3.5 to 4 Million Years Ago - Ancestors of Man Multiplied and Populate the earth 40 to 100,000 Years Ago - Dawn of Homo Sapiens – hunter/gather society – independence of men and women into small foraging groups 5 to 8,000 Years Ago - the Dawn of Prostitution in Agricultural Societies.
These societies were paternal by nature and therefore men were utilized for their strength to provide assistance for war, agriculture, and the development of political society.
The propensity for war led men far from home as did the trade of goods and services. Travel and war being life risking by nature, also created the conditions for economic systems and prostitution became a thriving part of these social developments.
Women were left alone, abandoned or lost their male partners were the core of society. The need for women to have multiple partners as an evolutionary benefit was clear. The more partners, the better life in the Agrarian Society would be. Males were needed for sex, protection, and sustenance.
Conflicting with the need for multiple partners by women was the male hierarchy that included the need for large families to wage war and farm. Female faithfulness were valued traits and chastity was vital to the kin or clan systems.
The hypersexual women of the era found herself to be an outcast as she was determined to be a threat to societal norms.
Prostitution and the Church – The symbol of the good women as Madonna and the bad women or hypersexual women as the whore were preceded by the Agnostic texts that celebrated female sexuality. The suppression of texts related to Lilith and Eve were suppressed.
Lilith was interpreted to insist on an egalitarian relationship with Adam and would not submit to Adam’s desires. God banished and punished Lilith Adam’s first wife from Eden. The Gnostic texts reveal that Eve believed that she was accepting the apple as a symbol of knowledge, leave the garden, and spread knowledge to humans. Instead, the modern interpretation leads us to believe that Eve the mother of woman-kind was evil and sinful and in fact is to be blamed for original sin.
Early Tantrism – Early texts described women’s orgasms as a path to spiritual release and the female energy. Men are seen to have a finite supply of orgasms and therefore the release of fluids without having sex was culturally inconsistent. Sexual tension and the inevitable ejaculation for the purposes of procreating could lead to transcendence.
Mining and Prostitution – the Comstock Lode and the Birth of Nevada
Nevada has a history of regulating brothel prostitution rather than prohibiting it. During its time as the Nevada Territory, city governments such as Virginia City, Carson City and Austin zoned certain sections where “houses of ill fame” could sell sex for money.
Peter O’Riley and Patrick McLaughlin are credited with unearthing the vein (Ophir Bonanza) that created the boomtowns in Nevada. Nevada, with a total population of 10 at the time, would be stampeded by miners and the people who would make it a state. Nevada became the place for mining gold, silver and other ores which led to quick riches and boomtowns.
In January 1859 gold was discovered at the top of what would become known as Gold Canyon. The discovery known as the Comstock Lode was made by James Finney, known as “Old Virginny” and Henry Comstock. Virginia City, named for James Finney, became a boom town that brought many people to the area. Additionally, the surrounding area became known as the “Comstock”, named after Henry Comstock.
Virginia City’s famous Comstock Lode Silver Strike of 1859 was followed by a rapid population growth reaching 30,000 people at its height. The roots of legal prostitution can be found on C Street where a shanty town of cabins for prostitutes resided.
Samuel L. Clemens came to Nevada and Virginia City in 1861 and left Virginia City in 1864 as Mark Twain, after having worked for the local premier newspaper.
“Now in pleasanter days I had amused myself with writing letters to the chief paper of the Territory, the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise, and had always been surprised when they appeared in print. My good opinion of the editors has steadily declined; for it seemed to me that they might have found something better to fill up with than my literature. I had found a letter in the post office as I came home from the hillside, and finally I opened it. Eureka! (I never did know what Eureka meant, but it seems to be as proper a word to heave in as any when no other that sounds pretty offers.) It was a deliberate offer to me of Twenty-Five Dollars a week to come up to Virginia City and be city editor of the Enterprise.”
Excerpts from Roughing It
In my early manhood and in middle life I used to vex myself with reforms every now and then. And I never had occasion to regret these divergences for, whether the resulting deprivations were long or short, the rewarding pleasure which I got out of the vice when I returned to it always paid me for all that it cost.
- Autobiography of Mark Twain
Territorial Enterprise, January 22-28, 1863
The following, which will do to sweeten some bachelor’s coffee with, was picked up in front of the International:
“DARLING: I have not had time to write you to-day – I have worked hard entertaining company. Do come and see your little pet. I yearn for the silvery cadence of your voice – I thirst for the bubbling stream of your affection.
We feel for that girl. The water privilege which she pines for so lovingly has probably dried up and departed, else her sweet note would not have been floating around the streets without a claimant. We feel for her deeply – and if it will afford her any relief, if it will conduce to her comfort, if it will satisfy her yearning even in the smallest degree, we will cheerfully call around and “bubble” awhile for her ourself, if she will send us her address.
Territorial Enterprise, December 1863
LETTER FROM MARK TWAIN
Carson City, December 5, 1863
EDITORS ENTERPRISE: The church in Carson prospereth . A fine edifice will soon be completed here, wherein the gospel may be comfortably preached, and listened to in comfort likewise. A complimentary benefit to this enterprise was given at the theatre last night by Hon. James Stark and Mrs. Cutler, the profits of which amounted to upwards of two hundred dollars. Mrs. Cutler recited several poems, and sang a few choice songs with such grace and excellence as won for her the compliment of repeated and enthusiastic encores. Mr. Stark’s readings were well selected and admirably delivered. His recital of the speech of Sergeant Buzfuz, in the great breach of promise case of Bardell vs. Pickwick, was a very miracle of declamation. If all men could read it like him, that speech would live after Cicero’s very creditable efforts had been forgotten; yet heretofore I had looked upon that as the tamest of Mr. Dickens’ performances.
And just here, I am constrained, in behalf of the community, to do justice to Charley Parker’s liberality and good citizenship. He prepared his theatre for this church benefit, put a stove in the green room, and had the house duly cleaned and lighted – all at his own expense. It was a good action, and gracefully and unostentatiously performed.
The Convention will probably complete its labors about Wednesday. The members are growing restive and impatient under this long exile from their private business, and are anxious to finish their work and get back home. Three of the Esmeralda delegation – Messrs. Stark, Conner and Bechtel, being imperatively called away by the necessity of attending to their private affairs, have been granted indefinite leave of absence. These gentlemen have been constantly at their posts, and unremitting in the discharge of their duties, and well deserved this kindness at the hands of the Convention. And between you and me, if there were no ladies in Carson, my estimable old fossil, Colonel Youngs, would ask permission to go home, also. Now, why will a man, when he gets to be a thousand years old, go on hanging around the women, and taking chances on fire and brimstone, instead of joining the church and endeavoring, with humble spirit and contrite heart, to ring in at the eleventh hour, like the thief on the cross? Why will he?
Territorial Enterprise, January 1, 1863
NEW YEAR’S DAY
Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. Yesterday, everybody smoked his last cigar, took his last drink, and swore his last oath. To-day, we are a pious and exemplary community. Thirty days from now, we shall have cast our reformation to the winds and gone to cutting our ancient short comings considerably shorter than ever. We shall also reflect pleasantly upon how we did the same old thing last year about this time. However, go in, community. New Year’s is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls, and humbug resolutions, and we wish you to enjoy it with a looseness suited to the greatness of the occasion.
Madam Julia Bulette
In 1861 Madam, Julia Bulette, opened “Julia’s Castle” in Virginia City. Julia used her influence to have Block C torn down and then had Block D redeveloped with “Julia’s Castle” as the new landmark brothel. On June 20, 1867,Julia was murdered by John Millian for nothing more than jewels and money. Millian was hanged for his crime and was buried in Virginia City’s Catholic Cemetery. Julia was buried in the Flowery Cemetery.
In 1871, legislation that was geared to protecting the health of prostitutes was introduced to the state legislature. This legislature, which would have legalized brothel prostitution in Nevada, would require the Sheriff to issue licenses at a cost of $10 per month. Prostitutes would be required to submit to a health exam every two weeks. If a prostitute were to contract a venereal disease than the fund created by the legislation with monies raised by the licensing of brothels would pay the medical expenses of infected prostitute. The bill never made it out of the Senate having passed the State Assembly with ease.
First Black Saloon
A testament to the existence of an early black middle class in Virginia City, the opening of the first black saloon occurred in 1865 by William Brown. Patrons enjoyed the Boston Saloon opened by William Brown for the black population. Hundreds of blacks sought the riches of the Comstock lode. Brown’s saloon burned in a fire in 1876.
Gambling and Prostitution - Las Vegas’ “Block 16”
New mineral discoveries lead to the boom of most of today’s major Nevada cities including Las Vegas and Reno. During the 1900s, City Councils in each city were given power to regulate, designate the locations, and prohibit brothels. Las Vegas designated “Block 16” which catered to rail passengers, cowboys, prospectors to be the only legal red light district. Saloons such as the Arcade, Double O and the Star Saloon on the east side of First Street between Stewart and Ogden offered rooms in the back known as “cribs” which offered legal prostitution to all.
The demise of the mining boom and the harshness of the Great Depression left Nevada with little or no industry. Ghost towns flourished. In 1931, in order to combat the growing disorder of the state economy the “Wide Open Gambling Act” was adopted, legalizing gambling throughout Nevada.
During World War I and II the Federal Government ordered the suppression of prostitution near military bases. Included in the suppression of prostitution would be the infamous “Block 16” which was selected because of the vast numbers of Hoover Dam workers that frequented the brothels and “cribs.”
The construction of the Hoover Dam commenced in September 1929 which saved the fledgling Las Vegas from becoming a ghost town. By pumping in millions of dollars and employing up to 5,000 men during the peak of construction, “Block 16” and the many “cribs” prospered.
Clark County Commissioners were determined to close “Block 16.“ “Block 16” which was a legal red-light district since 1905, the year Las Vegas was incorporated, would finally close in 1942 on the grounds that it operated within four hundred yards of a church.
After the closing of “Block 16” to prostitution, “Four Mile” became the popular watering hole for damn workers and military personnel. Located 4 Miles from town on a new brothel strip that lined Boulder Highway, “Four Mile” prospered.
Bugsy Siegel and the Syndicate
In 1941, Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, came to Las Vegas to increase the influence of the Syndicate. A group of mobsters led by Meyer Lansky, the Syndicate’s first grab for power was the local racewire, a booking system for horse racing that was legalized in 1941 in Las Vegas. In 1945, Siegel and the Syndicate purchased the El Cortez Hotel on Fremont and Sixth Street. Prostitution and gambling at the El Cortez was now controlled by Siegel and the Syndicate.
In 1946, Siegel blew through $1.5 million of the Syndicates money in opening his dream for Las Vegas, the Flamingo Hotel and Casino. With a failed opening in December of 1946, Siegel was forced to close the new unfinished Flamingo and go back to the Syndicate for more capital. In March 1947, Siegel gave a well paid position to Las Vegas Life publisher Hank Greenspun. Greenspun was hired to churn out a column in the Review Journal entitled Flamingo Chatter.
In June of 1947, $6 million in the hole to the Syndicate, Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel was shot through the right eye and back while in his girlfriend’s Beverly Hills home.
Madam Mae Cunningham
In 1949, “Mae Cunningham v Washoe County,” was a highly controversial case before the Nevada Supreme Court. In 1948, Mae Cunningham reopened a brothel on East Commercial Row. Ordered to close by the County Commission, Cunningham challenged the order on the basis that her brothel was more than 400 yards away from a school or church. Mae lost her appeal on the basis that a brothel is not legal by being outside the proper distance and that brothels can be closed by county officials.
After the end of World War II, Las Vegas, like the rest of the world, entered the atomic age. Over 900 atomic detonations over a 40 year period just 65 miles from downtown Las Vegas, lit up the sky. The Nevada Proving Ground brought thousands of visitors, scientists and workers to the local area along with millions of defense dollars. Marketing the detonation schedules led to an influx of atomic tourist that enjoyed the spectacle of atomic testing, prostitution, and gambling in Nevada.
John F. Kennedy and Frank Sinatra
In 1962, it was reported by the FBI that Democratic Candidate for President John F. Kennedy had “been compromised with a woman in Las Vegas; and that Kennedy and Frank Sinatra have in the recent past been involved in parties in Palm Springs, Las Vegas, and New York City. According to reports, the Sands Hotel (partly owned by Sinatra) was the location where Sinatra introduced Judith Campbell Exner to Kennedy.
Exner was believed to be planted by John Rosselli, a notorious hoodlum and associate of Sam Giancana, and friend of Sinatra’s. Exner was reportedly intimate with Martin & Lewis, Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., as well as, Kennedy. It has been stated that it was common for Sinatra and friends to pass girls around their clique that was sexually adventurous. In March 1960, it was reported that Frank Sinatra would assist Kennedy’s campaign so notorious hoodlums including Giancana could have access to the Senator.
Dawn of the Swinger Lifestyle
Slang A person who actively seeks excitement and moves with the latest trends.
A person who engages freely in promiscuous sex.
A member of a couple, especially a married couple, who exchanges sexual partners.
Swinging has its roots from U.S. Air Force fighter pilots during World War II. These men were wealthy enough to move their wives close to base, and the fact that their fatality rate was the highest of any branch of service led to an unusual social milieu in which non-monogamy between these pilots’ wives and other pilots became acceptable. These arrangements persisted near Air Force bases throughout World War II and into the Korean War.
By the time the Korean War ended, these groups had spread from the bases to the nearby suburbs. The media picked up on them in 1957 and promptly dubbed the phenomenon “wife-swapping.” Supposedly there were also “key clubs” where husbands reportedly tossed their house keys into a pile in the center of the room where they were drawn at random by the wives. The owner of a selected key was the sexual partner for the evening.
Rise of the Outcall Entertainment Services – Escort Agencies
During the 1960s the Escort Agency License was established to allow the proper licensing of outcall entertainment. In 1970, the escort license was eliminated in Clark County. By March 1976 a new licensing law was in place that granted escort agencies the right to operate. Again in the 1980s the law was repealed only to be re-instated in 1991. As of 1998, 124 licenses for outcall entertainment agencies in Clark County were active. Although prostitution is not legal in Clark County, outcall entertainment services is legal.
Joe Conforte and the Mustang Ranch
During World War II, military bases were built all over the world. Both Reno and Las Vegas, were chosen to be home to two of the largest bases being developed by the War Department. A backlash by the wives of military men, led to the closing of Reno’s famed brothels on the Truckee; the Green Lantern, the Alamo, and the Mohawk. At the same time, the famed Las Vegas “Block 16” was ordered to close.
Inevitably the military personnel sought the new underground brothels that began to immerge. The first to open outside of Reno was run by the future Mrs. Joe Conforte.
Beginning in 1955, Joe Conforte began fighting for the right to operate a legal brothel. Through perseverance, Joe Conforte convinced Storey County to legalize prostitution by convincing them to legalize the operation by creating a new ordinance instead of fighting zoning regulations.
On January 1, 1971, victory was attained as Joe Conforte’s Mustang Ranch became Nevada’s first licensed brothel for his 104 room establishment. Legal brothels in Nevada proliferated to ten of Nevada’s seventeen counties during this time. (In 1990, the federal government took over the Mustang Ranch after Conforte’s failing to pay a $13 million tax debt. After managing to purchase the Mustang Ranch during a 1990 auction, Conforte finally lost his brothel in 1993.)
Madam Beverly Harell
During the Christmas of 1967, Beverly Harrell and the Cottontail Ranch was visited by recluse Howard Hughes during his infamous stay at the Desert Inn penthouse. It has been reported that he frequented a prostitute named Sunny at the Cottontail Ranch.
In 1971, a column by Jack Anderson began a controversy that chastised the Department of Interior for leasing land to the Cottontail Ranch in Esmeralda County. It was also suggested that Secretary of Interior Roger Morton was the landlord of a brothel which caused national attention. Morton persuaded the federal government to argue that the Cottontail Ranch was a public nuisance and should be evicted from federal land. In November 1973, owner of the Cottontail Ranch Madam Beverly Harrell was ordered to close the Cottontail Ranch.
In 1974, Beverly Harrell moved the Cottontail Ranch to private land which complied with all pertinent ordinances. Later in 1974, Beverly Harrell ran for State Assembly losing in the general election.
“I’ll show them how to run an orderly house.” Beverly Harrell’s 1974 campaign slogan.
In 1966, Howard Hughes arrived in Las Vegas via a private train. Hughes, one of the wealthiest men in the world, over the course of four years bought and/or constructed the Frontier, the Castaways, the Silver Slipper, the Aladdin, Landmark, Four Queens, Caesars Palace, Circus Circus, International, the Holiday Inn, MGM Grand, the North Las Vegas Airport, and thousands of acres of surrounding land.
In February 1973, an estimated 52 prostitutes were arrested in the Frontier Hotel during Las Vegas Sheriff Ralph Lamb’s month long probe into prostitution. The probe was sparked by word of an infamous orgy at the hotel that included six girls and a German Shepard. Nevertheless, Hughes has widely been credited with helping to clean up the image of Las Vegas at a time when the notorious mob bosses were under pressure from the federal government.
Hughes was the first to be able to combine the mainstream with the adult and with in a few years of his departing Las Vegas, the corporations moved in to prosper from the vice of all.
Not such a recluse? As it turns out, only a prostitute got the reported recluse, Howard Hughes to leave his Desert Inn Hotel Room. Hughes’ pilot, Las Vegan Bob Deiro, stated that Hughes, did in fact sneak out several times to see his favorite girl, Sunny at the Cotton Tail Ranch.
Chicken Ranch Brothel Migrates to Las Vegas
The end of The Chicken Ranch in La Grange, Texas came on August 1, 1973 when Fayette County Sheriff T.J. Flourney closed the brothel on the orders of Governor Dolph Briscoe. The catalyst for the closing of the popular and venerable brothel – one of Texas’ oldest business institutions – was a crusade by Marvin Zindler, a consumer affairs investigative reporter with television station KTRK-TV (13) in Houston. Zindler, the former head of the Consumer Protection Division of the Harris County Sheriff’s Department, believed that The Chicken Ranch was controlled by organized crime and stayed in business through political corruption – charges that he never was able to document. However, this moral crusader – who was adept to huckstering and was described as an electronic bounty hunter with a flare for publicity – adroitly used his television show to create enough public pressure to force the Governor to act.
The year 1978 marked the revival of The Chicken Ranch in two distinct ways. First, on June 19, the theatrical production of “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” opened on Broadway. (It was eventually followed in 1982 with the popular motion picture production of the same name starring Burt Reynolds and Dolly Parton.) Also, in 1975, an enterprising capitalist bought the rights and established a legal licensed brothel in the town of Pahrump, NV, just outside of Las Vegas.
Forty-One acres were purchased in Nye County near the Clark County border – which makes The Chicken Ranch the closest brothel to Las Vegas.
Jenna Jameson, a Sin City Girl
Known as the most famous Porn Star in the world, Jenna Jameson was born Jennifer Marie Massoni on April 8, 1974. In 1991, using a fake id and utilizing the stage name Jennasis, Jenna began stripping at the Crazy Horse II strip club.
In 1993, Jenna began her rise to “Queen of Porn” with her first erotic movie by Andrew Blake. While still living in Las Vegas, she quickly rose to prominence in the world of adult entertainment. By 1996, Jenna was recognized by the Adult Video News (AVN) with top newcomer awards.
In 2000, Jenna formed her own company, ClubJenna, Inc. and capitalized on her fame and the natural symbiotic nature of porn and the internet. By 2001, Jenna was earning $60,000 for a day and half of shooting. In 2006, ClubJenna, Inc. was purchased by Playboy Enterprises.
Sin City Chamber of Commerce Founded
In August 2004, the Sin City Chamber of Commerce of Las Vegas was founded by Loretta Holt, Wayne Bridge, and Michael Russell to provide every legal business an opportunity to network, market, and provide support to the local business community.
Holt and Bridge were former employees at the 100 year old Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce and discovered a tacit policy of discrimination against adult entertainment companies including brothels, swinger clubs and gentlemen’s clubs.
With the words, “Wouldn’t it be great to have a Chamber where everyone is welcome, think of the fun networking events we could have” Loretta Holt put into motion an idea that would lead to the founding of a new Chamber of Commerce for Las Vegas.
In late 2004, the Chicken Ranch Brothel became the first brothel to join the Sin City Chamber of Commerce. As a Charter Member of the Sin City Chamber or Commerce, the Chicken Ranch Brothel joined 100 other local businesses in creating the foundation for a new chamber experience. Although open to the adult industry and in fact any legal business, 80% of the Sin City Chamber of Commerce Membership consists of Las Vegas’ mainstream businesses.
In September of 2004, the Sin City Chamber of Commerce website which promotes all forms of adult and mainstream entertainment was launched by founder Michael Russell. The Sin City Chamber of Commerce website is the first online presence by a Chamber of Commerce that positively promotes safe, legal prostitution and the various adult entertainment businesses that make Las Vegas, Sin City. In May 2008, www.sincitychamberofcommerce.com became the highest visited chamber of commerce website in the world.
Technology and Sex
With films like “Debbie Does Dallas”, “Devil in Miss Jones”, “A Dirty Western” and “Any time, Any Place” in its huge library of classic adult films, VCX is one of the most successful adult movie distributor in the world.
In 2002, then President of VCX, Rudy Sutton, who was Norman Arno’s (VCX Founder) cousin decided to move the company from Hollywood to Las Vegas. Already known as Sin City, Vegas was a natural progression for the growth of VCX. VCX would be the largest adult distributor in Las Vegas and the transition to DVD during that period, with all the company’s classic titles released on DVD with over 300 classic titles at that time, they had already become “The Home of the Classics.”
VCX is the home to the largest library of true classic films anywhere in the world. VHS had all but become extinct by the end of 2005, but the move towards new technological advances continued at VCX. With an internet presence since 1996, VCX.com had become one of the most popular classic sites online by 2004, when it introduced its VOD service. Video on Demand continues to be popular today, even as VCX adopts the latest in flash and java based players online, as evidenced by their new site: VCXLive.com which uses the Evotum player. They have also become one of the first studios to launch their titles on Fyre TV, an IPTV system which uses a blackbox connected to the internet and your home television to bring you classic television with incredible definition… On Demand!
VCX had never been entirely out of production, but their emphasis on converting classics to DVD between 2000 and 2006 resulted in only a few new releases being produced. That changed in March 2008 with their release of “Angel Face”, a big budget release with the biggest stars in the adult industry. A special release party was held by the Sin City Chamber of Commerce of Las Vegas at Treasures Gentlemen’s Club.
The film helmed by hall of fame director Roy Karch, “Angel Face” was loved by the critics and fans alike and is a huge hit for VCX. A perfect vehicle for VCX’s return to production, the release of “Angel Face” was followed by an announcement by current company president David Sutton that it had acquired all rights to the huge Cal-Vista library. The 176 titles in the deal included the blockbusters: “Nothing to Hide”, “Legends of Porn”, “Eruption”, “Vista Valley PTA” and the famous “Aunt Peg” series. The acquisition by VCX put its total number of classic titles to over 500, by far the largest library of true classics anywhere!