Jack Remembers: Lexington of the 1930s and ‘40s had it all, including world’s oldest profession

By Jack Hackley

I received an e-mail from Dennis Whitehead of Arlington, Va.  He had read one of my articles in the Lexington News and was wanting to know what Lexington was like from a teenager’s view in the 1930s.
He has just completed a documentary and is now writing a book, both titled “Love and Sacrifice.”
It is a story of a father and son who were both killed in the Second World War within three weeks of each other.  The father, Colonel Ollie Reed, was a professor of Military Science and head of the ROTC at Wentworth from 1933 through 1939.
His son, Ollie Reed, Jr., known as “Buddy,” was a cadet at Wentworth, and later a West Point graduate.  One chapter of Dennis’s book will be what Lexington would have been like for a young cadet during these years.
I gave Dennis the names of several people, including Bill Cohres, Ike Skelton and Bob “Doghair” Warner, who would have known Lexington in the late 30s.  If any of my readers were familiar with Lexington during that era, please contact me and I will pass it on.
I related to Dennis that I remembered my parents trading in Lexington in the late 30s and early 40s, and that it was a vibrant town that included fine shops, Wentworth cadets walking the street in uniform followed by high school girls, a population of coal mine workers, and Block 42 (allegedly 42 bars on one block).
As I and some of my classmates found out and could verify in later years, Lexington was also the home of two of the oldest continuously operating houses of prostitution west of the Mississippi.
Although they were both closed in the early 50’s it was not because of lack of business. My classmates and I did all we could to help perpetuate their business.

Jack can be reached at PO Box 40, Oak Grove, MO 64075, or  Visit

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