Businesswomen

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Maxwell, the manager of the Top Hat Tavern for nearly 30 years, discusses her personal history as well as her experiences as a manager of a nightclub on Broadway in Louisville.
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Ms. Bonniebell Porter was 85 at the time of this interview. She was widowed at an early age. She recounts her experiences growing up in the area around 4th Street and Armour Place, and her later businesses as a landlady and a restaurant proprietor. She enjoyed growing up in Old Louisville. She describes the time period following world War II, after many of the Victorian buildings in Old Louisville had been converted to rooming houses and apartment buildings. At one point, she believes she owned a dozen properties; she stresses that at that time, one could buy properties in Old Louisville at low prices. She also discusses crime in Old Louisville, then and now. While she generally believes crime in Old Louisville is worse now, she does recount a number of stories about prostitution. While drugs are more of a problem now, alcohol was a problem in an earlier era. She bought her first property before she turned 18, and continued in this entrepreneurial vein for the rest of her career. As she was a single woman, this was rather unusual at that time.