#25 Ann Arbor Stories: The Red Light District

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February 16, 2017

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aas_red_light_district.mp350 MBAudio

There was a time in Ann Arbor’s not-so-distant past when a part of town was widely known as the red light district. Adult bookstores, topless massage parlors, prostitutes, hoodlums, and bums—all just blocks from City Hall and Ann Arbor police headquarters. Cops were raiding massage parlors every few months, rounding up a dozen massage workers at a time, but the arrests never made a dent. Crackdowns on prostitutes and the johns who solicited them didn’t make much impact either. The red light district regenerated. Persisted. Grew stronger.

How did Ann Arbor become home to this kind of brazen adult fare?

Music by FAWNN

Learn more in the AADL Old News Archives.

Contains explicit content.
Length: 00:20:52
Copyright: Copyright Protected
Rights Held by: Quite Scientific Records, LLC
Media Categories:Ann Arbor, History, Local Creators, Local History
Media Series:Ann Arbor Stories
Media Type:Audio


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How many times have I walked down Fourth Avenue with no idea about its history? I enjoyed this episode, which goes into more detail than the similar segment of the Ann Arbor Walking Tour #1. It's especially interesting to me that the red light district eventually faltered under economic, rather than criminal, pressure. It's interesting to think about these types of changes when so much is changing around Ann Arbor here in 2017.