Selected audio clips and photographs from "The Shamrock Bar, Bluefield, West Virginia." The Shamrock was a gay bar in the heart of the Appalachian coalfields. It was owned and run by "Miss Helen," who grew up near Bluefield. She started the bar in the mid 60s and from the early 70s on there were regular drag shows put on by local and regional performers. The Shamrock held annual Mr. Shamrock and Miss Shamrock pageants and occasionally was the site for larger events, such as Miss Gay West Virginia. Miss Helen was a strong and sometimes controversial figure, but she kept the bar running year after year and it became a major gathering place for LGBT people throughout the region.
The original photographs and interviews are in the permanent collection at the National Archive Center, Smithsonian Museum of American History, in Washington, DC.
Contact Carol Burch-Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the collection.