In the late 19th century and the first half of the 20th, Northern Kentucky (the Newport area) was the nation's mecca for casinos, strip clubs, porno theatres, illicit gambling, liquor stores, taverns, burlesque halls, pervy private clubs, disreputable cabarets and piano bars, sleazy country clubs, speakeasies, opium dens, brothels, mobster hangouts, seedy bookstores and no-tell motels.
Though not quite as transcendentally amoral as the Weimar Republic, the glory days of Northern Kentucky were a heady and dizzying hell-ride through the underbelly of America's underbelly. Even celebs like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Joey Bishop came to Kentucky to party during Newport's heyday.
Unfortunately, the forces of purity, piousness and clean living began to put the pressure on, and eventually the party was over. The mob packed up their tommy guns, the showgirls packed up their feather boas, and the action all moved out West to a little nothing spot in the desert called Las Vegas. By the 1970s, Newport was no longer known as "Sin City" and Kentucky's reputation for decadent libertinism was dead.
But as Bruce Springsteen once said, "Everything that dies, one day comes back". We're absolutely certain of it.
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