The first gay bar
I was ever aware of. It stood on Tropicana Avenue in Las Vegas
, surrounded (as so many buildings in Vegas were back then) by dirt and rocks. As our school bus passed it we would point
. Sometimes someone would declare that he had seen one of our fellow students going in, or his father.
One kid had a story about his father actually going in the place, thinking it was a regular bar, and then threatening the patrons with violence when he learned otherwise. We all agreed that this was the correct response when finding one's self surrounded by "queers".
It was a mysterious, scary place to us. We couldn't imagine what it was like inside. We wouldn't have to try for long though, because soon after I learned of it, the building burned to the ground. I later heard a rumor that it was arson, but the whole thing remains one of the enigmas of childhood, something that existed for unknowable adult reasons and ended just as mysteriously.