|GHOSTS OF THE CHICKEN RANCH now available!
August 1, 2013 marks the 40th anniversary of the closing of the infamous Chicken Ranch brothel of La Grange, Texas. In observance of this historical milestone, I, along with Lisa Elliott Blaschke, have produced Ghosts of the Chicken Ranch, a fine art, coffee table-style book that takes readers on a visual tour of what remains of the famed brothel some four decades later. Along the way I dispel some rumors, touch on some history and generally give what's due to an infamous episode in Texas history that, despite its inherent notoriety, is sadly overlooked, neglected and misunderstood. Ghosts of the Chicken Ranch is currently available in first edition hardback as well as a softcover edition.
elcome to Chicken Ranch Central, folks! Feel free to kick off your boots and take a load off. My name's Jayme Lynn Blaschke, and if you're here looking for information on the infamous Chicken Ranch of La Grange, Texas, then you've come to the right place. I'm writing a book about the brothel, and have probably learned more about the history of houses of ill-repute in Texas than is entirely healthy for one person to know.
Lots of people have heard of the Chicken Ranch, and no wonder--the Broadway musical and subsequent motion picture The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas have quite possibly made it into the most famous brothel in the world. Or rather, ex-brothel, since they've not been accepting paying customers since 1973. Despite its celebrity status, I've learned during the course of my research that a great deal of what passes for common knowledge about the Chicken Ranch is flat-out wrong, or at least wildly inaccurate.
What You Can Do To Help
I get emails on an almost daily basis asking when my book will be available, and what eager readers can do to help me get it published. Well, the best thing anyone can do is show publishers that there is an audience and a demand for this book. You can do so by signing up to follow me on various social networks, and coaxing your friends and family to do so as well. Publishing companies put a lot of stock in how many followers an author has. You can fornally follow my Gibberish blog via Google Connect or Networked Blogs, do the Twitter thing and/or "Like" my Chicken Ranch Central Facebook Page. One or all of them, every little bit helps!
The historical/documentary television series EXPEDITION TEXAS is broadcasting an episode dedicated to the Chicken Ranch May 25! I shared some of my research with program host Bob Mauldin and took him on a tour of La Grange and the ruins of the Chicken Ranch itself. If your local stations don't Carry the series, never fear--all EXPEDITION TEXAS episodes are available for viewing online after initial broadcast.
Edna Milton (1928-2012)
Edna Milton Chadwell, otherwise known as Miss Edna, the last madam of the Chicken Ranch, passed away in February 2012 at the age of 84. My thoughts on her passing may be found here. Nobody supported my efforts to write a book on the history of the Chicken Ranch more than she did, and hope I'm able to live up to her expectations.
A (Very) Brief History of the Chicken Ranch
The Chicken Ranch's origins in La Grange date to 1844 during the time of the Republic of Texas, or to 1905, depending on which sources you give credence to. Either way, it became a long-established presence in Fayette County. From 1914 to 1961 Miss Jessie Williams ran the house, establishing respectful relations with Sheriff Will Loessin and cultivating goodwill in the community with generous philanthropy. During the Great Depression (so the story goes) cash was so scarce that the prostitutes began to accept livestock in exchange for their services--poultry, in particular, became the payment of choice. In short order the brothel had earned the euphemistic "Chicken Ranch" name. When Miss Edna Milton took over as madam in 1961, she continued the charity work Williams had started as well as the cooperative relationship with new Sheriff Jim Flournoy. In 1973 Marvin Zindler, a flamboyant consumer affairs reporter with KTRK-TV in Houston, received a tip from the attorney general's office that the brothel continued operations in defiance of Texas' anti-prostitution laws. Zindler's subsequent exposé led Governor Dolph Briscoe to order the permanent closure of the Chicken Ranch in August of 1973. One year later, Zindler and Flournoy would run into each other on the La Grange courthouse square, an encounter which left Zindler nursing several cracked ribs and shorn of his trademark silver toupée.
The story of the Chicken Ranch is as outrageous as it is improbable. My research has taken me to interesting places, introduced me to fascinating people and opened my eyes to an entirely unexpected era of Texas history. You're invited to come along for the ride...
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Most recent update: July 28, 2013