St. Matthew’s Tavern has undergone multiple transformations throughout the history of the building on North Mills Avenue in Orlando. The building has housed a multitude of gay bars in the past, including the Silver Hammer, Cactus Club, and Paradise.
Long before the Pulse nightclub tragedy of June 12, 2016, Pulse had a special place in Orlando’s gay community. The club was hugely beloved. Established in 2004 by Barbara Poma and Ron Legler in memory of Barbara’s brother, Pulse came onto the scene later than the other bars.
In January 2021, a long-standing bastion of Orlando’s gay community was torn down. For more than forty years, Parliament House had provided a safe and welcoming environment for LGBTQ+ people to meet and be themselves at 410 N. Orange Blossom Trail.
Serving as the Orange County Regional History Center’s inaugural HERstory: Women’s History Intern has been an enriching experience for me. I have worked with an amazingly collaborative and enthusiastic group of colleagues, who work to fulfill the museum’s mission.