Holly freaking cow... My town used to be the center for the sex and gambling trade in the Mid-West... My uptight and stuffy town that will not let anybody smoke inside and you can't buy a drink before noon on Sundays, used to have in excess of 1,600 sex workers doing there thing.
Omaha was known as a "wide open" city for the first century or so after its founding. There was an area of town east of my Alma matter, Creighton University, that was called "The Burnt District." Over 100 brothels were in operation employing over 1,600 sex workers. In freaking OMAHA... People are so uptight about sex here that I may be arested later on for simply saying "sex."
It looks like the classiest and most famous was Anna Wilson. Eventually, she had a 25 room mansion at 912 Douglas Street. That's on the Leahey Mall now adays. When she died in 1911, the madam with a heart of gold donated the building to the city, who converted it in to a hospital. She was very welthy, and gave her entire fortue over to the city. The City so loved Anna Wilson that a group of citizens lay a wreath on her grave to this very day.
Wilson was in bed, literally, with Dan Allen who ran the "Sporting District." This is not very subtle code for the gambling district. Yup. Gambling. Right in my very own town.
All of this has intrigued me, and I have purchased A Dirty, Wicked Town: Tales of 19th Century Omaha by David L. Bristow. I hope to learn a bit more about the early days of my city, and visit the interesting places that we have, no doubt, tore down.
Some Wikipedia to read: