Reflections on Minneapolis madams and the city's red-light districts
Right around the corner from the condo complex where I live on Washington Avenue sits a rather elegant three-story brick building. Yes, it's a Midwestern brick box, but, with white brick eyebrows adorning its windows and a set of colonnaded balconies above the door, it has a solid beauty. I figured that it had to have some historical significance; if not, the developer of my building would have knocked it down and filled in the space with more condo units.
What I didn't know was that 212 Eleventh Ave. S. is the lone surviving bordello building in Minneapolis.
That news came from “Minneapolis Madams: The Lost History of Prostitution on the Riverfront,” a fascinating account of the city's red-light districts and the ladies who ran them. It comes from Penny A. Petersen, a researcher with Hess Roise, a historical consulting firm.