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Lambda Archives seeking historical designation for building that once housed Las Hermanas Women's Cultural Center & Coffeehouse

Lambda Archives seeking historical designation for building that once housed Las Hermanas Women's Cultural Center & Coffeehouse

As your community archive, much of the work we do in actively preserving an account of our history is done within the walls of our Archive. In honor of Women's History Month, we would like to share a project that we are actively working on outside of the Archives.

In late 1974, Las Hermanas Women's Cultural Center & Coffeehouse opened its doors as a safe and welcoming space where women, particularly lesbians, could hear live music, poetry and participate in different groups and discussions. It was a thriving community spot for women until it closed six years later. Although Las Hermanas closed in 1980, the property that it called home remains in City Heights. 

In an effort to preserve this crucial part of local women's and lesbian history, we are at the beginning stages of working towards applying for a Historical Designation on the Las Hermanas building. 

What is a Historical Designation?

The process of obtaining a Historical Designation on a property helps us to protect and share our history and instill a sense of pride within our community. It also creates a visible public connection with the community's heritage; it's a tangible link to our past.

The process of obtaining a historical designation can be quite an undertaking, but we've taken two important steps needed to start the process:

  1. The owners of the building have been contacted and have given us permission to proceed with the process of applying for the historical designation.
  2. The services of a Cultural Landscape Specialist were enlisted and, based on that meeting, we were given specific details on what would be needed to move forward in terms of researching the history of the building and ultimately applying for the designation with the City of San Diego.

How can you help?

The process of applying for a historical designation is long and tedious and could take years to accomplish. Also, applying for the historical designation doesn't guarantee that the designation will be granted. We believe in this project and would like community participation! Specifically, we are interested in speaking with women that either worked there or hung out there. If you would like to share your Las Hermanas story with us, we want to hear from you! You can respond to this email if you would like to volunteer on this project or if you have any information about the building, its history or about Las Hermanas that might be helpful!

As a community archive, everything we do is a collaborative effort with you! By reaching out to us with information about Las Hermanas, you become an active participant in creating a tangible link to a very important part of our past!