The Sedalia Katy Depot

Sedalia Missouri's  Visitor Center and Year-Round Historic Railroad Destination

Lizzie Cook

Owner Operator of 2 of Sedalia’s most successful brothels.

SOILED DOVES The presence of a large population of young, transient single men in a frontier community provided an obvious, but simplistic, explanation for the presence of large number of prostitutes. A typical brothel was on the second floor of a legitimate business – a saloon, a store or a restaurant.  A series of small rooms opened off a long hallway with back stairways opening on to alleys. The soiled doves entered the market place as business women and were consumers who borrowed money at local banks, spent money in local shops, paid taxes on any real estate they owned and contributed regularly to the city treasury.

Sedalia’s Infamous RED LIGHT DISTRICT  Sedalia had “one of the midland’s most notorious red-light districts.” That prostitution thrived should not have been surprising, since Sedalia was a rail head, a federal military post during the Civil War, the end of the cattle drives out of Texas in the mid 1860’s, and a rapidly growing industrial and mercantile center in the 1870’s and 1880’s.  As Sedalia developed from a frontier boomtown to become a prosperous, settled city, however, prostitution would have been expected either to decrease or to be hidden. Neither happened. A partial review identified by name, more than 500 soiled doves who worked in Sedalia between 1868 and 1900 at brothels scattered through out the city.