In January 1942, the federal government notified Peoria that unless prostitution was curbed in Peoria, the city would be closed to soldiers on leave.

The action was taken in response to a spike in venereal disease observed by the US public health service.

A reform-oriented alderman ratcheted up the pressure on the mayor and police chief with a resolution that threatened to cut off their salaries if the city’s brothels were not closed.