Laura Belle McDaniel ~ Colorado City’s Most Prominent Madam ~ 150th Birthday Celebration!

A history of the Pikes Peak region includes not only the Indians, the railroads, gold and Pikes Peak but also prostitution.  In the late 1890’s Colorado City was full of life thanks in part to dry Colorado Springs.  The business of prostitution flourished.  Laura Belle McDaniel, known as “Queen of the Tenderloin”, arrived in Colorado City in about 1891 and it wasn’t long before she was running one of the fanciest brothels in town.  Laura Belle was born in November 1861 – 150 years ago! 


Join the Old Colorado City Historical Society as we celebrate her 150th birthday with special refreshments and an illustrated program by local historian Jan MacKell on Friday, Nov 11th.   Her detailed program will take us from Laura’s humble beginnings in Missouri to her successful business in Colorado City to her untimely and suspicious death in a car accident in 1918.  Jan's animated talk will reveal some little known facts about the “good hearted madam.” 


Jan MacKell is the author of Brothels, Bordellos & Bad Girls: Prostitution in Colorado 1860-1930 and Red Light Women of the Rocky Mountains, which won her a nomination for Women Writing the West's WILLA award in 2010.  She has researched madams of the West for over 15 years.  As Jan Collins, she has been Director of the Cripple Creek District Museum in Cripple Creek for five years.  


The program will take place at the Old Colorado City History Center & Museum, 1 S. 24th street, Colorado Springs starting at 6:30 pm with a reception followed by the program at 7:00 pm.  Cost $3.00.   Info 719-636-1225 or  For more rich history about the original Colorado City, visit the Society’s website at


Jan’s book Brothels, Bordellos & Bad Girls will be available for purchase.


Victorian attire welcome for this special celebration!  










Tags: Belle, City, Colorado, Laura, Old, prostitution

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Replies to This Story

That's an interesting part of the history of Old Colorado City, Jo. Was in Meadow Muffins the other day and wondered about the history of that building, and whether Laura Belle McDaniel's business was located there? Any ideas?

Tsk Tsk. Even after 35 years of my trying to Educate residents about the history of Colorado City, some of you still don't get it.


ALL the Saloons of Colorado City were on the SOUTH SIDE of Colorado Avenue, with Gambling upstairs, and with Cucharras Street, one block south, Red Light Row. Laura Belle was the Madame of Tribley's - her House of Ill Repute. It was on the northwest Corner of todays 26th and Cucharras. In fact here is a VERY rare photo of it then. (Today it is a nursing home) Even Jan Mackell does not have this picture I have. Maybe I'll loan it to her  for her next update of her book.

You can see the back side of the two story large 'Red Mountain Sports'  building at 2611 W Colo in the right corner, where Jacob Schmidt's Beer Hall was in 1910. He too is Buried in Fairview Cemetery. right behind Laura Belle's grave. He committed suicide after Colorado City voted dry - he couldn't make a buck any more.




Meadow Muffins' was the 1891 'Waycott Opera House' on the North, NICE side of Colorado Avenue. No brothels OR saloons. (only tunnels under the avenue so that men could sneak across the avenue without being seen by their wives.

And one block NORTH of the Avenue, on now Pikes Peak, was Church Row - a Church on Every Corner.

And in 1913, with the Wets fighting the Drys, Colorado City voted DRY (by 3 votes on appeal). And all the Saloons and Prostitutes had to leave town. Which left Colorado City without income for even a local government. So in the biggest mistake, in 1917 it voted to be ANNEXED to Colorado Springs - whose downtown Kiowa street is where all the bad Saloons and whores are plying their trade today.


So much for 'Family Values' in downtown Colorado Springs while Old Colorado City folk are upstanding. And the last prostitute moved out of the house next door to mine in 1978 after I moved there from - ugh - Colorado Springs.






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