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Minneapolis Madams: The Lost History of Prostitution on the Riverfront

  • Mill City Museum 710 South 2nd Street Minneapolis, MN, 55401 United States (map)

Historian Penny Petersen will give a presentation based on her new book, Minneapolis Madams, a surprising and riveting account of the city’s red-light district and the powerful madams who ran it. 

Paul Maccabee, author of John Dillinger Slept Here: A Crooks’ Tour of Crime and Corruption in St. Paul, says, “Minneapolis Madams is an utterly engrossing, behind-the-bordello look at the collision between the Mill City’s commercial sex industry, civic corruption, and advocates for sexual purity in the 1800s. Penny A. Petersen probes the nineteenth-century ecosystem of brothels and streetwalkers with a keen eye for political hypocrisy, sexual double standards, racial prejudice, and gender-driven economics. A gem of sexual and social history, this book illuminates the boudoirs of the long-forgotten red-light districts with insight, wit, and humanity.”

Where: Mill City Museum’s ADM Room. Use 710 South Second Street entrance and go to the 6th Floor

Parking: Street parking on South Second Street is usually available, and a parking garage across the street from the museum.

Cost: This event is free! Donations are welcome for coffee and sweet treats.

Photo: Minneapolis First Street Red-Light District (Minnesota Historical Society photo). On the left is a warehouse built in 1907, already displacing a couple of brothels. The first building on the right was a brothel acquired by Jenny Jones for a time after the first madam lost it to bankruptcy. The lighter building was built in 1905 after Main Street closed. This area became run down after the bordellos closed, Petersen said, with some places remaining as uncomfortable “cribs.” (via Twin Cities Daily Planet)