Spelling errors on Rainbow Walk of Fame tarnish new Castro plaques

Byby Cornell Barnard and Matt Keller KGO logo
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Spelling errors tarnish new Castro plaques
New plaques honoring heroes from the LGBT community have a few spelling errors that have left the shiny plaques a little tarnished.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- In San Francisco a proud moment has been marred by some silly mistakes. Special plaques on the sidewalk to honor heroes in the LGBT community have some embarrassing mistakes; there are typos immortalized in bronze.

Take a walk down Castro Street and you'll see the faces of 20 heroes from the LGBT community. The Rainbow Honor Walk was unveiled on Tuesday and many are getting a first look.

"I'll be honest, I don't know all the people on these, she's educating me," said tourist Pam Wolfe.

Wolfe and Jilly Savage recognized writer Oscar Wilde, but when they took a picture, something was strange.

Savage read the plaque, "'Known for his bitting wit? His biting wit. A spelling error! Oh dear."

The typo may have amused Wilde, but the owner of Cliff's Variety, Martha Asten, is trying to find the humor. She said, "If he did not have biting wit, the man had a bitting wit. So the proofreader needs to be slapped."

And the plaque honoring Christine Jorgensen has a misspelling in the word transgendered; it is missing an "S".

Rainbow Honor Walk chairman David Perry said, "How it happened, we don't know. The bottom line is we're going to fix it."

Perry admits the typos in bronze are embarrassing. More than $100,000 in private donations paid for the plaques and will now cover the cost of corrections.

Perry said, "Even with the two typos, you look and see the stories of these people and you see their faces."

He added more plaques will be installed in the future, but with lots of proofreading.

Rainbow Walk of Fame honoring LGBT heroes unveiled in Castro District

The Hollywood Walk of Fame has nothing on the Castro.

The Rainbow Honor Walk features 20 three-by-three foot bronze plaques embedded in the sidewalk along Castro Street in honor of the groundbreaking achievements from lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community -- individuals like Oscar Wilde, George Choy and Tom Waddell.

"These 20 people represent the very best of the LGBT community," said Perry. "It's a very diverse list: men and women, openly lesbian, openly gay, openly bisexual, openly transgender. They're black. They're white. They're Asian Pacific Islander."

Organizers say this project is 20 years in the making with each plaque costing about $5,000 each. The more than $100,000 raised came from private donors.

People at Tuesday's event told ABC7 News they appreciated the history lesson laid out before them.

"Kind of not being necessarily from California, it gives me a greater appreciation for a lot of what did happen here in the earlier years," San Francisco resident Ej Hebert said.

The plaques installed this week are just the first 20. Organizers say they're already raising money for another 20 plaques they hope to install next year.