Boystown mainstay honoring LGBTQ leaders getting landmark status

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CHICAGO – As the celebration for Pride Fest continues, a mainstay of Boystown is getting official landmark status for educating the public about LGBTQ contributions to history.

For a generation, the rainbow pillars along North Halsted have stood as a symbol of diversity.

On them, a history is spelled out in a series of bronze plaques known as “The Legacy Walk.”

Names from world history appear alongside other LGBTQ individuals and events that shaped society.

Victor Salvo is the founder and driving force behind the pedestrian idea.

“’The Legacy Walk’ is the world’s only outdoor LGBTQ history museum,” Salvio said. “It was conceived as an outdoor classroom to help. It was put into place to correct stereotypes with the actual contributions we have made to society.”

It was an idea started in Salvo’s mind more than 30 years ago.

“It began in 1987. It was conceived in Washington at the National March for Lesbian and Gay Rights,” he said.

He saw history in the making there and wanted people from across history preserved for a new generation of LGBTQ youth with greater visibility.

“We’ve had thousands of kids come to tour since this installation first started going in,” Salvo said. “And they get to learn about an aspect of history that they didn’t know was really missing from their textbooks. … This gives them a connection to an older person that did something that mattered.”

A traveling legacy wall, detailing LGBTQ contributions tours cities across the country as well.

And now, the legacy walk is now on a path to official recognition as a Chicago landmark.

There are 40 plaques displayed on the legacy walk. The website catalogs more than 400 people who’ve contributed throughout history.

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