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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - September 4, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD 5 Lethbridge offered a red light welcome Booze orgies cooled The Point By JOANNA MORGAN, Herald Staff Writer Lethbridge residents will walk, shop and play on less-than-sacred ground when the Woodward's com- plex and new city park are built on the west side of the downtown business core. The same district, bounded by the coulees and 5th Street S.. between 3rd and 5th Avenue, once boasted a large con- glomerate of brothels. "The Point" as the sec- tion was called by old- timers, and the "segregated area" by the more fastidious, did a roar- ing trade for half a century between 1890 and World War II. CHRONICLED Much of the history for this part of Lethbridge is chronicled in Calgary author James H. Gray's book. Red Lights on the Prairies. Gray maintains in his study of prostitution and Western hard-drinking that the past has more color than people today wish to admit. He writes: "Historians have managed to create the illusion that the West was settled by monks, eunuchs, and vestal virgins, interested only in debating such ethereal issues as tree trade, the Manitoba schools question, and discriminatory freight rates." RED LIGHTS The land where Marshall's Auto Wreckers now stands was the centre of the red light zone. "The wildest point of this triangle was at 2nd Street between 3rd and 4th avenues." Prostitution in Lethbridge. Gray suggests. was a definite supply and demand commodity. Over 1.500 men. most of them single, were employed in the coal mines in the 1890's. The town was also the rail shipping point for cattle round-ups, and that brought cowboys from all over Southern Alberta here. The first dwellings in Coalbanks. as Lethbridge was then known, were located in the riverbottom. The brothels were original- ly on the west side of the Qldman river. When the Northwest Coal and Navigation company began mining the east banks in the riverbottom. miners and townspeople moved their houses about feet up the coulees on the east side. And as Lethbridge began its ex- istence on (lie eastern CHRISTMAS in LONDON (Wardair Charter Flight) Leave from Calgary 17th December, 1973 Return to Calgary 7th January, 1974 21 Days S259 Deposit Reserves Your Seat Final Booking Deadline 17th September 1973 NO MEMBERSHIP REQUIRED FABULOUS GALAXY OF STARS TOUR TO LAS VEGAS CIRCUS CIRCUS HOTEL SPA CASINO Frequent Departures from Calgary 5 Days and 4 Nights PER PERSON (Based on Double Occupancy) Call in or Phone A.M.A. WORLD TRAVEL For The Best In Travel See... A.M.A. WORLD TRAVEL 608 5th Ave. South, Lethbridge Phone 328-7921 or 328-1181 (Free Customer Parking at Rear of Building) plateau, it was only logical that the madams would follow. BROTHELS dray writes that by 1890 there were six brothels in "the point" and that these were "gaudily painted two and three-storey frame houses." Moreover, "when the CPR took over the railway lines and eonverted them into its Crow's Nest Pass branch, the brothels were the first sight of Lethbridge that travellers got as they crossed the famous high-level bridge. Winter or summer, the friendly lights of The Point were beacons for late- arriving travellers from the west, the north, and the south." Karlv NWMP and city police records show the in- stitutionalized prostitution had the tacit approval of (he authorities. A readily available "segregated area" meant that procuring and street- walking were minimal. Bui the Point did not have a trouble-free life. Agitation in 1898 to city council by a Presbyterian minister. Charles McKiliop. forced the city fathers to write bylaw 94. This regulation made it an offence punishable by a fine or 30 days in jail to keep a bawdy house. HARASSMENT One charge laid under this bylaw did not have its intended effect. (Iray reports that this sort of Continued Page 6 OF ALL 1973 MODELS PARKWOOD, PARAMOUNT, SHAMROCK and OLYMPIC MOBILE HOMES ALL UNITS ARE DRASTICALLY REDUCED WE MUST MAKE ROOM FOR THE 1974 MODELS HERE ARE A FEW EXAMPLES 14'x64', 2 bedrooms, completely furnished. Regular Retail STAMP-OUT PRICE J14'x68', 3 bedroom, deluxe furniture, slider windows, bay windowS Choice of 3 models. Reg. Retail STAMP-OUT PRICE V 9 J14'x68', 3 bedroom, Deluxe Spanish Decor, fireplace, 2 door (frost free fridge. Reg. Retail STAMP-OUT PRICE MANY MORE UNITS AT OUTSTANDING SAVINGS BAhSK PAYMENTS HOURS: OPEN DAILY 9 TILL 6 WED., THURS. 9 TILL 9 AFTER HOURS TYMKO 327-2507 FRED MEHEDEN 327-9103 HIGHWAY 3 EAST PHONE 327-1986 ;