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Portland Club Darcelle XV Has Been Added to the National Register of Historic Places

Opened in 1967, the Old Town venue is Portland’s oldest drag club and home to the longest-running drag show on the West Coast.

It's been quite a month for Portland drag queen Darcelle.

Two weeks ago, Walter Cole, who performs as Darcelle, turned 90, bumping up his long-held record as world's oldest drag queen. Now, Cole's club has been awarded historic recognition, too: Darcelle XV Showplace has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Triangle Productions director Don Horn, who spearheaded the nomination campaign, made the announcement today. Oregon State Parks' Heritage Division confirmed to WW that the Portland club had been added to the national register.

Opened in 1967, the Old Town venue is Portland's oldest drag club and home to the longest-running drag show on the West Coast. After closing at the beginning of the pandemic, Darcelle XV briefly reopened in the fall. Darcelle—who was still performing multiple nights a week before the lockdown—celebrated her 90th birthday with a two-night show at the club.

Darcelle XV was unanimously nominated to the register by Oregon's State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation in June. The club is the first site in Oregon to be nominated for its place in LGBTQ+ history.

Now that it's officially on the list, the venue is protected from development, and qualifies for tax provisions and grants, providing a safety net for the small business, which has struggled during the pandemic.