The Writing Traveler: Love was only a dollar away

One of the refurbished bedrooms in Miss Hattie’s elegant San Angelo bordello.

It didn’t take long before the San Angelo brothel was recognized as the most elegant and prominent business in town.


Head West.

Head to far West Texas.

Stop off for a spell in San Angelo and walk down Concho Street.

It’s old.

It’s historic.

Look around you, and what do you find?

A general store.

Plenty of those.

A working saddle shop.

Plenty of those.

Antique and brass shops.

Plenty of those.

A museum.

Plenty of those.

Wait a minute.

Caleb Pirtle

Sitting right there and staring back at you a genuine, turn-of-the-century bordello museum.

Only in Texas.

It’s a tribute to Miss Hattie.

She was a good woman, a righteous woman, a holy woman, a god-fearing woman, but she fell short of the faith and, God forbid, married a saloon keeper.

Bad marriage.

Didn’t last.

And what did Miss Hattie wind up with?

Her settlement was the upstairs brothel, and it was far more lucrative than a two-bit saloon.

Others called it a bordello, perhaps.

Miss Hattie referred to her establishment as a “gentleman’s social center,” and she ran it with love and honor, distinction and an iron fist.

It didn’t take long before the brothel was recognized as the most elegant and prominent business in town.

It featured pressed tin ceilings, was gilded in gold, and was furnished with ornate iron, brass, oak beds with velvet, satin spreads, a pink silk sofa, and oriental rugs.

Miss Hattie, because she could afford it, even had the first indoor plumbing in San Angelo.

Her stars, if you counted the number of times their doors were opened and closed each night, were Miss Blue, Miss Rosie, and Miss Goldie. Their rooms have been restored and refurbished as beautifully as they were when Miss Goldie charged the exorbitant sum of two dollars for her special brand of entertainment.

For a dollar, a man could fall in love.

For two dollars, the lady would fall in love right back.

At Miss Hattie’s, love lasted an hour or less, mostly less.

Memories lasted a long time.

A wealthy rancher was enamored with Miss Goldie and asked that she save her love only for him.

What was in it for her?


Not a chance.

But the rancher did promise that if Miss Goldie was faithful to him, he would remember her in his Last Will and Testament.

She was, she said.

Her eyelids fluttered.

He died and didn’t.

Miss Goldie smiled.

She had lied.

Besides, she earned more than he would have left her anyway.

Also refurbished in the bordello museum are the gentleman’s waiting room, the dining room, and the room where Miss Hattie lived to the age of 102.

Don’t weep for the madam.

She got along quite nicely on the glamorous wages of sin.

Many of my travel stories can be found in Confessions from the Road. Please click HERE to find the book on Amazon.

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