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 The Chicken Ranch

The Chicken Ranch

What’s synonymous 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 intriguing.   

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 years.

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 moniker stuck.


The infamous 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.    

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La Grange Area Chamber of Commerce
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