By all accounts the infamous Fannie Porter was born in England in 1873 and moved to this country the next year. The next few years are a little unclear to me because most accounts record that the widowed Fannie had turned to prostitution by the time she was fourteen, which is awfully young to be a widow, but certainly possible.
Apparently Fannie was savvy in business and at the age of nineteen, she opened her own “boarding house.” If we can believe my research, within just a couple of years Fannie Porter was the owner of the most popular brothel in the west…well, at least the most popular in Texas. It was located at the corner of Durango and San Saba Streets in San Antonio.
It seems that (low-life as it was) Fannie understood her business well. She kept herself immaculately groomed as well as trim. She also only hired very attractive girls between the ages of 18-25. She insisted on good hygene from anyone who worked for her.
Fannie was also known for being discrete. She entertained outlaws and lawmen and never told about either. Probably her most famous or infamous customers from the wrong side of the law were members of the Wild Bunch Gang, including Butch Cassidy, Sundance Kid, and Kid Curry.
Girls who worked in that business vied for positions at Fannie’s because it was well known that Fannie went to bat for her girls. Anyone who abused one of them was forever not welcome to return to the boarding house.
“Other reasons patrons enjoyed Fannie’s establishment were the elegant imported brass cuspidors, classy upholstered furnishings and luxurious appointments. For some ‘special customers,’ she reserved bottles of chilled champagne. That included members of the Wild Bunch.”
Fannie’s place was also ripe with sparkling candle-lit crystal chandeliers and plush red carpeting, giving the place the feel of opulence and grandeur.
In the early years of the 20th Century, morals began to frown on the red light districts operating openly in the city. No one knows for sure what happened to Fannie Porter. Rumors abound, but that is all they are…rumors.
*Photo from Google Images