Skiddy Street: Prostitution and Vice in Denison, Texas, 1872-1922

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Prostitution was a rampant and thriving industry in late nineteenth and early twentieth century Texas. Due to the arrival of the M.K. and T. Railroad, the city of Denison became a frontier boomtown and prostitution as well as other vice elements grew alongside the town. Skiddy Street was one road south of Main Street in Denison and housed the most notorious brothels and saloons in the city. In the late nineteenth century, few national laws were present to regulate red-light districts and those that existed were largely ignored. Economically, prostitution was an important addition to the coffers of cities such … continued below

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Bridges, Jennifer December 2011.

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  • Bridges, Jennifer

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Prostitution was a rampant and thriving industry in late nineteenth and early twentieth century Texas. Due to the arrival of the M.K. and T. Railroad, the city of Denison became a frontier boomtown and prostitution as well as other vice elements grew alongside the town. Skiddy Street was one road south of Main Street in Denison and housed the most notorious brothels and saloons in the city. In the late nineteenth century, few national laws were present to regulate red-light districts and those that existed were largely ignored. Economically, prostitution was an important addition to the coffers of cities such as Denison, and through taxing and licensing of prostitutes, city leaders profited off of the vice industry. The early decades of the twentieth century led to changes in the toleration of prostitution and red-light districts on the national level. Progressive reform movements, temperance, World War I, and the National Railroad Shopmen’s strike, each contributed to the dissolution of Skiddy Street in Denison as toleration and open acceptance of prostitution waned. This study attempts to understand how and why prostitution thrived during Denison’s early frontier days, who some of the prostitutes were that plied their trade on Skiddy Street, and how national, state, and local changes in the early twentieth century led to the termination of most red-light districts, including Denison’s.

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  • December 2011

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  • Oct. 2, 2012, 4:18 p.m.

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  • July 17, 2020, 10:04 a.m.

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Bridges, Jennifer. Skiddy Street: Prostitution and Vice in Denison, Texas, 1872-1922, thesis, December 2011; Denton, Texas. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103293/: accessed May 9, 2021), University of North Texas Libraries, UNT Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; .

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