Women Of the Wild West

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Pearl de Vere 

Pearl is portrayed by Debbie Leah 

Known as the “Soiled Dove of Cripple Creek”, Pearl was a well know prostitute, Madam and outlaw of Colorado. 

Little is known about her early life, it is suspect that she was born in 1862 into a well to do family.  When she was 14 or 15, she made her way to Denver where she began to work as a prostitute.  When business slowed in Denver, she made her way to the gold rush boom town of Cripple Creek Colorado. 

 

Pearl had purchased a small frame house on Myers Avenue, from which her business would operate. She was described as being 31 years of age at the time, with red hair and a slender build, and was a pretty woman. She also was said to have been a good businesswoman, strong willed, and smart. Her girls were instructed to practice good hygiene, dress well, and have monthly medical examinations. She also chose only the most attractive girls for employment. In return, her girls were well paid for their services.

 

She catered to the most prosperous men in Cripple Creek, and her brothel soon became the most successful in town. She was well known for wearing lavish clothing in public, and for never being seen twice in the same clothes. In 1895, she met and married businessman C. B. Flynn, a wealthy mill owner. The two had been married only a matter of months before a fire raged through Cripple Creek's business district, destroying most of the businesses, including his mill and her brothel.

 

Her husband left for New Mexico and Pearl remained at Cripple Creek building a two story, brick building where she would throw lavish parties and caviar extravaganzas.  Having a viewing room, she was the first Madame to allow men to select their lady by interacting and conversation.  For this she would charge $250 for the all-night stay. 

On the night of her death she was said to have been in an argument with a suitor and went to bed upset.  During the night one of her girls found her unconscious and she was declared dead by the town physician, cause of death Morphine overdose. 

 

At the time of her death, her estate could barely afford a “proper funeral”.  Pearl had spent her fortune on her business “The Old Homestead” by buying expensive furnishings and textiles.  She is also known to have bought a gown from Paris France costing more then $800.00.

Despite her finances her funeral processional was the most lavish in Cripple Creek history with nearly the whole town in attendance.  She was laid to rest with “there’ll be a hot time on the old town tonight” being played. 

 

"The Old Homestead" continued in operation until 1917, mostly as a brothel, but later as a boarding house, then later as a private residence. In 1957, the owners discovered many original items that they wished to share with the tourist public. In June, 1958, the residence opened as a museum. It is still in operation today.