Legends of America

Follow the links to the various pages of Legends of America

The Old West Legends of America Outhouse Madness Ghostly Legends Outlaws Old West Saloons Rocky Mountain General Store Legends Photo Store The Book Store Route 66 Native Americans The Old States - Back East

Legends of America    |    Legends General Store    |    Legends Photo Shop


Legends Of America's Facebook PageLegends Of America's Twitter PageLegends on Pinterest

Legends Home

Site Map

What's New!!


Content Categories:

American History


Ghost Stories

Ghost Towns

Historic People

Legends & Myths

Native Americans

Old West

Photo Galleries

Route 66

Treasure Tales


   Search Our Sites

Custom Search



About Us


Article/Photo Use

Copyright Information


Facebook Page




Privacy Policy

Site Map

Writing Credits


We welcome corrections

and feedback!

Contact Us


Legends' General Store

Old West/Western

Route 66

Native American

Featured Items

Sale Items


CD's - DVD's

Nuwati Herbals


Wall Art

Custom Products

and Much More!


  Legends Of America's Rocky Mountain General Store - Cart View


Legends' Photo Prints

Legends Photo Prints and Downloads

Ghost Town Prints

Native American Prints

Old West Prints

Route 66 Prints

States, Cities & Places

Nostalgic Prints

Photo Art Prints

Jim Hinckley's America

David Fisk (Lens of Fisk)

Specials-Gift Ideas

and Much More!!

Legends Of America's Photo Print Shop - Cart View


Family Friendly Site













Old West Legends IconOLD WEST LEGENDS

Leading Madames of the Old West

Sports Decor, Memorabelia, Gifts, and More!

  Bookmark and Share


The Bordello, painting by Lee Durbin

The Bordello, painting by Lee Durbin


Eleanore Dumont - Madame Mustache

Madame Dora Dufran - The Black Hills' Leading Madame

Josephine "Chicago Joe" Hensley - Queen of Helena, Montana

Mollie Johnson - Queen of the Deadwood Blondes

Fannie Porter - San Antonio's Famous Madame

Pearl de Vere - Soiled Dove of Cripple Creek

Texas Madame Squirrel Tooth Alice


First came the miners to work in the mine,
Next came the ladies who lived on the line.


-- Old Western Mining Adage


Saloon Art PrintsThough all manner of brothels, cat-houses, and cribs thrived throughout the American West, those "parlor houses” that were elegantly furnished and having the most beautiful and desirable women, were obviously the most profitable. These better establishments were run by a female owner called a "madame.” This was usually an older woman who had "paid her dues” by practicing the same profession as those who worked for her. Many of these women became legends of the Old West for the popularity of their "houses," the people they came into contact with, or events that occurred in their lives.

The running of a parlor house or brothel was often a very profitable business and the most successful madames were extremely adept business women, who amassed not only wealth, but real estate, fine horses, and other material goods.

First-class places set a good table and prided themselves on their cellars, offering choice cigars, bonded bourbon, and the finest liquors and wines. Customers could often enjoy champagne suppers and sing with the girls around the piano. In very high class parlor houses, the women could only be seen by appointment.

The girls’ rooms were always on the second floor, if there was one. Parlor houses would usually average six to 12 girls, plus the madame, who entertained only those customers she personally selected. Some of the more famous madames charged as much as $1,000 for their services, such as Cripple Creek, Colorado's famous madame, Pearl de Vere.

Madames provided for the women who worked for them, a number of services, primarily protection, often employing "bouncers" who would rid the house of any "rif-raf." Sometimes, room and board was also provided, though at others, the soiled doves paid rent. The madame would then take a split of the money earned by the "girls," an amount that varied from house to house, and the "services" provided by the madame.



In parlor houses as well as brothels, much of the profit came from drinks served. Prices on these drinks were raised considerably. Sometimes the madame kept all the money taken in from alcohol sales, other times she gave the girls a small commission to encourage them to ply the customer with the high-priced drinks.

The most successful landladies maintained, at least on the ground floor, a strict air of respectability and a charming home life. They also insisted that their girls wear corsets downstairs and forbade any "rough stuff."

Though the parlor house business was not accepted by society, the madames paid their share of revenue to the community in taxes and in fines to corrupt police officials. They were also expected to contribute to charity.

But, for the prosperous madames of the Old West era, times would change at the turn of the century when moral reform began to run out the madames, soiled doves, fancy parlor houses, and lowly cribs  -- at least as they had existed in such a "public way."

Some of the more "famous" women who left their mark via their illustrious professions were Squirrel Toothed Alice, Dora Dufran, Eleanore "Madame Mustache" Dumont, "Chicago Joe" Hensley, and dozens of others.


©Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated December, 2012.


Free eNewsletter


Our eNewsletter features articles on the Old West, travel destinations, ghostly legends, and subscriber only specials from our Legends' General Store. Sent directly to your inbox, grab a cup of coffee and travel the historic paths of the American West. Sign up today!


Also See:


Painted Ladies of the Old West

Painted Ladies of Deadwood Gulch

Saloons of the Old West

Women of the American West




From Legends' General Store

Old West Exclusive Products - apparel, bumper stickers, posters and moreOld West Exclusive Products - Legends of America and our General Store provide a number of exclusive products that you won't find anywhere else! Utilizing our vintage photos, Old West words, and original graphics, you'll find selections for t-shirts, bumper stickers, Old West prints and calendars, and much more. Click HERE to see the entire line.


Old West Exclusive Products - apparel, bumper stickers, posters and more


                                                            Copyright © 2003-Present, www.Legends of America.com