Initial brothel push not welcomed in the Pahrump Valley
Pahrump Valley Brothel Proposal, 1955
By the mid-1950s, it became evident to some observers there was funds to be created in legal prostitution in Nye County just as close to the Clark County line and Las Vegas as attainable.
In summer time 1955, word got about that a man named Jack Jones, who had operated a “house of ill fame” in Searchlight, an old mining camp positioned south of Las Vegas in Clark County ahead of county officials closed it, planned to open a brothel in Pahrump Valley (Tonopah Instances-Bonanza, Sept. 16, 1955). Speak was that Las Vegas taxi drivers had established a fare of $ 60 to transport clientele to and from the proposed Pahrump brothel, even though it was not instantly identified no matter whether the fare was per trip or per passenger.
It was even rumored that an unidentified Nye County deputy had demanded a payoff prior to the venture could go forward.
Opposition to the thought rapidly mounted amongst some Pahrump Valley landowners. They were not keen on the thought of, as a newspaper put it, “importing members of the oldest profession” into the valley. However, opposition was not universal. An anti-prostitution petition was circulated in the valley. A single prominent resident refused to sign it, noting, “Why not have sex in Pahrump? Every single other place has it.”
Even though there were rumors Nye County District Attorney William P. Beko had provided the okay for a brothel in Pahrump, he was quick to scotch these reports. It was all “a figment of somebody’s imagination,” he mentioned. “If any person tries to open a brothel there, it will be padlocked within 24 hours.”
He said he would act instantly upon receipt of a written protest from a Pahrump resident. 1 resident indicated he would file such a protest if required. Beko also questioned reports that a Nye County deputy had demanded a payoff. All this seemed to suggest that such a project was doomed ahead of it began.
Two weeks later, the District Attorney’s workplace announced that following a comprehensive and thorough investigation, the rumor that a Nye County deputy had asked for a bribe to permit a brothel in Pahrump was “just a single of those unfounded and malicious rumors that crop up every now and then” (Tonopah Instances-Bonanza, Sept. 23, 1955).
Pahrump’s First Brothel
Prior to his passing in 2011, Harry Ford had resided in the Pahrump Valley longer than any other white man or lady. He moved to Pahrump with his family as a youngster in 1944 and lived in the valley constantly all through his life. Blessed with a superb memory, he was a natural-born historian and knew far more about Pahrump Valley history than anybody.
Most of the material in this section was associated to me by him. I interviewed him in 1988 as portion of the Nye County Town History Project and intermittently in the years following. He and his wife, Mary, founded the Pahrump Valley Museum.
Ford said the initial brothel opened in Pahrump Valley in about 1955. It was situated on what became the Shoshone Highway, then a dirt road, just on the Nevada side of the California border.
There was a bar at the web site that had been opened earlier by a man named Dan Murphy. A fellow named Jim Cruise bought it from Murphy and named it “Jim Cruise’s Bar.”
A man whose name Ford couldn’t recall, but who had been a bartender at the old McCarran airport in Las Vegas, managed the bar. 1 day somebody recommended to him, “Why don’t you open a little brothel in Pahrump?” Paving of the road amongst Pahrump and Las Vegas over Mountain Springs had been completed in 1954.
Harry believed the presence of the Nevada Test Web site, where nuclear testing had begun a handful of years earlier, had absolutely nothing to do with the little brothel’s opening because the road amongst Pahrump and U.S. Highway 95 was not paved till the mid-1960s.
The brothel was quick-lived, lasting only about a month. Harry believed there was somebody who was not content with its presence, simply because one particular night “some thugs” broke the windows and “beat the spot up,” as he put it. It never ever reopened.
Harry Ford indicated that some time in the late 1960s or early 1970s the notion of establishing brothels “sort of took off.” Fortunately, he mentioned, they hadn’t however come to Pahrump and he decided to grow to be proactive.
He was quite proud of the truth that at this time he was “personally responsible for the ordinance that does not enable brothels in the unincorporated town of Pahrump. I hope history will record that,” he stated.
He initial brought up the thought of an ordinance against brothels in the community at a Pahrump Town Board meeting in the mid-1960s. He told me with pride, “I knew Robert’s Guidelines of Order and I knew the correct way to strategy it,” he mentioned. “We brought it up as a motion, and our type of government at that time was a town-hall sort of issue.”
When he did, one good pal said, “Do you think we want anything like that? Do you genuinely feel that?” Harry’s answer was, “Well, now is the time to enact an ordinance. Simply because once they’re [brothels] in here, it’s also late.”
Although the ordinance was passed by the town board, that physique acted only in an advisory capacity to the Nye County Board of Commissioners. The commissioners had to act on it before it became law. Following passage, the Pahrump Town Board took it to the county commissioners, who then drew up and adopted the ordinance, though it did take some time to take place.
Harry mentioned for years Town Ordinance no. three kept brothels out of the unincorporated portion of Pahrump. There had been these in the community who questioned the need to have for such action.
“Why are you doing this?” they asked. Harry constantly explained the action was proactive.