The Tool Box [Edit]

The Tool Box, a gay male leather bar, was the first leather bar in South of Market, San Francisco. It opened in 1961 (at 339 4th St) and closed in 1971.

The June 1964 Paul Welch Life magazine article “Homosexuality In America” was the first time a national American publication reported on gay issues; Lifes photographer was referred to the Tool Box for the article by gay activist Hal Call, who had long worked to dispel the myth that all homosexual men were effeminate. The article opened with a two-page spread of the mural of life-size leathermen in the Tool Box which had been painted by Chuck Arnett in 1962. The article described San Francisco as “The Gay Capital of America” and inspired many gay leathermen to move there.

Honors

The San Francisco South of Market Leather History Alley consists of four works of art honoring leather culture; one of them is a black granite stone featuring (among other things) a reproduction of Chuck Arnett’s 1962 mural that was in the Tool Box.

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