Originally Posted by Zeitgeist
It's actually known as the "gay" part of town. I found this out when I went to an employment office, where I was signing up for a job in Louisiana. When the guy found out my address, he yelled back to a co-worker "He lives in Montrose...haw haw haw" I asked him what that meant. He looked at me funny and said "Well son, that's where all the queers are. Didn't you know that?"
It is considered one of the oldest gay communities in the US. During the 19th Century (and probably even earlier under the Spanish), it was where a monestary and university for priests and monks was located, that eventually became the University of St Thomas. For some reason, all those celibrate priests and monks attracted a large gay community that persists to this day. Go figger. In fact, the original "steers and queers' joke was a local Texan's joke about Houston, since that is all that was there for most of the 19th and early 20th Century - a big cattle stockyard and a large gay community. Since many cowboys supplemented their meager incomes by prostituting on the side in Montrose, the communuty was tolerated by the authorities, so gays from all over America and Mexico flocked there to hide as seminary students so they could live in safety, as most would be hung anywhere else in the southwest or Mexico, in fact, homosexual conduct of any kind was a capital offense in Texas well into the 1950s.
One of the reasons Houston became a large city is because cattle thinned by being driven in from the vast American West could be pastured there to be fattened up on the lush grasslands before they were loaded onto ships bound for New York out of Galveston - if you understand that you understand the origin of Dallas, which had the same thing, large open grasslands where cattle were loaded onto trains bound for Chicago, and Houston, where it was boats and New York, and why one city, Dallas, is so quintessentially American while the other is so international and cosmopolitan in flavor. In Houston, the extensive network of waterways allowed them herds to be barged from pasture to the port on Galveston island. So there you go, a lot of cowboys, and a lot of lonesome priests. Heteros were serviced in the huge brothels of Mexican whores and African slave whorehouses in Galveston, whose income came from non-brokeback cowboys, the sailors of the world and wealthy sex tourists from all over the East Coast, and to this day most of the strip joints, wild 1%er biker bars and black hookers are down that way. Galveston was a violent, notorious place back then, ruled by pimps and slavers, and the rich barons who became rich on cattle, cotton and vice. Houston wasn't much better, but the Montrose area brought in higher education, theatre and culture. I have never understood the visceral prejudice against gays, they bring as much postives to this country as any other minority does, as Montrose is now one of the most interesting and desirable places to live in Texas, while Galveston is still riddled with slums, crime and prostitution.