The State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation approved Friday a nomination for the Darcelle XV Showcase to be considered for the national historic registry.

In a unanimous decision, the committee moved to send the nomination to the National Park Service for approval.

Darcelle XV, 1970s

Darcelle XV, 1970s

Courtesy Alex Cielo

Darcelle XV, which is the stage name of Walter Cole, established her famous drag club in Portland in 1967 and quickly became an icon in the LGBTQ community. The club has since become the longest continuously running drag show in the West Coast.

This marks the first time an LGBTQ establishment has been nominated for historic registration in Oregon.


Darcelle XV

“Our doors have been open to everybody in the world and certainly the world knows about who Darcelle is. Thank goodness,” Darcelle said.

Committee member John Arroyo said that the significance of the nomination goes beyond the historic building.

“There are no other properties like this,” he said. “It’s interesting to think about how evolved the Portland LGBTQIA+ scene is but how it’s not really landmarked. And I think that’s a really important consideration in this nomination.”

The National Register lists historically prominent buildings, districts, sites and objects, and documents their significance. The goal is to ensure their preservation, but according to the parks service, owners of properties on the National Register are still free to make significant changes, “unless the property is involved in a project that receives Federal assistance.”

The National Park Service will review the nomination and decide to either approve or send it back for further review.