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From 1889 to 1929 (when it was closed upon the owner's death), Nina Clifford ran a brothel under the streets of Saint Paul, Minnesota. She was the most famous madam in Minnesota history, both because of her success and for the ingenuity she showed in attracting customers. A small cave-complex was built underground, linking the prestigious and exclusive Minnesota Club with Ms. Clifford's secret brothel to allow her clients the privacy they required.

Her real name was Hannah Crow and she was born in Canada of Irish immigrant parents. Her family moved to Detroit, Michigan where she married a man named Conrad Steinbrecher. Widowed in 1886 at the age of 35, she moved to St. Paul. Her brothel was neither secret nor in a cave. She had a beautiful red brick building on Washington Street which was then the sin district of St. Paul. The waiting area featured crystal chandeliers and Mumm's champagne was served. She ran the business personally until her death in 1929 at the age of 78. The house was destroyed in 1933, but its foundations were discovered and excavated by an archeological team when the new foundations were being dug for the Minnesota Science Museum. The infamous tunnel to the Minnesota Club is a persistent legend, but has never been proved. Nina died in Detroit while visiting family, and is buried there in Mount Elliott Cemetery.

Ms. Clifford was memorialized in the 1980s with a play, and then a musical, about her antics. It was entitled Nina! Madam to a Saintly City.

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