PORTLAND, Maine — For the first time in nearly three decades, you can see inside the city’s oldest — and last — gay bar without opening the door.
The new, full-length front windows at Blackstones are both of symbol of the city’s bigoted past and how far it has come in accepting all its residents.
First opened in 1987, Blackstones has always had a laid-back, neighborhood vibe. That didn’t stop anti-gay vandals from repeatedly smashing the front windows out with rocks and bricks back in the day.
The Pine Street watering hole’s owners and patrons refused to be bullied out of the neighborhood, though. Instead, they boarded up the windows with plywood and plexiglass, then went back to playing pool and drinking beer.
That was 28 years ago.
Now, Portland has changed. The bricks and rocks have stopped flying. It has become a more welcoming place to the LGBTQ community.
Blackstones hasn’t changed much at all. It’s still a chill bar filled with West End regulars and the clack of pool cues and eight balls. Except now, it has large front windows heralding a new, more open era of inclusiveness.
Owner Matt Pekins had been thinking about bringing the windows back since 2015.
Troy R. Bennett
Troy R. Bennett is a Buxton native and longtime Portland resident whose photojournalism has appeared in media outlets all over the world.
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