Hell's Half Acre

Stop 14: At Santa Fe Station at the SE corner of W Reno and EK Gaylord Blvd, Downtown

Big Anne Wynn, the town's most prominent madam, pitched a tent on Front Street on the day of the Run to provide female companionship for the overwhelmingly male population.

Disembarking at Santa Fe Station new arrivals encountered a district that came to be known as Hell's Half Acre. The streets were referred to as Alabaster Row, Hop Boulevard, and Bunco Alley. Nine billiard halls and 18 club houses were counted in the city directory of August, 1889. Big Anne Wynn became a powerful figure in the shadow world of adult entertainment which provided the city with consistent revenues and challenges in law enforcement.

The western edge of the block was Broadway, nicknamed Battle Row. At various times it housed the Two Johns Saloon, the Black and Rogers Saloon, the Turf Club, and the Vendome (the plushest bawdy house in town), alongside the First National Bank, the Lee Hotel, and above the Black and Rogers Saloon, the city council chambers and police court.

For years a war raged between the advocates for enforcing morality, and those favoring an open city even if the edges were a bit rowdy. The city government derived revenues from license fees on the saloons and dance halls, and many of its prominent citizens enjoyed an occasional visit. Oklahoma City attracted people from all over the country, and offered a flourishing den of temptation.