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Denver in Denver County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

Red Light District Market Street

1890 - 1912

 

— Lower Downtown Walking Tour —

 
Red Light District Market Street Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, July 28, 2016
1. Red Light District Market Street Marker
Inscription.  'The wickedest street in the city' from the 1880's to 1912, Holliday (now Market Street) was awash in cheap cribs and elaborate bordellos, dance halls and seedy saloons where over 1,000 women sold their charms. In the bustling underground economy of sex and entertainment, a few enterprising ladies honed their entrepreneurial talents. Madam Belle Birnard's house at 1952 Market was a stylish Victorian with 14 rooms, 5 parlors, music and dance halls, 'Strictly First Class in Every Respect.' Mattie Silks opened her first house in the 1870's and remained in operation for almost 40 years. Mattie, who had nearly as many houses as her girls had customers in an evening and owned 2009 Market, 1957-59 Market and 2014-20 Market. She also later bought Jennie Rogers renowned House of Mirrors at 1942 Market. If the walls of these bordellos could talk, there would doubtless be a thousand love stories to tell, a thousand scandals to unleash. In 1912, a newly elected reform administration closed the cribs, cleaning up, or tearing down many of the structures. In 1913, Police Commissioner George Creel tried benevolently to establish a rehabilitation farm for fallen
Marker on Tavern Downtown Sports Bar image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, July 28, 2016
2. Marker on Tavern Downtown Sports Bar
Close to Coors Field (Home of Colorado Rockies baseball team).
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women, but taxpayers didn't respond well to the idea. The death knell for the Lower Downtown's red light district came not from the city government, but from the enactment of Prohibition. The entire state went dry in 1916, and the party was officially over.
 
Erected by Lower Downtown Historic District.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: EntertainmentWomen. A significant historical year for this entry is 1912.
 
Location. 39° 45.212′ N, 104° 59.628′ W. Marker is in Denver, Colorado, in Denver County. Marker is at the intersection of Market Street and 20th Street, on the right when traveling south on Market Street. Marker is visible on the 20th Street side of the 'Tavern Downtown' sports bar on the wall next to the parking lot. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1949 Market Street, Denver CO 80202, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The House of Mirrors (within shouting distance of this marker); Blake Street Area (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Windsor Farm Dairy Building / The Crocker Cracker Factory (about 500 feet away); Merchandise Mart (approx. 0.2 miles away); General Electric Building (approx. 0.2 miles away); 18th St. Atrium / Littleton Creamery Beatrice Cold Storage Warehouse
Side of Tavern Downtown & the Red Light District Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, July 28, 2016
3. Side of Tavern Downtown & the Red Light District Marker
Far left corner of tavern building.
(approx. Ό mile away); St. Elmo Hotel (approx. Ό mile away); Warehouses (approx. Ό mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Denver.
 
Also see . . .  Wikipedia article about Mattie Silks. (Submitted on July 28, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
 
Additional keywords. prostitution
 
House of Mirrors (1942 Market Street) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, July 28, 2016
4. House of Mirrors (1942 Market Street)
Mattie Silks, or Martha Ready (1845–1929) image. Click for full size.
Public Domain
5. Mattie Silks, or Martha Ready (1845–1929)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on March 30, 2021. It was originally submitted on July 28, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 697 times since then and 203 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on July 28, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.

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Nov. 30, 2022