Sunday, August 7, 2011

Lethbridge's Red Lights, Part 3

"The first Lethbridge brothels were the teepees the Indians pitched on the Belly River Flats 300 feet below the flatland on which the city itself was eventually located.  However, as the Galt mansion and the rather elaborate houses of the mine manager and the foremen were also built on the flats, the Mounties tended to run the Indians off into adjacent coulees and away from the settlement.  The first permanent brothels were built in the coulees on the west side of the river by women who came in from Medicine Hat and Great Falls with the railway.  As employment in the mines expanded, Lethbridge, except for the prostitutes, grew almost as a town without women.  While a few of the European miners brought wives and children with them, most of the first settlers were single.  The result, according to legend, was that the river-bottom brothels did a roaring business until the coal company began opening up its pits on the area above the river valley...When the coal company built a huge bunkhouse on the flats above the river to serve its single miners, the other miners gradually moved into lodgings close to the upper pit heads.  As their clients moved away, the madams also moved to the top of the hill and established an enclave of brothels on a triangular spit of land on the extreme west side of the settlement.  It was flanked on the north by a huge coulee that extended from the river clear up to the back door of the Lethbridge Hotel on Round Street, which later became 5th Street South.  On the south another deep coulee extended from the river almost to 4th Street.  The widest point pf this triangle was at 2nd Street between 3rd and 4th avenues...By 1890 there were six brothels and the coal company dormitory within the triangle which was famous throughout southern Alberta as "The Point".

Today's Good News:  Mountain stage of the Tour de Balf today!