Wilson & Washburn is a nod to early Omaha, a lawless and debaucherous pioneer town. Numerous characters shaped the city, including prominent madams Anna Wilson & Josie Washburn.
Little is known about Anna's early life. However, by the late 19th century she had amassed a small fortune from her business operations and real estate investments, and was known as the "Queen of the Underworld". Her 25-room mansion, formerly located near 9th & Douglas, was donated to the city to be used as a hospital until it was raze in the 1940s. She is buried in Prospect Hill Cemetery next to her companion Dan Allen, another key player in Omaha's formative years.
Josie Washburn worked many years in the industry, including a time for Wilson, before operating her own brothel in Lincoln. In 1909 she published a book titled "The Underworld Sewer: A Prostitute Reflects on Life in the Trade" detailing her life experiences.