Brothels Found Near FedExForum

Memphis, Tenn., recently had some of its history uncovered – literally.

As construction began at a hotel near the FedExForum, a section of the original Beale Street was discovered. The dig found three buildings that appear to have been the ruin of many a poor girl.

Archeologists dug through a half-block square site while preparing for the construction of the Westin Hotel in front of the new arena.

About 6 feet down, they discovered the remains of three bordellos from the late 1800s to about 1915, when Prohibition arrived in Memphis.

“This area around Beale Street was a notorious red light district,” archeologist Drew Buchner said. “It’s all part of the lore of Beale Street.”

FedExForum is located on the grounds of the Beale Street Historic District, which was the epicenter of culture and entertainment for black America from the early 1900s through World War II.

The dig, which ended December 22nd, uncovered wine and liquor bottles, and pieces of porcelain dolls apparently once owned by the children of prostitutes.

George Lee, a Memphis political leader during Beale Street’s heyday, wrote about Prohibition’s effects on the famous strip and how it caused several thousand prostitutes to move from Memphis to St. Louis.