The Lady in the Window

If you have ever lived in  Joplin, you have undoubtedly heard about the House of Lords.  Usually one hears a story that goes like this: Bar on the bottom floor, gambling on the second floor, and a brothel on the third floor.  After reading years of Joplin newspapers, we can honestly say that yes, there is truth in the story. There were slot machines, there were countless rounds served at the bar, and yes, there were prostitutes working the building. This excerpt from a letter describes what one resident saw one day while working downtown:

Joplin Main Street

On the left, the House of Lords, on the right, the Joplin Hotel. Neither quite shared the same clientele.

“Two weeks ago last Saturday night, I, stood in front of the Joplin Hotel, and such a sight as was seen on the opposite side of the street cannot be forgotten.  A drunken, brazen, disgusting prostitute stood in front of a window in the third story of the House of Lords as naked as when she came into the world, in plain view of the hundreds of people walking up and down the street, and not an officer with the courage or decency to prevent it.  Ladies were obliged to turn their faces or leave the street; and I am told that the proprietor of the hotel cannot assign a lady a front room because of the character of the occupants in the building across the street.  Sodom and Gomorrah were never sunk as deep in the depths of infamy and vice as this, and the prayers of the wives and mothers of Joplin will be answered.”

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2 Responses to “The Lady in the Window”

  • Comment from Larry Cebula

    Is there any truth in the story that when, after the surrender of Germany, Eisenhower approved fraternization between American GIs and German women he said something like “Hamburg is going to look like Joplin on a Friday night.”

  • Comment from HJ

    Hi Larry – We rolled our eyes when we read that quote. So we contacted the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene, Kansas, and asked if the staff could find a reference to it. They did not. Additionally, with further research, we could not find any evidence that Eisenhower made that statement.

    The origin of the quote seems dubious. An elderly woman stated she heard Eisenhower say it on the radio in 1945, then a hack writer put it in his book without verifying or sourcing it. Unfortunately, it’s probably going to become just another accepted myth about Joplin.

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