The site of the new Westin Beale Street Hotel is in the historic district, so developers were required to conduct an archaeological survey. The dig, which ended Dec. 22, turned up remains of Beale Street bordellos: wine and liquor bottles and pieces of porcelain dolls believed to be owned by the children of prostitutes.
"Boarding houses," as they were called then, were in their prime in the early 1900s. When Prohibition hit Memphis is 1915, several thousand prostitutes left and went to St. Louis, according to archaeologist Drew Buchner.
Buchner also said doll fragments are common in areas once populated by bordellos. Diggers also found several buried sections of brick sidewalks. Panamerican Consultants Inc. expects to complete a report on the survey in about four months.