St Louis History “The Social Evil Hospital ” Found Very Interesting

2 Comments

September 26, 1872 – 142 years-ago today, the Social Evil Hospital opened in St Louis. Shortly after the Civil War, the StL Police Chief estimated that there were 5,000 prostitutes working in the city, & on July 10, 1871, the St Louis City Council passed the “Social Evil” ordinance, authorizing the Board of Health to license and regulate prostitutes. It
allowed prostitution, as long as the woman worked in an established house, & didn’t market her services on the street.
In addition, she had to have a weekly medical exam. The $6 monthly fee paid for this exam went to build what became known as the Social Evils Hospital. Originally designed to hold 30 patients, it would be enlarged to have a capacity of 300, many of whom suffered from venereal disease. When the ordinance was revoked in 1874, its name was changed
to “The Female Hospital”. In the roughly three-years the ordinance was in effect, 2,052 prostitutes had been registered. Within a few months of the ordinance’s passage, many women refused to register. Some claimed the fees were too high. Others objected on the grounds that they shouldn’t be required to register for something which was their right. Within a
year, the number of registered women dwindled by 50%. In 1873, 766 women registered, of which two-thirds claimed to have become prostitutes by choice, 18% were motivated by poverty, & the remainder claimed a variety of reasons; including “seduced”, “family trouble”, “abandoned by husband” & “bad company”. Of the registered prostitutes, 14% were
married.
The Female Hospital was torn down in 1914, & is now the site of Sublette Park, Arsenal & Sublette.
The Female Hospital was the birthplace of world-famous singer/dancer Josephine Baker.

2 thoughts on “St Louis History “The Social Evil Hospital ” Found Very Interesting

  1. I metal detect and I sure wish I could find out exactly where the evil house stood in place of Sublette park cause I grew up on reber pl if u have any idea please e-mail me.THX

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s