History of the
Original Chicken Ranch
La Grange, TX
Chicken Ranch in La Grange, Texas 1937
The year is 1905 -- Theodore Roosevelt is President, Albert Einstein is working on his theory of Relativity, the first forward pass in American Football is thrown, a small town in Nevada called Las Vegas is founded ... and arguably the most famous "House of Ill Repute" in the country opens for business on the Colorado River in La Grange, TX.
Miss Jessie found a nice place just outside the town limits, and ran the business with local Law providing Silent Partner services. Business interests grew and grew (sorry, Intended Pun 1). Then in the 1930's the country was hit with what was then called simply The Great Depression, but unfortunately may now start being called The First Great Depression.
Her services were still in demand, but so many men had so little money -- but they had chickens! So the Chicken Ranch was born, charging one chicken for one lay -- which seems somehow appropriate (Intended Pun 2). Miss Jessie would then sell the chickens or the eggs at market.
In the 50s, the ownership changed from Miss Jessie to Miss Edna. Miss Edna became the town's leading contributor to civic causes, retaining the close and mutually profitable working relationship between the Ranch and local law enforcement. The customers kept coming, and let me apologize now for Intended Pun 3! Chickens were no longer used as currency, the going rate being a competitive $15 for 15 minutes.
"Girls of the Chicken Ranch"
In 1973 the house was finally closed, but two years later customers were still pulling into the drive. The place has now been sold, the house demolished, and the entire affair mostly wiped off the La Grange map. There are no "Chicken Ranch Giftshops," "Chicken Ranch Condoms," or "Chicken Ranch Coloring Books" in this town. The back of the property can just barely be seen from a city park that looks over the Colorado River. The front is inaccessible -- upon turning into what was the drive, it becomes obviously and annoyingly clear that the Chicken Ranch has now been transformed into the Private Cow Pasture.
Chicken Ranch Property Today
2.25.12 It is with deepest sorrow that I report that Edna Chadwell, the last madam of the original Chicken Ranch, has died! She passed on Saturday the 25th of February, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. Please say a prayer, have a moment of silence or what ever you feel appropriate for this woman. She holds a special spot in our hearts. That goes without saying though. Our matriarch is gone but will never be forgotten. Long live the Chicken Ranch name!!! RIP Miss Edna...
Comment Via Bill H. Mostly out of curiosity and being bid horny, I showed up at Miss Ednas' one night. Trust me, it was fun and, besides, "there ain't nothing dirty going on". Back then, I believe the cost of getting laid was about $7.00 I'd love to get a list of Politicians, Lawyers, and community leaders in Fayette, Colorado, Bastrop, Lee, Lavaca, Washington, and Caldwell counties who have visited Ms. Ednas. Of course in the 60s and 70s sex was a fun thing to do. For the rest of you, there's Rick Santorum.
HOUSTON -- The last madam of the infamous Texas brothel that inspired the movie and Broadway show "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" has died in Phoenix. She was 84.
Edna Milton Chadwell's nephew, Robert Kleffman, said Wednesday his aunt, the last owner of the Chicken Ranch brothel in La Grange, Texas, died Feb. 25. She had been in the hospital since a car accident in October.
Chadwell began working at the Chicken Ranch in 1952, Kleffman said. Within three years, she had become the manager. In 1962, she bought the establishment from Jessie Williams, commonly known as Miss Jessie, and ran it until it was shut down in 1973 after a TV story.
After the television report, Texas' governor ordered police to shut down the Chicken Ranch, and a short time later Chadwell moved to Arizona, where she got married and remained until she died.
Chadwell didn't often talk about her years at the brothel, Kleffman said, but sometimes would answer questions if prompted. She wasn't ashamed of the work she did there, he said, but also didn't want the notoriety that came with being the madam of a famous brothel.
"She was a hard-nosed lady. She was very straightforward, didn't put up with no monkey business, no nonsense," Kleffman said. "Hard-nosed. But with a spine of steel and a heart of gold."
Kleffman, whose mother was one of Chadwell's 10 siblings, said his aunt dreamed of ghost-writing a book about her years at the Chicken Ranch but was determined to do it only after everyone involved had already died. While Kleffman believes she did in the end outlive all the other women, she never did get to write the book -- something she wanted to do partly to set the record straight on the movie and show that put her establishment on the map.
"The only thing in the movie that was correct was that there was a whorehouse," Kleffman said his aunt would often say. "She said the sheriff and the madam, they don't have nothing going on. It was just a business."
At the same time, while there were people from that era that would bring a smile to Chadwell's face -- some of the other girls and associates -- there were many she described as unsavory and was happy to forget, Kleffman said.
Chadwell is survived by two brothers and sisters and several nieces and nephews. At her request, there will be no service or funeral.
August 2013 marks 40 years since the original Chicken Ranch has closed read more about it here!