About

Learn about Lancaster’s Notorious Past

Lancaster was once infamous as a “wide open” city for vice. Around 1900, police and other officials encouraged and even participated in prostitution, gambling, and drinking. The Lancaster Vice Walking Tour introduces you to the people and politics of this surprising era.
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Photos courtesy of LancasterHistory
  • We loved learning about the hidden side of Lancaster and imagining what the city was like 100 years ago. Hearing stories about individual people and how they lived really brought the tour to life. Highly recommend!

    Jennifer R
    Lancaster Vice Attendee
  • I had no idea about this side of Lancaster's history! Now I see familiar places in a whole new light and it was fun to walk the side streets and learn about places I'd never seen before.

    Kelly M
    Lancaster Vice Attendee

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Blog

Latest from the Blog

A Grandmother on Lime Street
3 min read

A Grandmother on Lime Street

Tillie Carberry, a 65-year-old grandmother, was a stout woman with gray-streaks in her hair. She owned and ran a furnished…

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Trouble at the Palace Pool Room
3 min read

Trouble at the Palace Pool Room

Lancaster’s pool halls were linked with commercial sex and gambling in the early 1900s. Pool games were cheap--about a…

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Podcast

The Lancaster Vice Files Podcast

Meet the people who worked in Lancaster's underworld

Barbara Foreman, Charity Girl
Episode 04

Barbara Foreman, Charity Girl

Barbara Foreman worked as a tobacco wrapper in the city in the early 1900s. She was part of a growing number of wage-earning…

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Jennie Taylor, Proprietor of Disorderly Houses
Episode 03

Jennie Taylor, Proprietor of Disorderly Houses

The local newspapers of Lancaster, Pennsylvania wrote often about Jennie Taylor, the daughter of a formerly enslaved man.…

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Amanda Breneman, Notorious Madam
Episode 02

Amanda Breneman, Notorious Madam

Police arrested Amanda Breneman when they raided her brothel in 1914. In this case, unlike most other cases of women arrested…

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Kennedy Eckert, Young Sport
Episode 01

Kennedy Eckert, Young Sport

Kennedy Eckert was a bell boy and a local billiards champion in Lancaster. Although these titles hint at Eckert's proximity…

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