Old Cribs District – Husband’s Alley
At one point in time, prostitutes could be found throughout Jerome, when brothels were located right next to saloons and women could walk throughout the town to “advertise” their business. Eventually, these businesses were re-located in the streets behind Main and these became known as the old Cribs District or “Husband’s Alley.” These businesses were located right behind the saloons, where men could get a few drinks, gamble, then sneak right out the back door for another kind of entertainment.
Sex work operated on a hierarchical scale. At the high end of the scale were classy ladies who worked in brothels operated by madams who had a pretty cushy job. They often only provided (expensive) companionship for lonely men living in a town almost devoid of women, and had access to healthcare, security, and education. At the low end of the scale were women working in the cribs, who somehow managed to see 30 to 80 clients per day. It was a rough job that had no guarantees or safety and many women who worked in the industry succumbed to the illnesses or violence associated with the job.
There are many stories about the horrors these sex workers endured and history just barely remembers a few who died at the hands of their clients. One woman, named Sammie Dean, died after being strangled in 1931 by the son of a powerful member of town. She is said to haunt the building she previously lived in and there’s no doubt that the spirits of other women who died from similar fates still linger in the area.