Dolly Arthur left her family home in rural Idaho at age 13, living in Montana and Vancouver British Columbia before making her way to Alaska. By her late teens she realized she could make more money from the attention of men than she could working as a waitress. In 1919, she wound up in Alaska, having discovered a way she could make a significant amount of money for that era. Dolly spent her first year in Ketchikan at the Star, the only house on Creek Street actually classified as a brothel because it employed more than two women. Then she bought her own house.
At a time when the average Ketchikan worker made $1 a day, Dolly charged each man $3 and didn’t close her door for the night until she had made $75. She bought her house for $800 and paid it off in two weeks. Eventually she bought other houses along Creek Street, which she rented to other working girls. They referred to themselves as “sporting women” rather than whores, and prospered in a town with many single men and few women. Though most Creek Street residents worked in pairs, Dolly worked alone in her own house. Through all her working years, she never got an STD.
Photo captured September 17, 2015.
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