I received a friendly phone call from Richard Longstaff, owner of Union Jack, who lamented the passing of The Bronx but reminded me that his store is older. In my recent story, I called The Bronx the oldest gay-owned business on the street.
Longstaff opened Union Jack in August 1971 on Hillcrest Avenue across from SMU. In December 1972, he moved to his current location on Cedar Springs Road. For several years, the only other gay-owned business on the street for several years was a bookstore owned by Larry Lingle.
The Bronx opened in the mid-’70s. In the late ’70s, Frank Caven leased property on the corner now occupied by Hunky’s. That space burned down before he opened, but he leased across the street and opened a bar called The Candy Store.
Throckmorton Mining Co. opened in the late ’70s. So did Magnolia’s, which became the Round-Up Saloon. The Old Plantation that became Village Station moved from downtown in the early ’80s.
But Union Jack was the fixture all along. The store moved from its current location after a fire in 1989 that also damaged the Dallas Gay Alliance office and the Round-Up.
Longstaff said he moved to a vacant storefront for about a year and a half as his original space was rebuilt. He has been back in that space since 1991.
In the early ’70s, Longstaff was the first person to appear on television in Dallas as a gay business owner. For years whenever anything happened in the LGBT community, it was filmed in front of his store.
So how did I forget that Union Jack was first?
“People think I’m years younger than I really am,” he said.
Of course that’s the reason.
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