Thursday, January 7, 2016

Yerington Monday: Prostitution

Yerington Monday: Prostitution

Anyone who was raised in Nevada is aware of legalized prostitution. Lyon county had its share of houses. The only ones right in Yerington that I am aware of was the old hospital (1940’s) and one called the Green Lantern, not far from the high school, as an older cousin tells me. (1950’s).

My brother, David, confessed to me shortly before his death, with a little grin on his face, that he was a bartender for a short time at the one in Wabuska. I was so naive as a teenager, I was shocked when I hear of their existence. Most of the brothels were closed in the 1970’s in Nevada, In Lyon county, only Mound House is allowed Brothels today.

Town House Guest Ranch (closed, 1970), Wabuska, Lyon County, Nevada

Starlight Ranch (1970s – early 1980s), Mounf House, Lyon County, Nevada

Town House Guest Ranch (closed, 1970), Wabuska, Lyon County, Nevada

The brothel, now known as the Moonlite Bunny Ranch, first opened in 1955 as the Moonlight Ranch. There is a historical marker on the premises, found just inside of the property's original main gate, as the ranch is located near a stop on the original Pony Express. Moundhouse, NV

Posted on Facebook Nov 10, 2014


  • Peggy Freitas Purintun Chere, where is Mound House? Is that in Dayton because I have seen their red light district.

  • Chere Brown Mound House is before you get to Dayton, between Silver Springs and Dayton. My research shows that there were brothels in Mark Twain, Dayton, and possible Fernley, as well as Schurz, Hawthorne, Fallon, and Wadsworth, Almost all were closed by the 1980's.

  • Emily McKay Douglas Mound House is between Dayton and Carson City. Only other brothel in this area is now at Patrick exit off I80. It has the buildings from the old Mustang Ranch.

  • Chere Brown You’re right Emily. It's been a while since I have been through there.

  • Dawnette Kelley There was one on the newer road just passed Gina's house but on the other side of the street. They had to move it further out of town ( that might have been the old starlight).

  • Marsa Morse Prostitution was never legal in Lyon county, which didn't stop those that were determined. Joe Conforte's ex-wife tried to open a house in Silver Springs in the early 1950’s and was busted. (no pun intended, lol) I remember that very well because she gave my grandmother's name to the arresting officers. How she knew that name is beyond me. But I remember my father being very upset that she would taint his mother's name. I actually did some filming at the Mustang a few years ago.

  • Chere Brown Boy, Marsa. I know he was hot. Your poor grandmother must have been mortified. I'm surprised because the area is so small and everyone knows everyone. Seems like the police would catch this lie immediately.

  • Marsa Morse I think they did. I'm not even sure if my grandmother knew about it. But she was raised a Texan and would probably seen some humor in it...or not. If that was the case, she was a Texan.....I'd move

  • Marsa Morse Sheriff Leon Judd, (Yerington in the late 60s) was a friend of the family and had some great stories. It was fun growing up in Nevada. As horrible as it sounds today, and it is, I remember the adults saying prostitution needs to be legal because those girls kept us nice girls from being raped. Well, it was the 50's.

  • Chere Brown Since rape is more a crime of anger it probably didn't cut down on rapes. In the 1950's-1960's rapes were seldom reported like they are today. The brothels may have cut down on the begging for sex a little.

  • Liz Merrill Mason I didn't know about the ones in Lyon county until I was in high school. I had been sitting in Dr Mary's waiting room and met a nice young girl a little older than me. She said she worked for Joe conforte and was there to get an. IUD. I had no idea who he was or what an IUD was but smiled and nodded and told her I was there to get a prescription for my vitamin A. Later when my mom picked me up at John's cate, I told her all about the friend I had made at Dr. Mary's. She was mortified and told me I was never to talk to that girl again. I didn't know why till a sleepover with a bunch of friends at the Aiazzi ranch. Luckily for my mom, I never saw the girl again.

  • Karen Dodd While driving from Yerington to Carson City a few months ago through Mound House, a LARGE reader board was advertising a Job Fair that afternoon for the Moonlight/Bunny Ranch..... I thought it was quite amusing! FYI...prostitution IS legal in Mound House, Nv which is in Lyon County.

  • Chere Brown Amazing, Karen, a Job Fair huh. Well, I guess it's a job and it's legal so it's fair...but very bold. Yes, I know Mound House is the only place Lyon county allows brothels. Not quite sure why.

  • Karen Dodd Chere.......Taxes!!!! While I don't morally agree with prostitution, I do agree with taxing large corporations, businesses, etc. And, prostitution is major in Nevada. Several establishments throughout Nevada have requested legality and are very willing to pay their fair share in taxes. Prostitution in Nevada has always been a hidden/not discussed reality. Rather than treat prostitution as it does not exist, Nevada should benefit from the taxes these establishments are willing to pay......

  • Chere Brown I debated with myself about this post, because as a kid prostitution and brothels was so hush, and yet Nevada was the only state in the union that had legalized gambling and prostitution. And the truth is that it was part of our Yerington environment and experience. Personally I am opposed to both, but I cannot deny where I came from.

  • Karen Dodd Truly appreciate you opinion Chere!

  • Mary Burns THeir was a house on Goldfield closer to Main st than Gina Perry's house, on the opposite side of the street, as Dawn. said The Lyon Market had deliveries and the girls used to order groceries all the time and the delivery boys, just loved going there to deliver, and they embellished all of their stories The ladies always paid cash, and they were loyal customers of the Lyon Market.... And I have no problem with the houses in Nevada as it was part of my normal youthful days. it was NOT an unusual business in my youthful days.... just part of 'home means Nevada' it was gone before we were in Int School, But Wabuska was there in the late 60's early 70's and there is a great story about those ladies another time lv,mb

  • Chere Brown Mary, you are really go to make us wait for a GREAT story.

  • Marsa Morse Elko has it's "Red Light" district. I'm trying to remember which year it was that one of the houses in Elko built a brand new block building and was to open just in time for deer hunting season. Needless to say, one of the competitors did a drive by and tossed a molotov cocktail through a window...yes, growing up in Nevada was entertaining. No one was hurt by the way. If I remember right, she was able to do the repairs and open in time for the deer hunters.

  • Chere Brown The "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" has nothing on Nevada's brothels.

  • Karen Dodd Mary Burns......I appreciate your honest reminiscences and opinion...

  • Mary Burns Right on for her stick to it tive ness !! A public, tax paying enterprise and a legal one at that ! works for me , just pay ones way like we all have to , and they do lv,mb

  • Karen Dodd Stories to share when I worked at the phone company in Yerington 1967-1968...hilarious!


  • Peggy Freitas Purintun When I worked at the Recorder's office for a summer job in the late 60's, the girls from Wabuska came in to have their licences recorded. My eyes were popping out of my head. Of course, it could have just been a story to entertain the new young worker, but that is what the older ladies told me and I believed it.

  • Marsa Morse Wow! I must have been walking with blinders when we lived in la land...I had no idea! I remember something about Wabuska, but that's about it.

  • Dawnette Kelley When I lived in Carson city, in 1972 I took in a child of one of the girls from moonlight. She wanted to be closer to him. He was 5 or 6 and had lived with her mom in Montana. Well he lived with me for about 4 weeks and on her "week off" one of her "clients" recognized her:-( while with her son shopping and the house "madam" said she must send her son back. So it was short lived child care:-( she paid me quite well:-) she was a very nice person

  • Dawnette Kelley Mary that was the place I was talking about:-) in my mind I was seeing Gina's place was much closer to main st.

  • Timothy McGowan Ely has got three or four of them right in town, at the very North West end of town below the rail road grade. Only town in Nevada that I am aware of that has them right in town.

  • Timothy McGowan I believe there are also some active ones in Beatty but cannot confirm this.

  • Marsa Morse Timothy McGowan,The district is in Elko, across the tracks.

  • Timothy McGowan Marsa Morse, yes, I had forgotten that. Funny how the 'houses of ill repute' all seem to be in the vicinity of railroad tracks, or "across the tracks." Always seems to be a negative connotation to that.

  • Dawnette Kelley "The wrong side of the tracks" takes on a whole new meaning:-)

  • Mary Burns Hi TIm I love how you mention all of these 'homes' and their areas then say 'cant really confirm this' !! Disclaimer galore, and I love it !! My bro Pat thought the house on Goldfield in Yer, was a swimming pool cuz all the girls wore swimming suits!! Swear to Gawd, he just told me this today when discussing this subject .. Our Mom agreed with Pat , in the day, when he asked about the new pool she said he was to young to swim there !!

  • Timothy McGowan Hi Mary Burns, Mary. Are you suggesting that I mention the location of these 'homes' because I have visited them? Why……….I have never been so insulted in my entire life! Seriously Mary, in my younger days, two things kept me from visiting these places, money and fear. I had forgotten about the 'alleged' house of ill repute on Goldfield Ave. That one didn't last long, did it?

  • Timothy McGowan Mary Burns, The 'houses' in Ely are hard to miss. They can be seen from Aultman, the main drag (which is also U.S. Hwy 50), when entering or leaving Ely at the West end. Linnell Electric is also in that neighborhood, being the last business on the North side of the street before leaving Ely Westbound. Not too many years ago, I needed something from Linnell's but was compelled to park on the nearest side street because I had a tandem axle flatbed trailer behind my pickup and there was inadequate parking in front of the business. When I returned to the truck I heard somebody yelling but didn't pay it much mind. Started the truck and proceeded North for a short ways and turned right on the first parallel street. Maybe fifty yards or so down this street on the south side is one of the 'houses.' There were two guys standing out in the middle of the street, pretty much nose to nose, hollering at each other at the top of their undoubtedly intoxicated lungs. Standing on the sidewalk in front of the 'house' were the 'girls.' I don't remember much about most of them but two of them stuck in my mind. These two were two of the blackest black women I had ever seen and they both had big grins on their faces so their teeth really contrasted with their skin color. They must have been enjoying this altercation immensely. I also noticed something else, which, I assure the reader, had nothing whatsoever to do with the color of their skin. These two ladies were on the large size and not particularly pleasing to look at, to phrase it kindly. In retrospect, I figure they got into prostitution because there were no jobs available as bouncers in any of the local bars. I stayed way over to the left and departed the area as fast as practical for two reasons; one, I didn't want to be there in case the law was on their way and, two, there was nothing going on there that I was in the least bit interested in seeing or possibly having to testify to later in a court of law.

  • Mary Burns Hi Tim , I can see your $$ and fear deal holding you back !!! and I WAS giving you b.s. about the houses, just cuz its fun to razz you and as far as the house on Goldfield I think it was gone before we were in 6th grade or so maybe even younger and I don't know how long it was a 'working' house but not more than 5 yrs Im guessing but I don't really know.... At the time , there was nothing else on that road Gina Perry's home was about a half mile or less, west , and on the other side of the street. lv,mb

  • Timothy McGowan Mary Burns, razz away, Mary! I'm happy to be fun for somebody!

  • Mary Burns Tim I loved this story You are a freeeeekin hooooot!! But Im thinking , maybe you should have stopped your rig and engaged these ladies in some action ! Im talking sit ups or calisthenics , as you DID say they were a bit over wt...!!. WHAT?? You thought I was suggesting you " engage " with a capital E? chortle and a huge hardeharrr by the way , I love ely lv,mb

  • Dawnette Kelley The one on Goldfield is the one that Mrs order son lived in when I was about the 6th grade. My mom said "they" were forced to move the business further out, away from the city.

  • Timothy McGowan Mary Burns There was no way I was going to get involved in that, Mary. I tried to inject a little humor into my recollections of the incident, but there was really very little to find amusing in it. The whole thing was kind of sad really.

  • Timothy McGowan Regarding Joe Conforte, above by Marsa. Some years ago, my former sister-in-law worked for a law firm in Carson City and once took a call from Conforte. He wanted to talk to her employer but when Patty asked who he was, he replied, "Just tell him Santa Claus wants to talk to him." The attorney took the call.

  • Dawnette Kelley Order son (oops) should have said Pederson:-/
  • Darn auto correct anyway

  • Timothy McGowan Dawnette Kelley Hi Dawnette. So-called 'artificial intelligence' does leave something to be desired, doesn't it?

Marge Gifford It is part of our history.........

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