Brothel reopens in Colorado town
CRIPPLE CREEK, Colo. ” Cripple Creek is bringing back the brothel.
Not all of them, just the century-old one at a casino in this former mining town that once boasted a trolley service and five newspapers.
But don’t get your hopes up: It’s for tours only.
Ownership of the brothel had changed hands several times in the last decade, but its casino owner is working with a local museum to keep it open for those looking to relive the seedy side of Cripple Creek’s history.
Lodie Hern took over the brothel as a museum in the 1967 after it closed in the 1930s, but the taxes associated with legalized gambling forced her to sell to a local casino in the mid-1990s.
Usually closed in the winter anyway, the museum stayed locked up when summer began, fueling concerns the historic brothel would fall into obscurity.
Casino officials washed their hands of the old brothel late in 2006, saying the Homestead House Foundation hadn’t taken proper care of the place.
“It’s important to get the house back into shape,” said Jan MacKell, director of the Cripple Creek District Museum, which will run the Old Homestead Parlour House Museum this summer on a four-month trial basis for its owner, the Wild Horse Casino.
But for the next four months, the District Museum will lease the brothel for $1. The city of Cripple Creek is expected to provide about $7,000 to cover utilities and other costs, MacKell said.
As she has for 40 years, Hern will continue to be the tour guide.
“I still consider the her head madam,” MacKell said.