I was so curious about taking this trip and I am glad I got the time and opportunity to do it, finally. I learned a lot and it really made me see the differences in every city’s or county’s (sometimes ridiculous) laws, how the quality of the houses vary immensely, and how the one state in America where brothels are legal – Nevada – handles legalized prostitution overall. In some ways I was pleased by the businesses and the way they were run and in other ways I was disappointed by the quality of some brothels, their rules, and even their sometimes-remote locations. Information about the brothels on the web is spotty, as far as which ones are currently open versus closed down or switched owners, so I thought actually visiting each place would be the only way to verify which are currently open for business.
First of all, Nevada is a HUGE state. I have taken many a road trip before and have had many people tell me, “You know Nevada is a lot bigger than you think it is,” and I believed them, but the sparse population is what really blew me away. So few people live outside of Clark County (the county Las Vegas is in.) If my little calculations are correct, only 8% of the state’s 2.6 million-person population lives outside of Clark and Washoe counties (Washoe County is where Reno is located.) That’s crazy when you consider the tremendous amount of space in Nevada outside those two counties. It’s also sad that in both of these counties prostitution is disallowed due to the population size being over 400,000, which is written into the state law governing the control of the state’s brothels. The law leaves the other oftentimes-remote counties to decide whether they want or do not want to allow brothels. Surprisingly, Douglas County to the north of Clark County disallows brothels, and it isn’t until Ely (250 miles to the north in White Pine County and pronounced “Ee-lee”) that you find the first brothel in that direction. In fact, the route that I am going to travel is virtually counter clockwise, starting in Ely and ending in Pahrump.
The one thing that really became noticeable as I started visiting these houses is their location. Most all of the brothels are located in a tucked away corner, almost always on the other side of the railroad tracks (and I mean that literally) in these small towns. I got a real shunned vibe from their locations, as if they were banished to that part of town, hidden away for no one to see their sin and shame. Also, I rarely saw roadside advertising, except for along I-80 for the Mustang Ranch and one on the property of Wild West Ranch in Winnemucca (which had a view from the I-80 freeway.) Mind you, these towns are not thriving metropolises, but small towns that have an average population of 5,000 people. I understand the locals not wanting their property value going down due to a brothel in their neighborhood, but as one brothel madam told me, the only reason why you would be going to that side of town is to go to the brothels. So if someone saw you going to that side of town they knew where you were going, and of course, people in small towns notice these things. Most of the brothels had few, if any, signs pointing to its location. You had to be almost to the house for there to be a sign at all and usually you are on your own. Google Maps saved me many times and, if it weren’t for that, I might still be lost driving around the great State of Nevada trying to find my way. Some addresses I had were just plain wrong, and I found plenty of confusing directions, which I hope to clear up completely with each review and brothel profile. In fact, I used a GPS app to get the exact coordinates for the ones that are particularly confusing, and I will be updating that information into my Nevada brothels map.
In conclusion, after seeing every brothel that is in operation in Nevada, I’m glad that, on the one hand, in one corner of America there are legal brothels, but on the other – in a way – I’m sad to see so many of them so hidden away and so scrutinized and controlled by local government that they don’t seem so free and liberated after all. I had hoped to see more of America’s freedom in the Wild West poking through, but even in these very rural, remote towns, they were usually isolated and quarantined.
So over the next few weeks I will post a review and photos on each brothel as I virtually travel around the state to all 26 of the open houses. Yes… I said 26!