Pearl de Vere
One of the famous prostitutes of the old west was Pearl de Vere. She arrived in Cripple Creek, Colorado from Denver during the Silver Panic of 1893. Pearl de Vere was well known in Denver as Mrs. Martin and had obtained a small fortune from her services to the wealthy gentlemen of Denver. However, when the first slowdown occurred in the city, the wise Ms. Pearl headed to the booming gold camp of Cripple Creek. Arriving in Cripple Creek and purchasing a small house to open up her business she became an enormous success. Pearl, at 31, was described as red-haired, beautiful, strong willed, and a smart business woman. She soon expanded her business and started hiring the finest and most beautiful women around. Pearl’s ladies were described as the most beautiful of any parlour in the camp. They were given fine clothing, monthly medical exams, and they were paid very well. Almost daily Pearl would ride through the camp in a different beautiful outfit to promote her business. She was the envy of the town, even though the proper women said they hated her, they secretly envied her clothing and wished they had the kind of stuff she did. They all wanted her clothes, jewelry and makeup, whatever she had the women of the town would go and get it. After awhile the proper women started to complain to Marshal Wilson and he decided to impose a fine. Wilson regulated the shopping hours of the girls, allowing them to visit the stores only during their off hours. In addition, each lady was required to pay a six dollar monthly tax and madams were charged sixteen dollars a month. Business was booming and the parlor house was still making a huge profit even with the new imposed tax. In 1895, soon after marring a man named C.B. Flynn, the owner of a small mill, a fire raged through the camp and both Pearl’s business and Flynn’s mill were burned to the ground. There was suggests of fowl play and someone with a vendetta against them started the fire but they were never found Intent on rebuilding her business Pearl built the finest parlor house that the city had ever seen. Opening in 1896, the two-story brick building was named The Old Homestead. Pearl spared no expense in decorating the opulent parlor, importing wallpaper from Paris and outfitting it with the finest of hardwood furniture, expensive carpets, crystal electric chandeliers and leather-topped gaming tables. The house even included a telephone, an intercom system, and two bathrooms, at a time when such things were mostly unheard of.