This Day in Texas History: Violence Presages End of Red-Light District
This Day in Texas History:
(from the Texas State Historical Association archives)
Violence Presages End of Red-Light District
February 08, 1887
This was one of the most famous gunfights in western history–and, contrary to the movie legends, one of the few face-to-face shootouts. The duel was the first of two events that drew increased hostile attention to the hive of brothels and bars known as Hell’s Half Acre. The second was the discovery of a murdered prostitute named Sally, two weeks later.
Before these violent occurrences, even legitimate businesses had resisted reform of the Acre because of the money it brought in. But the deaths of Courtright and Sally brought renewed and ultimately successful cleanup efforts.