In June of 2016, Dwayne Jones, of Preservation Texas, acting in conjunction with The National Trust for Historic Preservation, assembled a small group of Dallas history advocates to discuss a novel project. Attending that meeting were: Mike Anglin, Dick Weaver, Robert Emery, Mark Doty (Chief Historic Preservationist, City of Dallas), Lynn Vogt (Preservation Texas), and Sam Childers (Dallas County Historical Commission, Dallas Landmark Commissioner).
Jones wanted to convey the interest Preservation Texas had in promoting “Undertold Stories” … in particular, the rich history of the Texas LGBT community. He wanted to assess the Dallas group’s interest in applying for, what he hoped would be, the first of many LGBT Subject Markers in the state of Texas subject to approval of the Texas Historical Commission.
As a result of that meeting, Robert Emery volunteered to lead the application process and shepherd it though to completion. Sam Childers agreed to write the historical context, and Mark Doty agreed to advise on governmental procedures and protocol. The 3-member team quickly began the process of deciding what historically significant subject should be the focus of the project, such as the Resource Center, Cathedral of Hope, the Turtle Creek Chorale, the Dallas VOICE, and “The Crossroads.” The committee agreed to the overall goal of creating a Subject Marker for all of these (in the future), but they felt the first Subject Marker should reflect the interest of the entire LGBT+ community, so all further deliberations focused on “The Crossroads”.
Emery was tasked with studying and recommending a location for the Subject Marker. The natural choice would be at The Crossroads intersection; so, on August 16, 2016, Emery asked Ed Oakley, of Caven Enterprises, to meet on the corner of Throckmorton and Cedar Springs to consider some options.
Emery suggested embedding the plaque into the brick façade of the JR’s building. Oakley agreed, and together, they started the process to gain agreement/permission from Caven Enterprises (the owners of the property). In light of a November 1 deadline, Emery proceeded with drafting and filing the formal application with the Texas Historical Commission, even though they were not sure, at the time, exactly where the Subject Marker would be installed. Something would be worked out with Caven.
Sam Childers (Dallas County Historical Commission) wrote the required five page narrative for the application under the broad heading: “The Crossroads: The GLBT Community in Dallas.” It was a concise overview of the history of the Dallas gay community over the years and, more specifically, of the area known as The Crossroads. If approved, the Texas Historical Commission would take Childers’s narrative and compress it even further into two or three paragraphs for the actual subject marker engraving. Emery submitted the application to the Texas Historical Commission on October 10, 2016 (exactly two years before the ultimate unveiling ceremony).
On November 15, 2016, the Dallas County Historical Commission unanimously endorsed the Subject Marker application for “The Crossroads.”
On Dec 4, 2016, Emery made a presentation at the annual fundraising brunch of The Dallas Way (where Emery served as vice-president) describing the work being done on a historical subject marker for the Crossroads.
On December 7, 2016, the Texas Historical Commission received the committee’s application (forwarded from the Dallas County Historical Commission). On January 31, 2017, the Texas Historical Commission officially approved historical marker application 17DL06 – “The Crossroads, The GLBT Community in Dallas”.
In March of 2017, The Dallas Way advanced funds to underwrite the cost of fabricating the plaque – an advance that was later fully defrayed with $500 in funding from the Dallas County Historical Commission's Undertold Stories marker program, and an additional $1,950 donated by 12 individuals at The Dallas Way’s annual December brunch in 2017 (Erin Moore, Michael Doughman, Lory Masters, Janie Bush, Ted Schweitzer, Clarissa Cantu, Durward Watson, David Nathanson, Keith Pomykal, Kay Wilkinson, Phillip Walker and Ken William).
On March 20, 2017, Ed Oakley informed Emery that Caven Enterprises formally agreed to embed the plaque on their JR’s building. However, that decision later changed, and it was ultimately determined by the working group that the marker would be erected on a pole at the Crossroads intersection.
By this time The Dallas Way had become involved with the project as the principal host of a formal unveiling ceremony to be conducted once the marker was fabricated, received and erected. The Dallas Way also participated in editing the final text of the marker.
The formal unveiling of the plaque took place on October 10, 2018. Attending the celebration were public officials, leaders in the LGBT community, underwriters, Caven Enterprises employees and many other elated members of the community.