". . . there must have been at least two hundred girls active along Silver Street simultaneously, and perhaps many more. There were a lot of miners, and a girl can only do so much." -- J. B. Martin, Call It North Country, 1944.This is the town where I graduated from high school. One of my first real jobs was as a waitress at the Club Carnival (on the right in the photo). It was an interesting place to work. The building was designed like a lot of supper clubs, restaurant on one side, lounge on the other. The stage wasn't visible from the restaurant side, but we could hear the music. As a minor, I wasn't supposed to ever step into the lounge side, but of course managed to satisfy my curiosity eventually. Back then, it was old-fashioned Gypsy Rose Lee style burlesque -- lots of sequins and feathers and g-strings and pasties that covered more than some bathing suits do today.
Most of that side of the street is now vacant lot -- lots of mysterious* fires happened after the mines closed but before winter tourism (skiing and snowmobiling) became popular. Business was already dying when I worked at the Club Carnival -- most nights the restaurant had barely enough customers to justify staying open, and the lounge would be practically empty. There was definitely something very sad about a dancer having to get up on a stage and do a strip tease for an audience that could have fit into a phone booth.
For awhile after the night life on Silver Street faded the locals weren't too happy about the lingering association between Hurley and vice, but at some point someone realized that, although the hookers were gone, there was still money to be made off their memory. The Chamber of Commerce now brags about Chicago gangsters having frequented the saloons, and cheerfully describes the city as "long known for gambling and prostitution."
[*although the only real mystery in most cases was how the fire marshal avoided smelling the accelerant or tripping over the gas cans.]