Three novellas stories of graft and corruption in Twentieth Century Seattle.
In 1910, Seattle folks couldn’t decide whether to close down saloons, gambling, and prostitution or let the town run wide open. Newly elected mayor Hiram Gill compromised with a Restricted District under the supervision of his police chief, Charles Wappenstein. When the chief went to trial for graft, he said he was innocent. Gill testified he knew nothing about the chief’s misadventures. Who was honest and who was the liar?
Independent businesswoman Nellie Curtis moved to Seattle in 1931, because the city tolerated discreet vice. In 1942 Nellie opened the LaSalle Hotel, a place friends were “made easily.” Asked why hotel guests left so quickly, Nellie replied, “I never asked any personal questions of the guests.” If you don’t know, you can’t lie.
In 1951 Nelson Durham, son of Seattle’s highest ranking female police officer, sponsored Bunny Scott’s house of prostitution. When his investment became public, Durham said he couldn’t remember anything. Was he telling the truth?