Hotel Street,Honolulu

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Peter H
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Hotel Street,Honolulu

Post by Peter H » 06 Oct 2006 06:47

The place to get"screwed,stewed and tattooed" in the Pacific War.

http://www.liberator.net/articles/Guest ... Powell.doc

During World War Two, a slightly different situation was present in Honolulu. During the war, over 7 million men were stationed in or passed through the city on their way to fight in the South Pacific. This, of course, provided a high demand for sex work, as some of the men coming through town hadn’t seen a woman for months. At any given time, over 200 women who had come over from the mainland were working on Hotel Street, a block full of brothels that charged three dollars for three minutes. Though the women were required to have regular medical checks, which resulted in a surprisingly low rate of venereal diseases, there were many other strict regulations over the women’s actions. Some of these were that: prostitutes were not to be seen in public with army officers, they were not to wire money home to their families, were not to own cars and they were not to have bank accounts. The prostitutes and the madams who ran the assembly line-like brothels paid taxes on their respective yearly incomes of up to $40,000 and up to $150,000 (madams). Because the women were making such huge sums of money and yet still had men constantly lined up on street, they decided to raise their prices. The chief of police (and strong opposition to the brothels), Frank Steer, said, “The price of meat [is] still three dollars,” dehumanizing the women and signifying a contempt of the lucrative profession.

In response, all of the prostitutes on Hotel Street broke with precedent and went on strike on August 28, 1942. The strike lasted for 22 days and, not surprisingly, caused enormous uproar among the servicemen who counted on having women to visit during their R&R. As a result, the women gained the rights to live and roam wherever they pleased, though the women were still not allowed to raise their prices. Two years later, near the end of the war, Hawaiian Governor Stainbeck enforced the closing of the bordellos on Hotel Street....



Due to the night curfew,men line up for the brothels during the day,Hotel Street:

Image
http://nisei.hawaii.edu/docs/IO/4800/img4800.jpg

alf
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Post by alf » 06 Oct 2006 11:52

They also serve who only ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

28th of August 1942, a day dark in the annals of war to. Now that would win the Quiz here :)

I like the iniative of the shoe shine boy in the picture, and obviously the fleet is in lol

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Post by 419* » 06 Oct 2006 12:14

Note the USO sign on the street corner to the right of the shoe shine boy.

Was this one of the recreational outlets provided by the USO? :)

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 06 Oct 2006 13:35

Hotel Street was in the Chinatown district of Honolulu.Bars,cafes also predominated.Its said that a 1,000,000 men visited the bordellos there between 1941-1945.I think many must have been multiple visitors because for a girl to earn $40,000 a year(out of the $3 charged,say $2 to the girl,$1 to the madam) thats 20,000 men she serviced in a year.200 girls times 20,000 men=4,000,000 carnal contacts a year. :)

The night curfew at Honolulu must have been in affect throughout the war.The district was closed at night.I assume the whole city shut down at night perhaps because it was considered that night lights would act as a beacon for Japanese raiders?

I think Townsville in Australia also had its red light district.

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 06 Oct 2006 14:39

The working girls:

Image

From: http://www.chinatownhi.com/myexp.asp

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Dan W.
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Post by Dan W. » 10 Oct 2006 04:35

Those are great pictures of Hotel Street. It is still associated with vice, and was officially off limits for anyone from Schofield Barracks for most of the time I was there in the late 80's. But it was not expressly off limits for my entire tour. And lots of other military posts mean different policies, but still the drugs and vice in that part of Honolulu was avoided altogether by most everyone in the military anyway, to my limited knowledge. I don't remember anyone spending alot of time in that part of twon as it had a bad reputation (and I'm sure many others went there anyway)

I dont know what it was like back in the 40's but when I was there you saw many prostitutes that were men dressed as women, called "Mahoo's" by most everyone.

Heinrich George
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Post by Heinrich George » 11 Oct 2006 22:44

Frank Steer actually was the provost marshal of the Hawaiian Department, not the chief of police. When he died earlier this year at 105 he was the oldest living graduate of West Point. Here he celebrates his 102nd birthday:

http://www.defendamerica.mil/profiles/j ... 1603a.html

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Sewer King
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Post by Sewer King » 20 Oct 2006 03:57

There is a good book that devotes some chapters to this subject, The First Strange Place, by Beth Bailey and David Farber. The authors were part of a recent History Channel documentary, The History of Sex, which covered the origins of the sexual revolution in the World Wars.

A few of the prostitutes are known by name in this history, including one madam who challenged the police power relatively openly. How widely known is it some of them turned out for general aid and relief work in the still-smoking aftermath of Pearl Harbor? They were repudiated by Hawaii's polite society women working in the same efforts. But it's arguable that the former were much closer, so to speak, to their clients than the latter were.

As far as the $3 standard charge goes, and the very great number of clients it took to make the quoted takes -- Bailey and Farber describe the three-room assembly-line process that took a few minutes per client. Not vaginal intercourse of course. By the authors' account one of them was heard to say "A guy might as well use a dead fish!" to the laughter of others in line. Nevertheless, they still lined up.

I can't remember if prostitution was illegal in Hawaii at the time, considering that taxes were paid on it whatever it may have been renamed for form's sake

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Post by 419* » 20 Oct 2006 13:27

Sewer King wrote:As far as the $3 standard charge goes, and the very great number of clients it took to make the quoted takes -- Bailey and Farber describe the three-room assembly-line process that took a few minutes per client. Not vaginal intercourse of course. By the authors' account one of them was heard to say "A guy might as well use a dead fish!" to the laughter of others in line. Nevertheless, they still lined up.


How do I pursue my interest in this revelation without provoking undue interest from the moderators?

When I saw Peter H's photos of long lines of patient men, I assumed that they were lining up for a full shag.

In my distant teenage years I spent several years in all-male situations in remote areas where available women were not seen but, despite my constant sexual desire determining that any woman would do me for a shag, there is no way I would have spent my hard-earned dollars to pay a woman for something I could have done for myself.

Just what did these blokes get for 3 bucks after queueing up for hours?

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Sewer King
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Post by Sewer King » 23 Oct 2006 03:42

Apologies 419*, I overstated how the Hotel Street brothels operated since I was going from memory. I just retrieved my copy of The FIrst Strange Place and nearly re-read the book to get it right.

I too had some reservation about how to put the matter, but thought that plain talk and good taste are not mutually exclusive. To hurry along particularly long lines, the prostitutes would sometimes resort to oral rather than vaginal sex. So what I said was not entirely correct, and gave you the wrong idea. I will PM part of the chapter as the rest of an explanation, for it is a good read.

Of course, three dollars for three minutes was still no less impersonal, mechanized, and disdainful even for a business transaction. Larger scales of mass production tend to lower standards in anything, including this.

The chapter in Bailey and Farber deftly explain the anxiety -- and very American hypocrisy -- about sex that the war made plain for all to see. And beyond the obvious, why Hawaii was such a good place for such changes to take place.

The same photo of the long line on Hotel Street is in their book, while the New Senator Hotel ad was shown in their interview for History Channel's The History of Sex. Reportedly it was the only photo of the women who plied the trade there.

I had not been absolutely certain, but the authors confirm that prostitution was as completely illegal in the Hawaiian territory as in most any other of the US. But unlike its practice in the old frontier West, the tacit legal acceptance there was uneasy.

A Canadian once put it to me in discussion that race, sex, and class are often the Three Furies in American public affairs. The more they are denied by taboo, the worse they are when they surface, or worse, when they combine. That is partly why the book is titled The First Strange Place, for the multitudes of soldiers and sailors who were there in wartime Hawaii were able to act unlike they might have at home.

I didn't mean to imply that the book is entirely about wartime sexuality. It's much more about the race and class relations that were disturbed by militarization of the Hawaiian islands. Because Bailey and Farber wrote more for sociology than military matters, I don't think their book would raise as much interest among some, despite its excellent reading.

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Post by 419* » 23 Oct 2006 09:36

Sewer King

Thanks for that post. It seems I grabbed the wrong end of the stick. :)

I read the chapter on Hotel Street today. As you say, it's a good read.

Sewer King wrote:A Canadian once put it to me in discussion that race, sex, and class are often the Three Furies in American public affairs. The more they are denied by taboo, the worse they are when they surface, or worse, when they combine.


Even in the Hotel Street brothels race comes up. The FIrst Strange Place notes that there were separate entries for coloured and white patrons before the war but that the brothels became "whites only" after the war began. I don't know what non-white US servicemen did, or were expected to do, but it must have been another highly visible and strongly felt example of racial discrimination at a time when they were generally given lousy jobs and discriminated against in many other ways.

I feel sorry for the girls. The money might have been great but it was a restricted and dehumanising life in which they were treated by officialdom as evils to be tolerated but kept in their ghetto away from 'decent' society. I'm surprised that only about a third of them were said to have been on morphine or dope.

david HMAS Sydney
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Hotel street

Post by david HMAS Sydney » 24 Oct 2006 15:59

Hello Chaps,

Had a very interesting experience in Hotel St in 1993.

Mayhem and pure violence.

Only an observer ;

Nearly got caught in it,

Was in good shape, -needed it all.

Nearly got worse.

Daylight of course, wrong place; wrong place;

Avoid women saying "need a date, sugar ?? "

Always wondered how she knew my special name.

Thought she was lonely.

-------------------------------------------

Was there to do a recon on Pearl.

Interesting.

8O

David.

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