1931, from skid road "track of skids along which logs are rolled" (1851), from skid (n.). The sense was extended to "part of town inhabited by loggers" (1906), then, by hobos, to "disreputable district" (1915).
A street or district frequented by derelicts, hoboes, drifters, etc, such as the Bowery in New York City
[1931+; fr skid road]
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D. Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers. Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with skid row
A squalid district inhabited by derelicts and vagrants; also, a life of impoverished dissipation. For example, That part of town is our skid row, or His drinking was getting so bad we thought he was headed for skid row. This expression originated in the lumber industry, where it signified a road or track made of logs laid crosswise over which logs were slid. Around 1900 the name Skid Road was used for the part of a town frequented by loggers, which had many bars and brothels, and by the 1930s the variant skid row, with its current meaning, came into use.