Paresis Hall

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Columbia Hall, commonly known as Paresis Hall, was a brothel and gay bar in New York City in the 1890s.[1] Located on the Bowery near Cooper Union, the Hall was managed by James T. Ellison,[2] and took its common nickname from a general term for syphilitic insanity.[3] The building contained both a bar and a beer garden on the ground floor, with two floors of rooms above that were rented out. One was permanently held by the Cercle Hermaphroditos, an early transgender organization, who stored clothing there due to the illegality of and public hostility to dressing in women's clothing.[4] Paresis Hall was particularly renowned and reviled even at the time, and was a common target for both police activity and religious protests.[5] Despite this, evidence suggests it was active until at least 1899.[1]


  1. ^ a b Ditmore 2006, p. 343.
  2. ^ Ditmore 2006, p. 344.
  3. ^ Long 2009, p. 23.
  4. ^ Chauncey 2008, p. 43.
  5. ^ Hatheway 2005, p. 55.


  • Chauncey, George (2008). Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940. Basic Books. ISBN 9780786723355.
  • Ditmore, Melissa (2006). Encyclopedia of prostitution and sex work. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0313329680.
  • Hatheway, Jay (2005). The Gilded Age Construction of Modern American Homophobia (1st ed.). New York: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 1403974004.
  • Long, Kat (2009). The forbidden apple : a century of sex & sin in New York City. Brooklyn, N.Y.: Ig Pub. ISBN 0981504000.
  • June, Jennie (2016). The Female-Impersonators: A Sequel to the Autobiography of an Androgyne. Forgotten Books. ISBN 1332946046.