In fact, it was the early brothel owners that did so much to stimulate the local economy when it was first starting.
Chicago Joe Airey was probably the best-known madam at that time. She named her place Josephine’s and went into competition with the only dance hall in town, owned by Fred White.
Airey and White weren’t the only two operating. Big Lou Courselle ran a brothel, as did Carrie Whitney. Eleanor Alphonsine Dumont ran a successful brothel as well, and was called Madame Mustache due to her hairy upper lip.
Without the brothels Helena wouldn’t have grown so quickly in those early years before the rash of businessmen arrived. Over a five year period $50,000 in real estate transactions were entered into by the brothel owners, which made up 44% of all real estate transactions during that time.
There were thirty-seven property-owning prostitutes, and when asked about their earnings twelve reported, with an average of $2,500 in the bank between them. Even a common girl working under a lamppost could expect to make $223 a month, far more than any other job was paying.
There were probably a good many men that joked with each other about becoming prostitutes while they were toiling away. After all, a carpenter could expect to make $100 a month, a bank clerk $125. By accident of sex some of these men were losing $100 a month!
No amount of smarts was going to protect against a natural disaster, however, and that’s exactly what struck Helena on January 9, 1874.
A fire had started in a Chinese gambling den right near Bridge Street. Most of Helena’s important downtown buildings were destroyed, including Chicago Joe’s dance hall and brothel. Citizens probably weren’t as concerned about the archives of the ten-year-old historical society that also went up in flames.
Chicago Joe was determined to rebuild, and she did so while also paying off her loan. The Red Light opened later that year, but she had to change the way her business was run as well.
The legislature had outlawed “dancing saloons or hurdy-gurdy houses” in 1873, so Chicago Joe made all dances with girls free. Drinks would have to be purchased to get a dance. When rail links were completed to Salt Lake City she brought in new women from Chicago, something that saw her profits soar.
Helena’s prostitution business would continue to thrive as the decades pressed on, and the last brothel finally closed in 1973.
Montana Sexual Politics in the 2000s
Unfortunately for the philanderers now, they have to do the hard work of wooing a lady before they can get her clothes off.
Some Montana politicians are better at this than others. Jon Morrison comes to mind.
We all know that Morrison was caught having an affair with Suzanne Harding in 2002 to 2003.
This was the same time period that Morrison was investigating Harding’s husband, David Tacke for bilking “untold numbers of investors in the United States and Canada out of millions of dollars over two decades.”
Thankfully for Tacke, the affair precluded any serious investigation by Morrison or his office. That investigation was suspended for a year before the feds came in and got it going again.
So even though politicians aren’t paying for it, sex is still a costly thing for them.
Morrison tried like hell to get out from under the cloud he created for himself. The affair cost him his U.S. Senate bid to Jon Tester in 2006. More, it cost him whatever political future he might have.
The reason for that is he had another affair.
Back in December 2014 I posted a post called What Ever Happened to Jon Morrison?
Boy, I got jumped on for that.
Eight months later, however, I got an email from a man that said Morrison had been sleeping with his wife too.
“I can tell you EXACTLY what happened to John Morrison. He got caught in yet another affair and he knows that the information hitting the fan this time would make his life so poisonous that he'd have a tough road to continue pretending he's a political success and making money off of it.”
“He's had so many affairs that had never came to light other than the one during his 2006 run, that he was bragging that he had thought that he'd have been ousted by one of his auditor office employees for the many others. Several of whom had left enmass before the election because he'd had an affair with a key auditor office employee and ruined that marriage too. The employee went on to [work – I’d rather not name this high position] at New West (with a great recommendation from him) - which directly interacted with and was regulated by Morrison and his staff (a clear breach of decorum if not ethics).
He's had at least one drunk driving arrest and possible conviction in Colorado. And some self-admitted sex/porn addiction issues including numerous additional affairs within his affairs.”
You can take that for what you will, though it’d probably be best just to leave it where it is. Honestly, if you can’t keep your dick in your pants then you have no business being in politics.
I don’t see Jon Morrison making a comeback anytime soon – it would have happened by now.
Montana Sexual Politics in the 2010s
Currently there’s some hushed talk that Angela McLean may have left for reasons other than what’s been reported.
For instance, what caused this falling out that the papers are mentioning?
One emailer today suggested:
“Many reporters and people in Helena are hearing that McLean walked in on Bullock while he was "in the act" with a cabinet member.”
Who on earth could this cabinet member be? You’ll remember that we profiled all of Steve Bullock’s cabinet and where they come from. Here are the women:
Now, on Monday I saw this Tweet and I thought it was very interesting:
The newspapers aren’t asking questions. They expect us to accept that McLean stepped down…just because.
I’m sorry, but that’s not good enough.
Until it is good enough people will continue to speculate. If that speculation goes on long enough, the GOP will begin to speculate.
Perhaps they’ll even do so over the airwaves. After all, when we get nothing but silence on this rather troubling departure what are we supposed to do?
And in that regard…who is to blame? Me and others like me for wanting to get at the truth…or those in power who want to hide it?
Why did McLean quit?