COLUMBUS, Ohio — A University District bar was recognized on Saturday by the state for helping people in the LGBTQ+ community show their pride.
Summit Station, Ohio's first and longest-running lesbian bar, welcomed patrons for nearly four decades before closing in 2008.
"For so long, it was a place to be yourself, to be able to hold your girlfriend's hand, to dance," said Julia Applegate, a former patron.
When Applegate moved to Columbus after college, she said Summit Station was a safe space.
"If you reach back to 1970, the late 60s and 70s, when it was really turning into a lesbian bar, that was at a time when there just weren't many places you could go and be your authentic self, period. So bars were the places where we found each other," she said.
Forty-two years after the opening of the bar, she and other former patrons banded together to pay tribute to Petie and the bar. In partnership with the Ohio History Connection, a historical marker was placed permanently in front of the space that held Summit Station.
"When I came to OSU in '79, I had a place that I could come by and feel like I didn't have to explain to everybody who I was," said Luster Singleton, another former patron.
The space is currently occupied by The Summit Music Hall where the marker is placed. The pair said this moment is bigger than the bar itself, it's about teaching future generations that there's a place for them.
"Hopefully there's going to be kids that doesn't have to wait until they're 60 years old to find out that they have relevance in this world," Singleton said.
The marker was dedicated on June 10, 2023, at 1 p.m.