Red Light District- Kinda Sexy Right?

Red Light District in DC

The 1800's in Washington D.C. were a time of lawlessness, disorder and chaos. After just being established as the nation's capital, the civil war brought armies of men to the area where they were met with violence and also temptations. More famously known as the 'red light district', this area that included Washington DC, Alexandria and Arlington saw major transition from the 1800's into the 1900's. In the 1800's many of the areas in Washington DC were known by a number of other names that depict what life was like to be living in the nation's capital at that time.

The streets from Pennsylvania Avenue to Missouri Avenue in the Washington D.C. area was formally known as Murder Bay in the 1800's. It was an area that was overflowing with prostitution. During the Civil War the prostitutes were said to serve General Joseph Hooker's Army of the Potomac. The area was commonly referred to as Hooker’s Division and in some locations where the more expensive brothels could be found was known as Marble Alley. Where the National Museum Of The American Indian is located today use to be one of the more famous brothels in the red light district. Run by madam Mary Ann Hall this the brothel was known as one of the fanciest brothels. Recent renovations uncovered a variety of expensive imported French champagne bottles.

Hell's Bottom which is where most of the Second Ward is located today was one of the worst areas in the city. Whiskey was the drink of choice because of how cheap it was and was housed in some of the most unsuitable homes that can be found. Most crimes were only charged with a two dollar penalty so crime was high and became uncontrollable up until almost 1900. Much like the rest of the city gambling became a common pastime in the area, which could be the reason for the brawls and fights that regularly occurred in this area.

Bloodfield was known as one of the most dangerous and infamous areas of the Washington DC area in the 1800's. Police attempted to take control of the city but most were fatally injured through these attempts. It was an area that was filled with brothels overflowing with women. Illegal speakeasies were common fixtures and gambling houses were some of the most popular 'businesses'. It was not until almost the 1920's that this area of Washington DC finally began to be brought under control.

In the 1800's Washington D.C. was a place of illegal drinking, gambling and brothels. The city was in disarray with much focus being placed on the war and not on the surrounding area. With a complete lack of police force the red light district was an area of the highest crime and violence in the country. Once police forces were able to grow the area was able to be controlled only slightly, when the Great Depression hit there were a number of new problems and issues that plagued the city.


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