The Chicken Ranch
with La Grange, Texas? Why the infamous Chicken
Ranch! Even though it has been closed for more
than 30 years, the legendary brothel is still
When it comes to
instant name recognition no other house of
prostitution can match the Chicken Ranch.
What made the
Chicken Ranch so special? First longevity comes
to mind. One of the oldest brothels in Texas,
the questionable business operated for more than 130
According to the legend, there wasn’t much cash
around during the Great Depression so patrons
would trade chickens for services rendered. The
girls never went hungry and the Chicken Ranch
Chicken Ranch operated as a brothel for more
than a century in the countryside near La
Grange, Texas before closing on August 1, 1973.
Today all that’s left is the legend of the most
famous Texas brothel of them all. Here’s how
the Chicken Ranch looked in 1937.
The Chicken Ranch was
located on a dusty Central Texas country road near the
town of La Grange not that far from the state capitol of
Austin and two renowned colleges – The University of
Texas and Texas A&M.
While the Chicken Ranch is
said to have always successfully resisted any
association with organized crime, the madam and the
girls did their part to help maintain a strong local
economy and minded their own business.
The Chicken Ranch’s
reputation took on new life after a Houston TV reporter
tripped the first domino that led to the eventual demise
of the brothel on August 1, 1973. A musical stage play,
The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas that has played all
over the world, poked fun at the series of events and
let’s not forget the movie by the same name featuring
Burt Reynolds and Dolly Parton. Then there’s the ZZ Top
song that still fuels Texas folklore.
Now the Chicken Ranch is
long gone – literally. After it closed and the
prostitutes moved on, the building was sold and hauled
to Dallas where, for awhile, it served as a restaurant
that served – what else? Chicken. Later, the building
burned to the ground and that was that.
Today, there’s nothing left
of the Chicken Ranch. But, in our imaginations, the
most famous brothel of them all lives on and on.