Polk Gulch, centered around Polk Street, was the hub for the LGBT community.

Sure, gay bars quietly existed in other parts of the city—in the Tenderloin and North Beach—but Polk Gulch was the first neighborhood where gay-owned daytime establishments, such as restaurants and clothing stores, opened and catered directly to the LGBT community.


Take a twirl through Polk Gulch during the 1960s and '70s, its heyday as the epicenter of San Francisco's LGBT world.

The Town Squire

(via Historypin)

Located at 1318 Polk Street, The Town Squire was a popular clothing store opened by couple Terry Popek and August Territo in 1962. Check out this vintage news footage from the store here.

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