May 30, 2023

"An Open Secret: The Story of Deadwood’s Most Notorious Bordellos" with author Chris Enss During Wild Bill Days

DEADWOOD – The official launch of American author Chris Enss’ latest book, An Open Secret, focuses on infamous cat houses like the Beige Door, those individuals who managed the businesses, their employees, their well-known clientele, the various crimes committed at the locations, and their ultimate demise. An Open Secret: The Story of Deadwood’s Most Notorious Bordellos by New York Times bestselling author Chris Enss and Deadwood History, Inc. focuses on the brothels and the women who worked in the oldest profession in the ferocious town.

Among the most notable Deadwood soiled doves and brothel owners were Dora DuFran and Al Swearingen. The names of the some of the most popular brothels in Deadwood Gulch were the Shy-Ann Room, the Beige Door, and the Shasta Rooms. After more than a hundred years of continual operation, the brothels in Deadwood were forced to close in 1980.

To kick off the book launch, Deadwood History, Inc. and the Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission will host History on the Lawn with Chris Enss at the Homestake Adams Research and Cultural Center (HARCC), due to the weather forecast, at 12:00 p.m. on Friday, June 16, 2023. Following the presentation, Enss will sign copies of her books along with the author of Cat Tales of the Old West: Poems, Puns & Perspectives on Frontier Felines. In Cat Tales of the Old West award-winning author Preston Lewis brings frontier felines into the light of the twenty-first century with a collection of amusing and eclectic excerpts from dozens of nineteenth century frontier newspapers reporting on pussycats west of the Mississippi River. The lecture and book signing is free to Deadwood History members and $5 for non-members. Please feel free to bring your lunch. For more information call 605-722-4800. 

On Saturday, June 17, 2023, Enss will be signing copies of her book, An Open Secret, at The Brothel Deadwood from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. This event is free to the public. Donations are appreciated. Stop by and meet Enss and tour The Brothel. Snacks and beverages will be served throughout the day. The Brothel is located at 610 Main Street across from the Mineral Palace and Gem Steakhouse & Saloon.

Chris Enss is a New York Times best selling author who has been writing about women of the Old West for more than thirty years. She has penned more than fifty published books on the subject. Her work has been honored with nine Will Rogers Medallion Awards, two Elmer Kelton Book Awards, an Oklahoma Center for the Book Award, three Foreword Review Magazine Book Awards, the Laura Downing Journalism Award, and three Western Writers of America Spur Finalist Awards. Enss’s most recent works are The Widowed Ones: Beyond the Battle of the Little Bighorn, Along Came a Cowgirl: Daring and Iconic Cowgirls of Rodeos and Wild West Shows, and Straight Lady: The Life and Times of Margaret Dumont “The Fifth Marx Brother.”

Co-sponsored by the Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission, Adams-Mastrovich Family Foundation, Deadwood History, Inc., Chris Enss, Deadwood Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau, Deadwood Mountain Grand, Black Hills Pioneer, Saloon No. 10, and the Nugget Saloon, LLC.


Deadwood History, Inc. preserves and presents the history of Deadwood and the Black Hills through exceptional places, interactive exhibits, and engaging events.

Adams Museum, Days of '76 Museum, Historic Adams House, Homestake Adams Research and Cultural Center, and The Brothel Deadwood.

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