"Prisons are built with stones of law,
brothels with bricks of religion."
William Blake



Earnest Bellocq, New Orleans


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Out of the parlor and into the bedroom. A young bawd pauses by a mahogany door . . . beckoning callow San Joseans into a world of carnal depravity and eternal damnation.

If you were tempted by this sort of thing . . . and who's perfect, El Dorado St. was the X on your map. One could drink, snort, smoke, and spit amongst like-minded folk. Red lights glittered from second-story windows. Gold moon-light revealed saloons a'plenty. Harlots in peacock attire promised love - for a price.

El Dorado St. emerged out of the steaming bowels of San Jose in 1855, originally one short block between First and Market St. The quantity of saloons, bawdy houses, and structures harboring every permutation of vice was downright inspirational.

To accommodate even more vice, the street was extended to River St., a configuration lasting until 1974.

On Aug 26, 1902, in an effort to "clean up its image" (read: property owners upset by diminished property values due to having bawdy houses next door), the street was re-named Post. It was claimed the old name "had become possessed of an unenviable notoriety."

This tactic was used in New Orleans when Basin St. was renamed North Saratoga. A poor tactic, as it turns out, because citizens and tourists prefer a colorful past. New Awlins changed the name back to Basin when it became apparent tourist dollars were being lost. Denver changed its infamous Holiday St. to Market St. - as it remains today. Denver not to bright. D'ohhhh!


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