Squad Cars Pull Up And End A Golden Era

It was December 2, 1940. A small caravan of squad cars came to a stop on Block 16. Block 16 was the red light district that evolved in the first year, 1905, of Las Vegas as an established town. Here, men and women would mix for drinking, partying, and sexual activity. Block 16 had survived for 35 years, but its end was now at hand. Times were a changing, not that Vegas suddenly got a conscience.

A raid took place on that December day. Sixteen police officers, including the Chief of Police and the Commissioner, quickly exited from their squad cars and entered the various bars and saloons located within Block 16. The men and the working women were taken by surprise and confusion reigned giving police time to arrest 22 women. These women were the very first to be charged with prostitution. The end of legal prostitution had come to end as did the end of Block 16 era as it was known.

During the life of Block 16, one of the more famous, upscale, and established places was the Arizona Club. The Las Vegas Sun ran an article in 2008 that highlighted the Arizona Club:

Other saloons on Block 16 did not include brothels. Bars like The Gem, Turf and The Arizona Club did not have a brothel. The Arizona Club, considered to be one of the best bars in town, was also the first saloon and gambling hall, until 1912, when the Arizona Club changed management. The new owner built an entire second floor over the bar to house a bordello.

“The most famous saloon was the Arizona Club. It was known as the ‘Queen of Block 16,’ and it was the best known and the longest lasting club,” said Green. “It was famous for it’s slow gin fizz and its 40-foot mahogany bar.” The full article is here.

Those days are now long gone, but the memories will linger throughout history. There are maybe a few people still living who remember those days.



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