Ticket Prices: $25 for Adults | Parental discretion advised. | BOOK NOW
Under 16 not admitted without a parent
Return to a time when the mob ran Galveston and their guests were treated as if they were family. When you crossed the bridge you enter “The Free State of Galveston,” where the only rules were mob rules. The stars of the era were world class entertainers brought in to perform in the casinos, including Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and Dean Martin. Everyone was enjoying their own “Vegas dream” right here in Galveston.
Your tour will begin with our famous Red Light District. At its height, there were 55 houses of prostitution on Post Office Street alone. The authenticity of this tour is the result of extensive research and firsthand information from our consultants including former FBI special agents, documentaries, newspaper clips, books, and interviews. We’ll visit the sites of the brothels, casinos, and were the gangsters lived. Al Capone came to Galveston with an eye to take things over. He lasted a week and was escorted off the island never to return.
Galveston’s red light district lasted for over 70 years as a unique successful industry because of the combination of social and economic conditions on the island. One of the factors that contributed the longevity was the existence of the mob who controlled the booze and gambling. Vices came in threes; drinking, gambling and prostitution. The vices were tolerated on the island because it filled the hotels. 2% of the population worked directly for the mob, 20% worked indirectly.
They came from all over the country because Galveston was where the money and the action was, but only the beautiful stayed because of the fierce competition. The “soiled doves” as they were known, sold love by the hour (or every 15 minutes). Those considered less attractive migrated to the Wild West. They paid rent and 40% commission to the Madams. They worked three weeks on and one week off. They would service sometimes up to 25 clients in a night, making up to $450 per week ($4,000 in today’s money). Constantly subjected to harassment by the police, venereal disease, and violence, it was no easy life. Despite the high wages, suicide was prevalent, often as a result of drinking mercury to induce abortion. With advancing age, they were required to move to the lower-end houses where the wages were reduced significantly.
Some of the most successful women in Galveston were the madams. Rising through the ranks, most were former prostitutes who saved their money for old age…25 years! They bought or leased houses and would only entertain certain visitors or distinguished guests in their private parlors. The madams had working relationships with the politicians, police, pimps, and gangsters. Extremely shrewd, they could navigate their way through the myriad of demands placed upon them. Some retired as millionaires and took their place in “proper society”.
Beautiful and elegant Victorian Mansions, built before the Civil War. When the downtown business district was expanded by the Union Army, Postoffice Street was split in two and the houses between 25th and 33rd on Postoffice declined in value and became less desirable. They were readily snapped up by the shrewd madams of New Orleans who knew a bargain when they saw one. Close to the port and downtown business districts, these elegant but worthless houses were in an ideal location. The houses were uniformly painted white with either green or grey shutters as a shrewd marketing device by the madams. The higher-end and elegant houses were located directly on Postoffice Street. The alleys and cross streets were lined with “cribs” where sex could be had for a quarter.
- Content may NOT be appropriate for children under 16
- Parental discretion advised. Under 16 not admitted without a parent
- Meet every day at 8pm
- Tours meet at 27th Street and Market in front of Gypsy Joynt (2711 Market St, Galveston, TX 77550)
- Please arrive 15 minutes early
- “Had a magnificent time with John as a tour guide. We highly recommend enjoying this experience if you’re in the area!”
- “Awesome time!! I had a blast and the tour guide was super friendly and knowledgeable.”
- “5 STARS! This Red Light tour is comparable to old Amsterdam! LOVED IT.”
- “Most unique and fun way to spend a night out with friends. We look forward to booking your Ghost Tour next!”