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In the heart of the Silver Valley mining district in the US state of Idaho, is an old dusty town called Wallace with a population of about eight hundred. But when the mines were booming in the early to the mid 20th century, there were four times as many residents. At that time men outnumbered women 200 to 1, so brothels were another thriving business.

Wallace had several active whorehouses servicing the men at night after a laborious day of work at the mines. When prostitution was outlawed in 1973, all but one closed. Run by Madame Ginger, the Oasis Rooms simply took down its sign and continued operation. Madame Ginger made sure that enough donations were made to the local police fund to keep trouble out of the way. Law officers weren’t the only ones who benefitted from Madame's philanthropic activities. She also made generous contribution to the local economy, sponsoring the Wallace High School’s band uniform, for example. So when the FBI got wind of her illegal operation and prepared to raid her brothel in January 1988, Madame Ginger was tipped off. The employer along with all the girls grabbed whatever they could carry and vanished, never to return again.

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Photo credit: visitidaho.org

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