The Journal of San Diego History
Winter 1989, Volume 35, Number 1
Thomas L. Scharf, Editor

by Clare V. McKanna, Jr.
Department of American Indian Studies
San Diego State University

The dives…were called the Stables…[because] they resembled stalls. Built in a long row facing a compound, one opening leading to each a room from the outside and a door that gave seclusion. A wash bowl and pitcher served as plumbing, a bed and a chair or two. Water was carried from a lone faucet that stood outside.”

Walter Bellon1

Images from this article

This brief description paints a drab portrait of the atmosphere surrounding a typical prostitute who might have worked at “The Stables,” located on Third Street in the San Diego Stingaree district. “Prostitute” is a word loaded with emotion that offers a variety of images from a vision of loveliness, to the madam who lived a life of opulence in a large house known to everyone. There is another image of the prostitute that paints a picture of a broken home, early sexual advances by males, alcohol abuse, substandard living quarters (as depicted), dirty degrading work, poor health, and high mortality.2

This essay will focus on the futile attempts by politicians, reformers, and police to control prostitution in San Diego. Earlier historical accounts have suggested that the Stingaree district ceased to exist in 1912 with the November raid conducted by the San Diego Police.3 As will be seen, that is far from the truth. Prostitutes were able to adjust to pressure placed upon them by police, city officials, and citizens’ committees. Their adaptability helps to explain why extensive raids occurred in the Stingaree as late as 1938. Despite attempts to suppress prostitution, it has remained a part of the San Diego scene.

Police records, an important source for prostitution studies, are scarce.4 Still, there are sources available to document their activities. For example, San Diego Police Jail Registers offer the researcher a valuable resource for using quantitative methods in crime research. Also manuscript census can reveal information about the racial and social background of prostitutes. We can use the data to plot their movement within the red light district-to explain time and spatial changes that occurred. These sources, along with city directories, crime statistics, and newspapers provide enough information to allow us to develop some impressions about prostitution. Also an examination of the Stingaree district with social-historical research techniques may provide a few insights.

Census data for 1900 and 1910 offer a brief glimpse of the prostitutes. It is important to note that census information provides only an approximation of the Stingaree’s prostitute population.5 Although enumerators included prostitution as an occupational category in 1870 and 1880, that practice was dropped.6 Since their occupation has usually been looked upon as degrading, prostitutes were often reluctant to volunteer information, particularly to government officials. There were at least forty-eight prostitutes in the Stingaree district in 1900, but within a decade their numbers had tripled to 143.7 On the other hand, if more recent studies dealing with estimates of prostitutes are to be believed; there were probably many more.8

The living arrangements of prostitutes in the red light district, show that twenty-nine percent lived alone in single dwellings in 1900. A decade later only one person indicated single unit residence. More women had begun to move into hotels rooming houses. Also, brothels increased in size. One at 1224 J Street doubled. In 1900, the largest brothel housed only eight women, but by 1910, six houses exceeded that number. Three held over twelve prostitutes, the largest nineteen.

Ethnic composition (Table1) remained fairly stable during the decade with only a slight decrease in th percentage of white females. It is, however, important to note the appearance of black women in 1910 and the “disappearance” of Orientals. Chinese women may have refused to answer the door when census enumerators came by.


Table 1
Ethnic Composition

Ethnic 1900 1910
  N=     percent         N=     percent
White 45 93.8 129 90.2
Negro 0 0. 10 7.
Hispanic     1 2.1 4 2.8
Oriental 2 4.1 0 0.
Total 48   143  

Source: 1900 and 1910 U.S. Census

As might be expected, prostitutes were young. In 1900, seventy-three percent were thirty or less, but that number increased to over eighty-five percent by 1910. There were significantly fewer older women in 1910 than in 1900. Marital Statistics also (Table 2 reveal significant changes. Single prostitutes declined from eighty-one to sixty-nine percent by 1910, while divorced and married women increased. Divorcees doubled from six to fourteen percent and married prostitutes climbed from ten to sixteen percent. These modifications within the profession probably reflected social change within society at large and the acceleration of urbanization.


Table 2
Marital Status

Status       1900 1910
  N=     percent         N=     percent
Single 39 81.3 99 69.2
Divorced 3 6.3 20 14.
Married 5 10.4 23 16.1
Widow 1 2. 1 .7

Source: 1900 and 1910 U.S. Census

Occupational categories (Table 3) show that in 1900, seventy-five percent of the prostitutes claimed to be “mistresses.” A decade later, not one woman used this term. It could have been the enumerator and his choice of words. In 1900 three women used the word prostitute to describe their occupation, while not one used the term in 1910. One woman admitted to being a brothel keeper in 1900, none appeared in 1910. Many of the woman in 1910 listed their occupation as waitress, twenty-six percent, and a significant number claimed to be seamstresses. Some, possibly with a sense of humor claimed to be candy store sales persons. But then again, this could have been legitimate. Health inspector Walter Bellon stated: “These all purpose girls, some of which were employed in up town dress shops, resturants, [sic] and other prominent places during the day” visited the Stingaree districts on Saturdays.9


Table 3
Self-Reported Occupation

Category       1900 1910
  N=     percent         N=     percent
Mistress 36 75. 0 0.
Seamstress 1 2.1 15 10.5
Hairdresser 0 0. 5 3.5
Housemaid 2 4.2 7 4.9
Chambermaid 0 0. 6 4.2
Rm House Prop 0 0. 7 4.9
Stenographer 0 0. 7 4.9
Waitress 0 0. 38 26.6
Bookkeeper 0 0. 4 2.8
Saleslady 0 0. 9 6.3
Candy Store 0 0. 6 4.2
Nurse 0 0. 9 6.3
Brothel Keeper 1 2.1 0 0.
Prostitute 3 6.3 0 0.
Cook 0 0. 5 3.4

Source: 1900 and 1910 U.S. Census

Birthplace statistics (Table 4) indicate some important shifts. For example, the number of women coming from other geographical regions increased, while Californians decreased. Equally important, the number of European born prostitutes declined from twenty-three to eight percent by 1910. The biggest regional increase occurred in the West with a change from six to twenty-four percent. A significant shift in prostitutes from the South might reflect the movement of black women in San Diego. The percentage of women from the Northeast or Midwest remained fairly constant. The birthplace of parents adds another factor that should be mentioned. In 1900 all of the women knew the birthplace of their parents. Twenty and fifteen percent of the 1910 prostitutes, according to the enumerator, however, did not know the country or state of their father’s and mother’s birth. This may suggest broken homes or children born out of wedlock.


Table 4

State       1900 1910
or Region N=     percent         N=     percent
California       14 29.2       30 21.
Northeast 4 8.3 12 8.3
Midwest 11 22.9 29 20.7
South 1 2.1 16 11.1
West 3 6.2 35 24.4
Mexico 3 6.2 2 1.4
Europe 11 22.9 12 8.3

Source: 1900 and 1910 U.S. Census

Prostitutes in cribs like the “Stables” visited saloons or walked the streets to find customers then returned to their quarters where they worked. Usually, two women alternated using the same room. Brothel women received prospective customers in the house and then went to a room assigned to them. Women who worked in brothels or cribs paid a percentage to the manager. Brothel keepers usually demanded fifty percent, while crib owners extracted a similar amount. Few prostitutes lived an opulent life, however, pimps and madams did very well. In many cases, due to lack of economic opportunity, the women were trapped.10

San Diego’s population increased 123 percent in the decade following 1900.11 This dramatic change created a larger demand for prostitutes in the first decade of the twentieth century. The Stingaree district developed because of geographical location; situated between the wharf and the main business district, it catered to sailors and businessmen. The exact dimensions of the district are hard to determine, but buy 1900 its borders stretched from H Street (now Market Street) south to the bay, and from Second Street east to Sixth Street. That would include approximately fifteen blocks. Figure 1 (see page 54) shows the location of prostitutes in 1900. Note that only five women (slightly over 10 percent) resided in the region north of H Street. Figure 2 provides a look at the location of prostitutes in 1910; over eighteen percent of them now lived north of H Street.

Saloons and dance halls thrived in the Stingaree as well as in the main business district. These social gathering places provided an atmosphere in which prostitutes could ply their trade- there was one within a block of every brothel or “crib” in the Stingaree district. They attracted each other and offered mutual economic opportunities. By 1900 twenty-six saloons were situated in downtown San Diego, but by 1905 that number had doubled to fifty-three. Then a decline to thirty-nine occurred by 1910 and a further drop to thirty-five in 1912.12> In 1900, there were only fourteen saloons north of H Street in the main business district, however, that number jumped to thirty in 1905.The saloons near Horton Plaza attracted prostitutes into the business district. Equally important, city officials by closing thirteen saloons in the Stingaree district pushed prostitutes out of the region. This push-pull effect accelerated their movement north.13 By failing to consider the implications of their actions in revoking saloon licenses, city officials changed the habits of many prostitutes, increased their visibility in the business district, and eventually brought about the demand by concerned citizens for closing the Stingaree.

As early as the late nineteenth-century, numerous newspaper articles and editorials called for the closing of the red light district. Some people, however, preferred to keep the women confined to the Stingaree. In 1890 Chief of Police Joseph Coyne made it known that it was “his intention of keeping the women of the lewd order who live at the lower end of second, Third and Fourth Streets within some sort of bounds….”14 Nine years later a city delegate proposed an ordinance to keep prostitutes south of H Street.15 It did not pass, but city officials took action on another front. In April 1900, they passed an ordinance to regulate the sale of liquor in saloons. Ordinance number 741 prohibited bartenders from selling liquor to patrons in rooms adjoining the bar. They also were forbidden to maintain alcoves with doors-the insides of these rooms must be visible from the bar. It eliminated private entrances to the saloon that were for women only. Women’s restrooms were exempted.16 Clearly, city officials were trying to control the relationship between prostitutes and saloons.

The police preferred to allow the district to remain open and tried unsuccessfully to keep the women south of H Street. In 1909, Police Chief Keno Wilson, City Prosecutor Edgar Luce, and a San Diego Sun reporter toured the Stingaree. The reporter noted that there were fewer saloons because of city ordinance enforcement, but also reported that most of them had converted to temperance saloons or dance halls that were forbidden to sell liquor. He observed further that the districts is “going to remain there, for the city administration doesn’t want to break it up and spread it all over town.”17 It was just such a movement of prostitutes northward into the main business district that created pressure to close the Stingaree.

Policemen arrested a few prostitutes in the Stingaree less than three months prior to the famous November 1912 raid. On August 19, 1912 Patrolman Pierre Boisseree found four men with Mamie Johnson, Beatrice Smith and others unknown at 439 Second Street. He ordered the women to close the premises. He returned at 11 PM, found them engaged with men and arrested them. The judge fined them thirty dollars each with a suspended six month sentence on condition they leave town. How many others were arrested is unknown. About two weeks later officers arrested Irene Wiley on unspecified charges. According to the officers, Wiley who lived at 1135 J Street, had been working in San Diego for eighteen months at the Eagle, Yankee Doodle, and La Grande saloons. On September 13th, Officer Boisseree arrested Julia Barton, the landlady of Canary Cottage, at 4th and J Streets. Charged with vagrancy, she was ordered to leave town. On that same day Detective F.A. Wisler apprehended Frances Lowencart (charges unknown). Two days later he arrested her again, this time for being drunk. Wisler noted on his arrest report that “this girl is a professional nurse but went wrong and worked in the Green Light.” A month later officer Gary Bugoner arrested Mrs. R.B. Moore for taking” men to her room and keeping her husband in the clothes closet.” She was staying in a hotel. One day later an officer apprehended Rae Page and charged her with vargrancy.18 These seven arrest reports, the only ones extant for this period, suggest that the police were attempting to control the Stingaree, but with little success. They may have chased a few women out of town, but over 140 remained to ply their trade.19

Exactly when the San Diego anti-vice movement began is not clear, but by October 1912 certain prominent citizens had begun to pressure the government to deal with prostitution. On October 1, 1912 a group that came to be known as the Vice Suppression Committee, met with Captain John L. Sehon, superintendent of police, and Police Chief Keno Wilson to call for closing the Stingaree district. Members of the group included Dr. Charlotte Baker and Mrs. R. C. Allen of the W.C.T.U., and the reverends William E. Crabtree, Charles L. Barnes, and R. H. Harbert. Police officials were willing to cooperate, but asked that some method should be established to care for the women before any attempts were made to close the Stingaree. Most of the members of the committee refused to discuss the issues with San Diego Union reporters. Mrs. Harry Weddle claimed she did not care to be quoted on the subject, but relented long enough to state: “I will say, however, that I think the closing of that district is perfectly practical”. According to the police, the reverend Harbert, a black minister, seemed the most realistic when he noted: “The social evil will not be uprooted or killed by the closing of the Stringaree.” Later it became known that a statement had been released by some of these members who had belonged to a previous committee to eradicate vice. They called for the closing of the red light district, the prevention of prostitution in hotels and boarding houses, the dissemination of knowledge on the health problems with venereal disease among prostitutes, and the protection of young people from such vices.20

The members of the committee admitted that they had a difficult task in developing some plan to take care of the women who might ask for help in the Stingaree district. A San Diego Union writer claimed that there were at least one hundred women in the Stingaree district. Exactly how they would be “taken care of” was not spelled out by the committee.21 Dr. Charlotte Baker and Mrs. R.C. Allen had been corresponding with officials in other cities where red light districts had been closed. They decided to visit Los Angeles and study how they had handled the issue of helping prostitutes. It soon became clear that things were not perfect in the City of Angels. Reports circulated that Los Angeles’ officials had not solved their prostitution problem. Mrs. Alethia Gilbert, a police jail matron visiting San Diego, claimed that “there are more fallen women, more young girls coming before our juvenile courts for delinquency, and more disgusting disease in Los Angeles than was ever the case when we had a restricted district.” This statement was corroborated by Probation Officer Leo W. Warden who noted: “Hotels and rooming houses are filled with the women who once were segregated in a restricted district…. I believe in a restricted district myself; I could not do otherwise after seeing the increase in depravity since ours was done away with, and I believe San Diego will make a great mistake if it closes its red light [district] and allows the evil to spread over the city….”22 Reformers received criticism from various groups and individuals. Several Catholic church members claimed that the Door of Hope could not solve the problem of the “fallen women.” From past experience it seemed that those prostitutes who visited the House of the Good Shepherd in New York used it for purposes other than reform. It became a haven in the winter, but they left to ply their trade in the spring.23 A reporter, after researching the subject, also noted than an attempt to close the San Diego red light district in 1903 had little effect on prostitution.24 Clearly the issue of prostitution was more complex than most believed. Nevertheless, irate citizens demanded that action be taken.

By early November 1912 pressure to close the district had reached its zenith — the city fathers could no longer ignore the reformers. Police Chief Keno Wilson preferred to control the prostitutes by keeping them south of H Street — he had failed. The Vice Suppression Committee finally had the advantage. Led by Dr. Charlotte Baker, a physician and women’s rights leader, members of the W.C.T.U., local clergy, and Door of Hope officials, the committee forced city officials to act.25 Police Superintendent John L. Sehon ordered Wilson to round up the women and kick them out of the district. Wilson observed: “When all is said and done, these women are still women. They are outcasts, but no criminals, and while I will do my duty, I do not propose that this order shall work any unnecessary hardship upon them.”26

The police conducted the raid November 10, 1912, and arrested 138 women. City Prosecutor Shelly J. Higgins recalled: “Before him [Judge George Puterbaugh], the women were lined up in rows of five or ten. He heard their plea, fined each $100, and suspended the fine on condition they leave town….”27 Chief Wilson interrogated the women and asked them their names, background, and if they wanted help to “reform.” Clara Doe explained that she “began her career….when she was 15 years of age.” After fifteen years in the profession, she had no regrets. Reporters noted that” she was a well dressed, good looking” woman. Flora West stated: “I am 28 years of age and I would be glad to quit this sporting life if I could find a way to do it….”She noted that she could not find work that would pay enough to support her crippled mother and younger sister. West offered “I tried working in a department store and the wages they paid me would not have kept me alone, no matter how economically I might have lived….”28 Most of the women felt it was too late to change. One sighed: “I would like to be good again, but the world won’t let me. It must keep me as I am. Please don’t say any more. God! Don’t I know? Haven’t I tried?”29 Only two women accepted help from the Vice Suppression Committee. The rest agreed to leave town the next day.

The raid divided the community and provoked criticism, as well as support. Mayor James E. Wadham claimed he “had nothing to do with it” and would not comment. Three council-persons agreed that the law called for the closing of the red light district, and concurred with the actions taken by the police. Mrs. L.K. Lanier, Shakespeare Club, claimed: “I do not think that the redlight district ought to have been abolished…. The women will only go to infect another city. “Reverend E.R. Watson offered: “I think the whole thing is all wrong, and that a dreadful mistake has been made. I think the men who go down to those places are just as bad as the women, and I believe it is wrong to arrest the women and not arrest the men. “Seymour W. Tulloch, head of the La Follette Club concurred insisting that punishing the women and not the men was wrong. Building Inspector Kirkwood said: “I do not like it at all. It doesn’t work out in other cities, and I do not see how it can here, especially as this is a seaport city.” Another claimed: “What a lot of tommyrot! That doesn’t solve any problem.”30

Police Chief Keno Wilson predicted “I do not believe it is practical to close this district and rid the city of fallen women in this way.”32 He Suggested that they would eventually spread throughout the city. A reporter noted that most of those who left by train purchased round trip tickets. Two days later, Vice Suppression Committee spokespersons claimed that they would now focus their attention on the uptown business district where prostitutes worked out of hotels and rooming houses.32

Soon after the raid, a reporter noticed an increase in street walkers.33 San Diego Police Jail Register statistics reveal ninety-two arrests for prostitution related offenses in 1913. That number more than doubled in 1914 and maintained a high rate into the 1920s (See Table 5). The high mark of 420 arrests occurred in 1918 during the First World War when there were numerous soldiers and sailors stationed in and around San Diego. There are also a few arrest reports that detail the attempts of the San Diego Police to control prostitutes in the Stingaree. On May 20, 1915 they arrested Julia Barton, famous for running the Yellow Canary Cottage in the red light district, for vagrancy. Arresting officers reported that she and a number of women were now working out of the Milan Hotel at 620 Third Street. In July police arrested thirteen women all of them working in the Stingaree district.34 Clearly, the raid had not solved the problem.


Table 5
San Diego Prostitution Related Arrests, 1912-1925

  N=     percent
1912             60 1.9
1913     92 3.
1914     204 6.6
1915     252 8.2
1916     164 5.3
1917     184 6.
1918     420 13.7
1919     172 5.6
1920     232 7.5
1921     212 6.9
1922     184 6.
1923     236 7.7
1924     300 9.7
1925     352 11.4

Source: San Diego Police Jail Registers, 1912-1925

The San Diego Vice Suppression Committee fits well within the national reform movement that closed red light districts. Chicago closed theirs in 1910 and were soon followed in quick succession by Los Angeles, Atlanta, San Diego, Denver, Philadelphia, St. Louis, New York, Portland, Baltimore, and Cleveland, The actions of the Vice Suppression Committee were typical of Progressives throughout the United States who unsuccessfully tried to suppress prostitution.35 In 1913, California Progressive reformers passed the Red Light Abatement Act. This state law allowed any person to sue an individual who rented buildings to prostitutes. Actually, it created few problem for prostitutes.36 In 1917, San Diego officials passed ordinance number 7180 prohibiting fornication in hotels or apartments unless the persons were married.37 This also had little effect, except for adding a new law to arrest prostitutes. As well be seen, most women were still being arrested for vagrancy.

The San Diego Police Jail Registers for the period September 1912 through December 1925 offer another glimpse of law enforcement’s attempts to control prostitution. During that period a total of 3,064 women were arrested for operating a disorderly house, vagrancy, violation of the fornication law, or other related charges. With an average of about 235 arrests per year (See Table 5), there is little doubt that the city had not solved the prostitution problem by “closing down” the Stingaree District.38


Table 6
Specific Prostitution Related Charges

  N=     percent
Vagrancy               344 44.1
Disorderly House     89 11.4
Fornication     118 15.1
Detention     145 18.6
Health Hold     74 9.4
Other     8 1.4

Source: San Diego Police Jail Registers, 1912-1925

A twenty-five percent sample (778 cases) of this group reveals the following statistics. By far the largest number of women (forty-four percent) were booked in jail by San Diego Police officers for vagrancy (See Table 6). They were arrested under Section 647 (subsection 10) of the California Penal Code. “Every common prostitute” could be charged with being a “vagrant” punishable by a fine of up to five hundred dollars, or imprisonment in a county jail for up to six months, or by both fine and imprisonment. Detention was the second preferred charge with over eighteen percent detained under this catch-all word. Police arrested in 1917, while eleven percent were charged with maintaining a disorderly house, and nine percent for health checks. Forty-two percent of those arrested were released within a short period of time. Only fifteen percent paid a fine or forfeited bail, while just under eleven percent actually were confined to jail by court order. It seems clear that police methods tended to be harassment that probably had little effect on most of the prostitutes. The data suggest that the police methods of using selective enforcement, patterned on the pre-1912 approach, did not really bother the prostitutes. It might have disrupted their routine somewhat, but the statistics show that they quickly returned to the streets to ply their trade.


Table 7
Ethnic Composition

Ethnic N=     percent        
White 562 66.7
Negro 136 17.4
Hispanic     65 8.3
Other 15 2.1

Source: San Diego Police Jail Registers, 1912-1925

Another statistical pattern involving the treatment of ethnics, however, is much more disturbing. It is quite clear that black women were more likely to be arrested than white women. Although black women constituted only about 1.3 to 1.5 percent of the total female population in San Diego from 1910 to 1930, they comprised over seventeen percent of the total arrests for prostitution related offenses (See Table 7). The population at risk factor for the census year 1920 is quite remarkable. Only 265 black females were between fifteen and forty-four years of age, while 19,666 white females (includes Hispanics) fit within that age bracket. Therefore the black females comprised only 1.3 percent of the at risk group, however, white females made up 98.6 percent. Yet black females accounted for over seventeen percent of the arrests. Black women also had a higher than usual rate of arrest for vagrancy with 24.8 percent. It seems quite clear that black women were more likely to be arrested for prostitution related charges than white women. Equally significiant, black women paid an average of about six dollars more in fines per arrest than white women. This suggests racial prejudice by individual officers on the beat, or possibly by watch commanders who ordered the arrests, and by the court system.39

The data demonstrate that the enforcement of laws aimed at curbing prostitution was ineffective and discriminatory. Prostitutes were able to adapt to the pressures placed upon them by state and local officials as well as public spirited reform groups who tried to suppress their activities. They Knew where the market was, and took advantage of it. Although most worked from established houses in 1910 (See Figure 2), in the following two decades, more and more of them began to operate from hotels and rooming houses. Flexibility enabled them to continue their occupation with only occasional disruptions from police raids.

Not surprisingly, from 1930 to the present era prostitution had remained viable in San Diego. Police, sometimes pressured by concerned citizens, have made numerous raids, but with little effect in curbing prostitution. In most cases the prostitutes who are raided move to new locations. In late 1938 police conducted raids in the Stingaree district, arresting 132 men and women on morals charges.40 Some thirty-five years later, in a series of massage parlor raids in 1973, police arrested over seventy people in three days. Two years later additional raids pressured prostitutes, but they apparently did not leave town. Officials passed new ordinances to close massage parlors that worked as fronts for prostitution.41 Within a few years most of the bogus massage parlors were out of business; however, prostitution remained, spreading into other areas.

The business district along El Cajon Boulevard, from about Texas Street to 70th Street, became the new mecca for many prostitutes. BY 1980 their visibility of this heavily traveled boulevard brought numerous complaints from business owners and citizens who lived in the area. Police conducted raids in 1981 to “eliminate” the problem in the new region. Hundreds were arrested, including “Johns.” Additional raids netted over 150 embarrassed “Johns” in early 1982, but to little avail. In the first two months of 1984, police arrested 443 men and women for prostitution related charges, but with no apparent change.42

There may be a lesson here for public officials who have tried for so many years to suppress or control prostitution by using the “sweep” technique. when police conduct these raids, many prostitutes “go out of business” or leave town for a week or two.43 By itself repression is not a reasonable response to vice problems. In 1932 a study of prostitution in New York City suggested: “Before any policy of repression can be effective in ridding a community of prostitution it must be combined with some program that will effect a reduction in the sources of supply and demand.”44 That reality must be faced by city officials who want to control prostitution, otherwise they are doomed to repeat the failures of the past.

I wish to thank Pliny Castanien, Historian, San Diego Police Department, for generously opening his files for my research; and Rick Crawford, Archivist, San Diego History Center Archives, for giving access to the San Diego Police Jail Registers.



1. Walter Bellon, “Walter Bellon Manuscript,” p. 15 typed manuscript, nd, San Diego Historical Society Archives.

2. See Howard B. Woolston, Prostitution in the United States: Prior to the Entrance of the United States into World War (Montclair, N.J., 1921), pp. 39-43 and 71-73.

3. It is true that some unsanitary structures were condemned and demolished: but vice continued to be a viable commodity in the stingaree. The 1912 raid only helped to spread the prostitutes throughout the city. For the earlier view, see Elizabeth C.Macphail, “When the Red Lights Went Out in San Diego: The Little Know Story of San Diego’s ‘Restricted’ Districts, “Journal of San Diego History 20 (1974), 1-28; and James Mills, “Sin Sailing Ships and the Stingaree: Our Vanished Barbary Coast, San Diego Magazine 9 (October 1957), 36, 52, and 72-73.

4. Virtually all arrest records for the period under study have been destroyed, and only eight arrest reports involving prostitutes (1912-1915) remain.

5. Most of the Stingaree was in the Fifth Ward. Enumerators sometimes missed people, but came back to the check addresses that had not answered their knock. An accurate accounting was virtually impossible, but it is more likely that the count was underestimated. See U. S. Census, 1900 and 1910, and San Diego County.

6. Marion Goldman takes advantage of this earlier occupational category in her important study on prostitution in the Comstock Lode country of Nevada. See Marion Goldman, Gold Diggers and Silver Miners: Prostitution and Social Life on the Comstock Lode (Ann Arbor, 1981), appendices, pp. 169-78.

7. In arriving at these figures, several criteria were applied. First, the study of the census was limited to the area from Front Street east to 12th Street, and From the wharf north to D Street. Second, familial patterns were helpful in establishing possible prostitutes, such as several single women living together in one dwelling within the Stingaree district. Third, occupational categories proved useful in the 1900 census. The 1910 census, however, caused difficulty. Some women were eliminated because it was virtually impossible to establish a relationship, although they lived within the district under study. Only two names from the 1900 census reappear in 1910.

8. Because of part-time prostitutes, it is virtually impossible to gain an accurate count. John F. Decker suggests a ratio of 1.39 to 1.68 prostitutes per one-thousand population as an acceptable average. If Decker’s ratio is applied, at the minimum the figures for San Diego were 2.7 and 5.1 per thousand in 1900 and 1910. This suggests that there is no such thing as “an average.” San Diego had a large demand created by the harbor and business district, that in turn increased the supply. See Vern L. Bullough, “problems and Methods for Research in Prostitution and the Behavioral Sciences,” Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 1 (1975), 244; and John F. Decker, Prostitution: Regulation and Control (Littleton, Colorado, 1979), pp. 10-16.

9. Walter Bellon, Manuscript,” p. 13.

10. According to one source women in the west, at least during the late nineteenth-century, found it difficult to obtain adequate work that offered reasonable wages and upward mobility. See Goldman, Gold Diggers and Silver Miners pp 20-25; and Lucie Cheng Hirata, “Free, Indentured, Enslaved: Chinese prostitutes in Nineteenth-Century America, ” Signs 5 (1979), 3-29.

11. San Diego’s population increased from 17,700 to 39,578.

12. The 1915 and 1919 figures for saloons remained stable with fifty-two and fifty respectively. San Diego City and County Directory for 1899-1900 (San Diego, 1899) p. 314; San Diego City and County Directory, 1905 (San Diego), pp. 612-13; San Diego City and County Directory, 1910 (San Diego, 1910), pp. 710-11, and 719); San Diego City and County Directory, 1912 (San Diego, 1912), pp. 1008-09; San Diego City and County Directory, 1915 (San Diego, 1915), p.1499; and San Diego City and County Directory, 1919 (San Diego, 1919), p. 1315.

13. For an important study on prostitution mobility, see Neil L. Shumsky and Larry M. Springer, “San Francisco’s Zone of Prostitution, 1880-1934,” Journal of Historical Geography 7 (1981), 71-89

14. San Diego Union April 15, 1890.

15. San Diego Union August 29, 30 and November 9, 1899.

16. City Ordinance Number 741, April 23, 1900, in San Diego City Ordinance Book Number 4, pp.381, San Diego Historical society Archives. See also Ordinance Number 730, p. 365

17. San Diego Sun September 11, 1909.

18. It should be noted that only one (Rae Page) appears in the 1910 Census. Arrest Reports Number 1016, and 1046, and five unnumbered, San Diego police Department, courtesy of Pliny Castanien, Historian, San Diego Police Department.

19. See U. S. Census, 1910, San Diego County; and San Diego Union November 11, 1912.

20. San Diego Union October 2, 1912.

21. San Diego Union October 3, 1912.

22. San Diego Union October 13, 1912.

23. San Diego Union October 14, 1912.

24. San Diego Union October 15, 1912.

25. see San Diego Union October 2,3,13,14,15, and November 10, 11, 1912.

26. Police Chief Keno Wilson was a realist. He knew that arresting the women would accomplish virtually nothing. See San Diego Union November 10, 1912.

27. Shelley J. Higgins and Richard Mansfield, This Fantastic City San Diego, (San Diego 1956), p. 320. For details on the raid see San Diego Union November 11, 1912; and San Diego Sun November 11, 1912.

28. San Diego Union November 11, 1912.

29. San Diego Sun November 11, 1912.

30. Watson and Tulloch offered some rational thinking in their statements; however, the arresting of “Johns” was not for their generation. see San Diego Sun November 11, 1912.

31. San Diego Union November 10, 1912.

32. San Diego Union November 12, 1912.

33. San Diego Union November 13, 1912.

34. Arrest Report Number 1945, May 20, 1915, San Diego police Department, courtesy of Pliny Castanien, Historian, San Diego Police Department; and San Diego Union July 31, 1915.

35. See Roy Lubove, “The Progressive and the prostitute,“The Historian 24 (1962), 308-30; Robert E. Riegel, “Changing American Attitudes Toward Prostitution, 1800-1920,“Journal of the History of Ideas 29 (1968), 437-52; Egal Feldman, “Prostitution, the Alien Woman and the Progressive Imagination, 1910-1915,American Quarterly 19 (1967), 192-206; and Kay Ann Holmes, “Reflections by Gaslight: Prostitution in Another Age,” Issues in Criminology 7 (1972), 83-101.

36. Only house owners and brothel managers came under the provisions of this law. Police usually arrested prostitutes and charged them with vagrancy-647 subsection 10 of the Penal Code; this called for the arrest of “every common prostitute.” see The Statutes of California and Amendments to the Codes, 1911 (Sacramento, 1911) and The Statutes of California and Amendments to the Codes, 1913 (Sacramento, 1913), pp. 20-22.

37. City Ordinance Number 7180, October 29, 1917 in San Diego City Ordinance Book Number 30, p. 91, San Diego History Center Archives.

38. See the San Diego Police Jail Registers, 1912-1925, San Diego Historical Society Archives.

39. See U. S. Bureau of the Census, Fourteenth Census of the United States: 1920, III, pp. 107 and 111.

40. Newspaper clippings dated February 4,8, April 29, and two dates unknown 1938 in “Vice Squad File,” Courtesy of Pliny Castanien, Historian, San Diego Police Department.

41. San Diego Union July 28, 29 and August 1, 1973; and February 1, and 2, 1975.

42. San Diego Union February 15, 1981; June 20, 1982; and February 22 and March 9, 1984. The arrest of “Johns” is of recent origin. In the past police unfairly placed the burden on women when enforcing prostitution laws. For decriminalization of prostitution see “Prostitution: A Non-Victim Crime?” Issues in Criminology 8 (1973), 137-62.

43. See Jennifer James, “Mobility as an Adaptive Strategy,” Urban Anthropology 4 (1975), 349-64.

44. Willoughby C. Waterman, Prostitution and its Repression in New York City, 1900-1931 (New York, 1968), pp. 156-57.

THE PHOTOGRAPHS are courtesy of the San Diego History Center’s Title Insurance and Trust Collection.