Sites of LGBT history move toward national landmark status

The Castro is one of four neighborhoods the city has identified as significant to LGBT heritage. Photo: Scott Strazzante, The Chronicle

It’s difficult to picture a National Park Service ranger, in olive drab uniform and a campaign “Smokey Bear” hat, standing guard in front of a tapas restaurant on San Francisco’s Montgomery Street.

But national parks aren’t just about forests and landscapes anymore.

The restaurant is the former site of the Black Cat Cafe, which according to local experts is among the most historically important LGBT sites in San Francisco. And if the naming of New York’s Stonewall Inn as a national monument back in June is any indication, more sites significant in gay history may soon find their place alongside Yosemite, Yellowstone and the Lincoln Memorial.

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