GALVESTON RED LIGHT DISTRICT TOURS
Join us on a fascinating walking tour of Galveston's Historic Red Light District. We'll walk "THE LINE" where prostitution flourished for over 70 years...and was a tolerated and accepted part of the social and economic fabric on the island. Relive the days when "The Mob" ran the island and vice was king. We visit 8 bordellos that are still standing, the sites of the casinos and bootleg joints that made Galveston "Sin City", The "Interdependent State of Galveston" and "Pleasure Island" on our 11/2 hour walking tour of the notorious and once flourishing industry. Meet the ladies, the madams, and houses where prostitution thrived! There is nothing like the history of Galveston's Red Light District any where in the country. Our tours are highly recommended and rigorously researched and will be the most memorable 11/2 hour of your trip to Galveston... maybe of your life!
RED LIGHT DISTRICT TOURS
TICKET Pricing $25 Adults / $15 Children
Under 16 not admitted without a parent
Return to a time when the mob ran Galveston and their guests were treated as if they were family. When you crossed the bridge you enter "The Free State of Galveston," where the only rules were mob rules. The stars of the era were world class entertainers brought in to perform in the casinos, including Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and Dean Martin. Everyone was enjoying their own "Vegas dream" right here in Galveston.
Your tour will begin in our famous Red Light District. At its height there were 55 houses of prostitution on Post Office Street alone. 40,000 men a day came by the first electric train from Houston to drink, gamble and visit the houses. Prostitution drove the economy, shaped politics, and created the "Jewel of the South" or "Sin City" that brought presidents, including Lyndon B. Johnson who visited the district to "get lost for a while", and entertainment headliners to pleasure island. We'll visit the sites of the brothels, casinos, and were the gangsters lived.
Widely popular, our tours fill-up fast! Don't be disappointed....BOOK EARLY! Galveston's Red Light District Tour is a mature content themed stroll through the internationally infamous red light district. A big brother version of our world famous Historic Galveston Ghost Tour, the red light tour is steamier and inappropriate for young children. If you feel your child is mature enough to handle the content, please be advised the tour will not be abbreviated and the content unaltered in any way because of their age. You alone are the best judge.
FASCINATING NEW TOUR!
Galveston’s red light district lasted for over 70 years as a uniquely successful industry because of the combination of social and economic conditions on the island. One of the factors that contributed to the longevity was the existence of The Mob who controlled the booze and gambling. Vice came in three; drinking, gambling and prostitution. The vices were tolerated on the island because it filled the hotels. 2% of the population worked directly for the mob, 20% worked indirectly.
The girls posing for a photograph
Sam Maceo and his wife celebrating at the Balinese Room
An advertisement for the Balinese Room
They came from all over the country because Galveston was where the money and the action was, but only the beautiful stayed because of the fierce competition. The "soiled doves" as they were known, sold love every 15 minutes. Those considered less attractive migrated to the Wild West.
The ladies paid rent and 40% commission of all fees to the Madams. They worked three weeks on and one week off. They would service sometimes up to 25 clients in a night, making up to $450 per week ($4,000 in today's money). Constantly subjected to harassment by the police, venereal disease and violence, it was no easy life. Despite the high wages, suicide was prevalent, often as a result of drinking mercury to induce abortion. With advancing age they were required to move to the lower-end houses where the wages were reduced significantly.
Two of the girls getting ready for the night
Some of the most successful women in Galveston were the madams. Rising through the ranks, most were former prostitutes who saved their money for old age...25 years! They bought or leased houses and would only entertain certain visitors or distinguished guests in their private parlors. The madams had working relationships with the politicians, police, pimps and gangsters. Extremely shrewd, they could navigate their way through the myriad of demands placed upon them. Some retired as millionaires and took their place in "proper society".
The Mary Waters House, one of the most prominent houses, where Mayor Cartwright "learned to dance"
Beautiful and elegant Victorian Mansions, built before the Civil War. When the downtown business district was expanded by the Union Army, Postoffice Street was split in two and the houses between 25th and 33rd on Postoffice declined in value and became less desirable. They were readily snapped up by the shrewd madams of New Orleans who knew a bargain when they saw one. Close to the port and downtown business districts, these elegant but worthless houses were in an ideal location. The houses were uniformly painted white with either green or grey shutters as a shrewd marketing device by the madams. The higher-end and elegant houses were located directly on Postoffice Street. The alleys and cross streets were lined with "cribs" where sex could be had for a quarter.
• All guests must be over 21 years of age
not admitted without a parent
• Tours meet daily at 6, 8 & 10pm
• Tours meet at 2711 Market St.
• Please arrive 15 minutes early.
Are you planning a group tour in Galveston?
We specialize in customized group tours for corporate training events, bachelorette parties, high school and grade school tours and daytime tours. We will be glad to help you plan your event and suggest restaurants, hotels and other accommodations. Call (832) 245-0492 for details.
“The Red Light District Tour was shocking, brutal and fascinating! We learned so much about the Galveston that was.”
“The most memorable tour we've ever taken. We highly recommend this tour.”
“Undoubtedly the best tour on the island...
probably the best tour on the subject.”