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Waco, El Paso, Dallas, and Houston experimented with legal vice zones.Waco enacted ordinances by 1889 that not only provided for licensing of prostitutes and bawdy houses and required medical examinations, but also explicitly legalized prostitution within a precisely defined district. Despite the accommodation with prostitution in many towns between 18, the era was also marked by periodic outbursts of antiprostitution fervor.It thrived at army forts, in cow towns and railroad towns, and at other gathering points.From the late 1860s to the 1880s soldiers stationed at federal military posts in West Texas and along the Mexican border generated a lively commerce in prostitution.Camp laundresses sometimes doubled as prostitutes, and prostitutes also congregated at the sordid settlements that sprang up near such army posts as Saint Angela (the future San Angelo), across the Concho River from Fort Concho, and "the Flat" below Fort Griffin.Elsewhere in West Texas the spread of prostitution reflected the burgeoning ranching industry and the expanding railroad network.
Prostitution flourished in fast-growing communities elsewhere in Texas between 18.Most were poor or not far from it, owned little personal property, and were beset by the ever-present threats of violence, venereal disease, and harassment by city officials.Many prostitutes used such drugs as opium, morphine, and cocaine, not uncommonly to commit suicide.The construction of the Texas and Pacific Railroad precipitated the founding in the early 1880s of Abilene, Colorado, and Big Spring, three ranching centers where saloons, gambling dens, and prostitutes attracted cowhands and other West Texans from throughout the region.In the Panhandle during the 1880s the boisterous but short-lived cattle towns of Tascosa and Mobeetie drew numerous cowboys to their vice districts, "Hog Town" and "Feather Hill," respectively.
Both white and black women figured prominently among Texas prostitutes.