Red Light Raid

Location: 310 Clay Street
Date: June 15, 1915

The Redlight Abatement Act is now law, and the first establishment to be entered by crowbar, ax and the strong arms of police and DA’s men was the Hotel Clayton, formerly the Lorraine. The authorities interrupted a gay midnight dinner party and made prisoners of all 25 inside, including some panic-stricken ladies who begged to be turned loose as their husbands didn’t know they were out. In all, 17 men and 8 women were seized.

Among those arrested, 75-year-old proprietress Mrs. Florence Cheney (held on $5000 bail for pandering and $2000 for contributing to her 16-year-old granddaughter Florence Emery’s delinquency). Florence is now in the hands of juvenile authorities and her mother Ella Emery is being held on vagrancy charges.

Also arrested were Special Officers W.C. Becker and A.S. Ross of the Nick Harris Detective Agency, both in the process of devouring sandwiches and claiming to be doing some investigating of their own, attorney Chauncey Gardner, who refused any comment, a fellow named Jones who had no trousers, and a number of people named Smith or Jones. All came before Police Judge Frederickson and were bailed at $50 each after pleasing not guilty, save Mrs. Cheney, jailed on the statutory charges, and the two detectives, released on their own recognizance.

When the place was called the Lorraine it was site of the murder of the notorious Nellie Buck, Hite’s shooting of his wife and several suicides, and seems to still be a place of notable ill favor.

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Author: Kim Cooper

Kim Cooper is the creator of 1947project, the crime-a-day time travel blog that spawned Esotouric’s popular crime bus tours, including The Real Black Dahlia. She is the author of The Kept Girl, the acclaimed historical mystery starring the young Raymond Chandler and the real-life Philip Marlowe, and of The Raymond Chandler Map of Los Angeles. With husband Richard Schave, Kim curates the Salons and forensic science seminars of LAVA- The Los Angeles Visionaries Association. When the third generation Angeleno isn’t combing old newspapers for forgotten scandals, she is a passionate advocate for historic preservation of signage, vernacular architecture and writer’s homes. Kim was for many years the editrix of Scram, a journal of unpopular culture. Her books include Fall in Love For Life, Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth, Lost in the Grooves and an oral history of Neutral Milk Hotel.

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