Honors English I
January 22, 2012
“Pretty girls in fine dresses and stylish bonnets filled the open carriage that came up the hill from China Street and turned down the main dirt thoroughfare, Washington Street.” This is how local author, Gordon Cotton, begins his story about the famous brothel, 15 China. If one would try to locate 1500 China Street today, they would find a three way stop; the last number on the street being 1625. Though the house was torn down in 1970, its stories still last, in Vicksburg and all over the world. “Only a few years ago a ham operator here made contact with someone in Hong Kong… The man halfway around the world immediately asked the Vicksburger, ‘Is 15 China still in business?’” If one asked a true Vicksburger today, they would be filled with stories of the famous home, as it has always been a topic of provocative conversation. Though the house is an object of fable and story, it truly did exist as a brothel. Therefore, in accordance with popular belief, 1500 China Street existed as a brothel until the mid-nineteen hundreds (Cotton 1).
15 China was not simply famous for its excellent “hospitality,” but its defining qualities of elegance and refinement; setting it apart from the other brothels in Vicksburg. The furnishings where all Victorian; adorned with gold leaf and illuminated by crystal chandeliers. Upon arrival at 15 China, “the consumer” would be merrily greeted by a group of young women. He would then be guided up onto the second-floor ballroom, where the women and the men would socialize and dance to a piano player before heading up for the night (Cotton). 15 China also had a series of parties each year, the most famous being the Prostitute Ball. One year, the girls thought it would be humorous to send out invitations to the local ministers. The night of the party, the fire...