Hooker's Division

Better known as:  Federal Triangle

Hooker's Division

Hooker's Division, located in the area around the White House, was one of Washington's major Red Light Districts in the 19th century. (Source: Library of Congress)

To most, “Federal Triangle” doesn’t sound like a great name for one of the most notorious red-light districts in 19th century D.C., but maybe “Hooker’s Division” does. During the Civil War, Union General Joseph Hooker consolidated much of Washington’s seedy business into this area, attracting thousands of “loose characters” as the Evening Star once put it. The area became more residential in the years following the war, and the prostitution was shut down with Progressive Era regulations put forth by Congress. Also, to debunk a popular myth, this is not where the word “hooker” comes from.

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