Tuesday, March 6, 2018

For The Working Girls

Hubby and I recently attended a charity event,   Pearl's Follies, to raise money for the local Working Girls and their place of business - The Old Homestead House. They are hoping enough money was raised to pay off the mortgage on the building.
Old Homestead House present day
Old Homestead House - 1950s picture
The Old Homestead House was the most notorious Parlour House in Cripple Creek and is only one of three historic buildings of this type (brothel) known to exist in the US. This establishment was owned and operated by Madame Pearl De Vere.

Pearl De Vere began her business career in Denver and became wealthy by catering to only the richest men. She came to Cripple Creek in 1893 to capitalize on the wealth created by the gold rush. One night with one of her 'girls' cost upwards of $250! And this was in a time when $3 a day was considered good wages for a miner. Needless to say, most of her clientele were the wealthy business men of the District.
The Old Homestead House is located on Meyers Avenue, the red light district of Cripple Creek. Brothels and 'cribs' (small houses for prostitutes - generally one room) lined this street. The original building was a wood structure and it burned to the ground in the Fire of 1895 which burned most of the town of Cripple Creek. Pearl had the building rebuilt, but this time it was constructed from bricks. She spared no expense in the construction and especially in the decorating of the interior. Velvet wallpaper was purchased for the dining room, brass door and cabinet hardware came from India, electric crystal chandeliers hung from the ceilings, a telephone was installed along with an intercom. And the new building had two indoor bathrooms! The upstairs rooms had windows so that gentlemen callers could view 'the goods' before deciding on who they would stay the night with. During this tragic time, Pearl was most generous to those affected by the fire by providing food and other needed items.

In 1897, Pearl was found unconscious in her room and later died from an overdose of morphine. Her death was ruled an accidental overdose but many suspected it to be suicide because she had been scorned by a previous lover.

Pearl's funeral filled the streets of Cripple Creek. A brass band led the funeral procession to Mt. Pisgah Cemetery.

Today the old Parlour House is a museum with the majority of the original furnishings. A fun and knowledgeable staff  are ready to give guided tours. 

Here is a link to our visit to the classiest bawdy house in Ft. Smith, Arkansas. CLICK HERE!


the dogs' mother said...

Oh, my! :-)
My mom and I were once touring around the French
District of New Orleans at night and we walked too
far. All of a sudden the mood changed and then we
spotted red lights in the windows. We got out of
there fast!

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Fascinating history! Red velvet wallpaper, oh my.