Brothel Deadwood.
Prostitute dummies beckon from second-floor windows along Main Street.

Brothel Deadwood

Field review by the editors.

Deadwood, South Dakota

Gold was discovered outside of Deadwood in April 1876. By May the town already had brothels. On July 12, 1876, a group of what were euphemistically called "working girls" arrived on the same wagon train that brought Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane to Deadwood. The town staged a parade for the wagon train, but mostly for the girls.

Brothel Deadwood.
The former Shasta Rooms bordello, now open for guided tours.

The second floors of Deadwood's downtown Main Street storefronts became bordellos, and for the next 100+ years a succession of state, federal, and local officials made futile attempts to evict them. Law enforcement efforts weren't successful until 1980, when Deadwood's four remaining brothels were raided and shut down. The lavender door from Pam's Purple Door went to the town's Adams Museum, and Deadwood threw another parade, just like it did in 1876. It wasn't clear if the town was celebrating the authorities or the girls; probably it was both.

Prostitute dummies began appearing on the second floors of downtown storefronts soon after Deadwood legalized gambling in 1989. Their number has increased steadily, and in 2020 the town opened Brothel Deadwood, a guided tour (adults only) of Deadwood's former Shasta Rooms bordello. Each of its eight rooms is decorated to represent a different period in Deadwood's 104-year cathouse history.

Also see: Deadwood Round-Up

Brothel Deadwood

Address:
610 Main St., Deadwood, SD
Directions:
Map point is for Brothel Deadwood at the north end of downtown. The second floor prostitutes are in windows up and down Main St.
Phone:
605-722-4800
Admission:
Adults $15.
Save to My Sights

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In the region:
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