11 months ago

Magazine 020917


A HISTORIC AND LEGENDARY INSTITUTION World Famous Historic Chicken Ranch Brothel in Nye County, Nevada, is one of the largest, most successful legal brothel in Nevada. It sits on 40 acres of prime land at the corner of Silver Street and Homestead Road outside Pahrump, in Nye County, where prostitution and brothels are legal and strictly controlled. The Ranch is less than an hour’s drive from Las Vegas…the tourist capital of the world! In fact, it is as close as a brothel can legally get to Las Vegas. The Chicken Ranch has seen a lot of history. It is the oldest continuing brothel in the United States. Its roots go all the way back to 1844 in Texas. It only became known as the Chicken Ranch in the 1930s. Before moving to Nevada in the 1970s, the Ranch served over 6 generations in Texas during a transitional period that stretched from cowboys to astronauts. Those who sought the favors of its working girls included farmers, ranchers, soldiers, politicians, businessmen and just “plain folk”. From its origins in La Grange, Texas, the Ranch has survived colorful times. For instance, during the Great Depression, a bartering system was implemented to pay for Ranch services using chickens. The name The Chicken Ranch remains today. Other interesting occasions included a publicized visit from Texas born President Lyndon B. Johnson and the infamous shut-down of the Ranch in 1973, now immortalized in the play and movie “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas”, starring Burt Reynolds and Dolly Parton. The Chicken Ranch has come a long way and continues to make history today! FIRST 60 YEARS - ESTABLISHING A LEGACY (1844-1904) Prior to becoming a state, the Republic of Texas was dominated by strong leaders such as Sam Houston and a changing population as Easterners moved west and immigrants from Central Europe migrated to the new land to escape famine and persecution. It was against this background of frontierism and social change that a brothel - which was not to become known as The Chicken Ranch until the 1930s - opened its doors and beds to accommodate and serve the local farmers, ranchers and cowboys. During the Civil War, soldiers from generals to privates got a brief respite from fighting by visiting the brothel and enjoying a little rest and relaxation. Following the War, cowboys on long cattle drives found the brothel a pleasant diversion from the dust on the trail. The brothel became an integral part of the life and times of Texas’ early frontier heritage. A TALE OF TWO WOMEN (1905-1973) The modern history and the evolution of the still unnamed brothel into a famous Texas institution began in 1905 with the arrival of Ms. Faye Stewart (alias Jessie Williams and renowned as Miss Jessie) as its new owner and Madam - a description which fit her in the classic sense. Over the next 40 years, this dynamic woman - described as strong, generous and smart with a country rough-hewn charm but shrewd with a backwoods tenacity - brought the brothel into the modern era and made it a profitable business. She sowed the seeds for future success by making peace with the community - and most importantly – with law enforcement officers. By becoming a friend, ally and supporter of the Loessin brothers - who would reign as Faye County Sheriffs for the next four decades, she ensured that the illegal brothel would operate without legal interference. 11

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