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    Noe Valley Home of Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon Receives Landmark Designation

    The San Francisco Board of Supervisors on May 4 voted to pass an ordinance that will designate 651 Duncan Street—the former longtime home of lesbian activists Del Martin (1921–2008) and Phyllis Lyon (1924–2020)—a landmark. The decision itself is history-making, marking the first such designation for a property in the western U.S. due to significance primarily concerning the lesbian community.

    Supervisors Rafael Mandelman, Dean Preston, Aaron Peskin, Ahsha Safai, and Gordon Mar sponsored the ordinance.

    Members of our San Francisco Bay Times team as well as “Betty’s List” fondly remember visits to the Noe Valley home perched atop a steep grade. Del and Phyllis would warmly greet visitors who could include everyone from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Bay Times columnist and former National Center for Lesbian Rights Executive Director/CEO Kate Kendell.

    The recent vote specifically calls for the following: designation as a landmark “consistent with the standards set forth in Article 10 of the Planning Code; affirming the Planning Department’s determination under the California Environmental Quality Act; and making public necessity, convenience, and welfare findings under Planning Code, Section 302, and findings of consistency with the General Plan, and the eight priority policies of Planning Code, Section 101.1.”

    There are numerous technicalities associated with this article of the Planning Code, which may be found in its entirety here:

    At the very least, a brass plaque will be placed in front of the home, which was sold in 2020. The sale included an adjacent vacant lot at 649 Duncan.

    The group “Friends of the Lyon-Martin House,” however, has indicated to other media outlets that they wish to do more with the properties. The GLBT Historical Society is a fiscal sponsor of the group:

    Published on May 6, 2021