This Abandoned Brothel In America's Southwest Has A Deadly, Twisted Past
Tombstone, Arizona is home to one of the most fascinating landmarks in the West.
The Bird Cage opened in 1881 as a gambling parlor, theater and brothel. Prostitutes and outlaws caroused into the wee hours, and more than a few gunshots rang out inside these walls.
Today, this former brothel has been kept intact as a museum and attraction. Read on to learn more about this historic cat house with a murderous past.
The New York Times referred to this brothel as the “…wildest, wickedest night spot between Basin and Barbary Coast.”
The Bird Cage hosted a neverending party 365 days a year, and operated at all hours of the night and day.
When The Bird Cage closed in 1889, everything was left in place. The doors to the building were not opened again until 1934.
This place hasn't been reconstructed or restaged – almost everything inside is just as it was during the brothel's heyday.
A high-stakes poker game ran 24/7 in the theater's basement for years. Just off the poker room were bedrooms where prostitutes plied their trade.
There were fourteen “cages” above the main hall of the brothel. Male customers would sit in these cages. Whiskey, beer and cigars would be hoisted up to them while they enjoyed the show below.
Prostitutes and dancing girls would entertain the clientele on stage.
Between acts, dancing girls would mingle amongst the patrons and offer drinks and sex.
This place wasn't all good times, however. More than 120 bullet holes riddling the walls of the brothel.
Knife slashes and stray bullets can be found all over the establishment, a reminder of the rough mining crowds that once frequented The Bird Cage.
Today, the structure is home to a treasure trove of artifacts from the building’s wild past.
The Bird Cage was one of the most notorious and outrageous spots in Arizona, and perhaps even the entire west. The theater now holds nightly ghost tours, and is a popular Tombstone attraction. Check out its website
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