Brothels, Bordellos, and Bad Girls: Prostitution in Colorado, 1860-1930

Brothels, Bordellos, and Bad Girls: Prostitution in Colorado, 1860-1930

by Jan Mackell, Thomas Noel


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Prostitution thrived in pioneer Colorado. Mining was the principal occupation and men outnumbered women more than twenty to one. Jan MacKell provides a detailed overview of the business between 1860 and 1930, focusing her research on the mining towns of Cripple Creek, Salida, Colorado City, and similar boomtown communities. She used census data, Sanborn maps, city directories, property records, marriage records, and court records to document and trace the movements of the women over the course of their careers, uncovering work histories, medical problems, and numerous relocations from town to town. She traces many to their graves, through years filled with abuse, disease, narcotics, and violence.

MacKell has unearthed numerous colorful and often touching stories, like that of the boy raised in a brothel who was invited to play with a neighbor's children and replied, "No, my mother is a whore and says I am to stay at home."

"Delicacy, humor, respect, and compassion are among the merits of this book. Although other authors have flirted with Colorado's commercial sex, Jan MacKell provides a detailed overview. She has been researching these elusive women for the last fifteen years. Such persistence allows her to offer rich detail on shady ladies who rarely used their real names or even stuck with the same professional name for long."—Thomas J. Noel, from the Introduction

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780826333438
Publisher: University of New Mexico Press
Publication date: 08/28/2007
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 590,432
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Jan MacKell resides in Victor, Colorado, and is director of the Cripple Creek District Museum in nearby Cripple Creek. MacKell is also the author of Cripple Creek District: Last of Colorado's Gold Booms

Table of Contents

1Red-Light Districts1
2Life as a Harlot18
3In the Beginning There Was Denver52
4How Colorado City Came to Be70
5Women of the Western Slope and Central Colorado83
6Southern Belles and Ladies of the Plains107
7The Shady Ladies of Colorado City124
8The Cripple Creek Influence152
9Traveling Gals187
10Cracking Down196
11Closing Down for Good230
12A Memory Slowly Fades246
Appendix 1A Sampling of Cripple Creek Prostitutes in 1900, by Address265
Appendix 2A Sampling of Traveling Gals in Cripple Creek268
Additional Reading291

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