The Legacy Walk is a dynamic outdoor LGBTQ history exhibit in the "Lakeview" neighborhood of Chicago, which has been known nationally and internationally as "Boystown." Along the half mile of the North Halsted Street Corridor, between Belmont Avenue and Grace Street, ten (10) pairs of 25'-tall decorative steel "Rainbow Pylons" define the nexus of Chicago's LGBTQ community.
Affixed to the pylons are a series of bronze biographical memorial markers commemorating the life and work of notable LGBTQ individuals whose achievements have helped shape the world - but whose contributions, sexual orientation or gender identity have been overlooked, minimized or redacted entirely from most historic texts. Mounted below each 18" x 24" bronze memorial is a 4" x 18" dedication plate recognizing the donor(s) whose generosity made that marker possible. Forty (40) bronze markers - the largest collection of detailed bronze biographical memorials in the world - line the Legacy Walk.
Each year, in conjunction with "National Coming-Out Day" (October 11), additional memorials are added. Maximum capacity was reached with the Phase VII dedication in 2018. Today, older plaques are slowly rotated off to make room for new dedications. A Visitor Center (to house the “retired” memorials) was to open in 2021. The onset of the Corona Virus has delayed these plans, but a Visitors Center is still in the works. Until then, the Legacy Walk will continue to evolve as an "outdoor classroom" for students, will continue boost the self-esteem of LGBTQ youth at risk, and will continue to confront the ignorance which fuels anti-LGBTQ bullying in our schools and in society.
Since its inception, the Legacy Walk has become an internationally recognized beacon of pride and enlightenment for the 1.5 million visitors who come to the streetscape every year for a casual stroll or a professionally guided tour. As the only installation of its kind in the world, the Legacy Walk was declared a Historic Landmark in 2019.