Ketchikan in Ketchikan Gateway Borough, Alaska — The American West (Northwest)
‘Cat’houses & Sporting Women
Alaska’s First City northbound was transportation and supply hub first for mining, then fishing and later to timber industries. Ketchikan’s male-worker populations sometimes seemed to match its local census and prostitution flourished for more than 50 years. And then, in 1954, it was banished.
City Council planted the Creek’s red-light roots with a 1903 formal edict ordering all bawdy houses moved to a single location in the Creek Street area. Ramshackle sporting houses built upon pilings sprang up on both sides of the creek. Fourteen operated in
It was a bazaar of red-light vice for half a century, but Creek Street also served as a clearinghouse, news and job center for the fishing fleet. After weeks on the fishing grounds, fishermen appreciated Creek Street parlor as places for socializing and after-hours drinks as much as for the favors of the girls. Nonetheless, the district’s by-products of scandal, mayhem and occasional corpses joining empty hootch bottles floating downstream indelibly assured its sordid far-flung reputation. Today, no longer “Uncle Sam’s Wickedest City,” shades of Ketchikan’s Creek Street past still trod the wet boardwalk in the damp night air.
No. 5 – “The Star”
More than two “female
“I liked it here because the men came in bunches.”
Thelma Dolly Copeland —whose “stage” name became Dolly Arthur—was born in 1888 near McCall, Idaho, but fled west at age 13 to escape a troubled family life. By age 18 she found selling her favors more lucrative that waiting tables. In 1914, after plying her trade in Spokane, Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., she scouted Alaska for a new location, bypassing the cribs of Juneau and settling on Ketchikan’s sporting atmosphere.
Erected by State of Alaska Division of Tourism & Historic Ketchikan, Inc.
Location. 55° 20.478′ N, 131° 38.475′ W. Marker is in Ketchikan, Alaska, in Ketchikan Gateway Borough. Marker is at the intersection of Creek Street and Stedman Street (Alaska Route 7) on Creek Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Ketchikan AK 99901, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 2 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Chief Johnson Totem Pole (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Chief Kyan Totem Pole (about 600 feet away).
More about this marker. On top of the panel are period photos of Creek Street with the caption, "Viewing NE from Dolly's No. 24.-Circa Late 1920s". In the middle are photos of "The Star" and "Thelma Dolly Copeland".
Also see . . .
1. Historic Ketchikan. (Submitted on May 23, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
2. Creek Street Ketchikan Alaska. Experience Ketchikan website (Submitted on May 23, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
Categories. • Entertainment • Industry & Commerce •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 22, 2011, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 794 times since then and 22 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on May 22, 2011, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. 3. submitted on May 23, 2011, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on May 22, 2011, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. 8, 9. submitted on May 23, 2011, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.