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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Fairbanks in Fairbanks North Star Borough, Alaska — The American West (Northwest)
 

“The Line”

 
 
"The Line" Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, July 27, 2010
1. "The Line" Marker
Inscription. Noticeable among the earliest pioneers settling in Fairbanks were prostitutes, women of the demimonde who stampeded to the new Fairbanks gold camp from Dawson, Circle City, Rampart and points beyond. In a city where men far outnumbered women, earnings from prostitution were normally higher than wages for other, more respectable jobs available to women. Still the prostitute’s life and work were hard. Pimps and hangers-on lived off some of the women and squandered their money.

Tales of the more prominent ladies are part of Fairbanks folklore. Their generous tips to the neighborhood paperboys and love of dogs were well known. Several demonstrated their generosity by grubstaking prospectors for another season’s work at the creeks, or by supporting community projects. Others became house-wives, quietly blending into community life.

“That any building wherein opium is being sold for the purpose of being smoked on or about the premises, or where the same is smoked, shall be considered an opium Den.”
– Fairbanks City Ordinance, 1913.

 
Location. 64° 50.528′ N, 147° 43.228′ W. Marker is in Fairbanks, Alaska, in Fairbanks North Star Borough. Marker is at the intersection of Cushman Street and 4th Avenue on Cushman Street. Touch for map

Detail from the marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, July 27, 2010
2. Detail from the marker
View west from Fourth Avenue and Cushman Street shows the wooden fence that shielded the community from the less socially acceptable Fairbanks red light district. In the foreground at left is a working-class hotel and bathhouse which opened in 1906, closed in 1966, and a year later was moved to an historical park off Airport Way.
. Marker is at or near this postal address: 430 Cushman Street, Fairbanks AK 99701, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Cushman Street (here, next to this marker); Fairbanks Public Schools (here, next to this marker); Lacey Street Theater (1939) (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Barnette's Landing (about 700 feet away); Suter House (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Founding of Fairbanks (approx. 0.2 miles away); Wickersham Cabin (approx. 0.2 miles away); Clay Street Cemetery (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Fairbanks.
 
More about this marker. This marker is attached to a triangular shaped support with two other markers. The other markers are entitled Cushman Street, and Fairbanks Public Schools.
 
Also see . . .  The Downtown Fairbanks Walking Tour - "The Line". (Submitted on September 20, 2011, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.)
 
Additional keywords. prostitution
 
Categories. EntertainmentIndustry & Commerce
 
Detail from the marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, July 27, 2010
3. Detail from the marker
In 1906, the Fairbanks City Council restricted the ladies of the night to a small area west of downtown. Small cabins or “cribs,” with the girls’ names on the doors, lined Third and Fourth avenues between Cushman and Barnette streets. Here Annie Rose and Irene relax outside their crib homes while waiting for callers.
Detail from the marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, July 27, 2010
4. Detail from the marker
Displaying their treasures and memorabilia, three women of “the line” show off their tidy living quarters.
Detail from the marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, July 27, 2010
5. Detail from the marker
Although greatly diminished after the early boom years, the trade kept in step with the community’s growth. In 1952 “the line’ was squashed by the Truman Anti-Crib Law, area redevelopment, and protest from nearby Ladd Air Force Base.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 20, 2011, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 844 times since then and 70 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on September 20, 2011, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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