When Lexington’s notorious madam, Belle Brezing, died in 1940, her belongings were auctioned off over several days. She had lived in seclusion for many years and had been in poor health; the once-grand house on Megowan Street in Lexington was in a sad state at the end.
Even the most upstanding of community members crowded into the house to gawk at the interior and eagerly bid on the belongings of a woman they reviled while she was alive. And almost 80 years later, there’s still a certain cachet in owning something from Belle’s house.
Today one of Belle’s ornate mirrors graces the entryway of The Bar Complex on Main Street in Lexington, a historic gathering place for the region’s LGBTQ community. I think Belle, always the outsider, would have approved.