The Riot Wasn't

You'd never know it to look at Cynthia Thuma's new book, Wilton Manors, a historical picture book, now at your local bookstore for $19.99. Of course, there's the early hemp farm that failed to make a go of it along the Middle River, the smiling milk-fed kids in a 1950s sixth-grade class photo, and the 1960s shot of a beefy local cop pretending to slap handcuffs on home-run king Roger Maris. There are beaucoup shots of churches, a 1961 little league team, portraits of local beauty Nancy Stafford (she had a recurring role on Matlock before writing books like Beauty by the Book: Seeing Yourself as God Sees You), even a picture of serial killer Gerard John Schaefer Jr. , who worked as a Wilton Manors cop while abducting and murdering women.

Where are Wilton Manors' famous gays? Not in the book, unless you count one picture of the parking lot of Georgie's Alibi, the bar that was a magnet for gays during the 1990s. Notes the caption: "The city was becoming increasingly attractive to gay people looking for a quiet, tolerant community to settle in." That's it.

Tailpipe called Thuma, president of the Wilton Manors Historical Society. "It's like Smalltown America in the middle of an urban metropolitan area," Thuma says of her native city. "After some incredible changes, it's a great, gorgeous little town again." Weren't gays the driving force behind those changes? You bet, she replies. How come so little about them in the book? "I guess because gays' arrival in the city has been so effortless and smooth," Thuma adds, "it never really occurred to me to do [the book] otherwise."

"We are SO not gay."
Arcadia Publishing
"We are SO not gay."

Maybe so. For the 'Pipe, a pictorial history of Wilton Manors without a shot or two of the guys drinking Long Island Ice Teas at Georgie's or of drag queens and Dykes on Bikes in the Gay Pride Parade is like Fort Lauderdale without yachts or Miami without Calle Ocho.

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