Madame Lou Graham arrives in Seattle in February 1888.

  • By Priscilla Long
  • Posted 1/01/2000
  • Essay 2762
In February 1888, Madame Lou Graham (1861-1903) steps off the steamer Pacific Pride and begins her project of founding a sumptuous, lucrative, and expensive house of prostitution. She establishes the house in downtown Seattle at 3rd Avenue and Washington Street, and it is frequented by Seattle's most elite business leaders and visitors.

Madame Lou Graham was German-born and her real name was Dorothea Georgine Emile Ohben. She made a fortune in Seattle and became a large landowner. She died of syphilis at about age 42, and left her entire estate to relatives in Germany (not to the King County public schools as some sources state).

Sources: Gary and Gloria Meier, Those Naughty Ladies of the Old Northwest (Bend, Oregon: Maverick Publications, 1990), 58-63; John Horton, "The House That Graham Built," The Seattle Scroll August 4, 1997, p. 4.

Related Topics:   Scandals | Society | Women's History

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