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Denver's Mattie Silks and her House of Connections

Peering at the camera and faintly amused, Mattie Silks held all the cards in a call or fold game.
Peering at the camera and faintly amused, Mattie Silks held all the cards in a call or fold game.

Mattie Silks was an early Denver entrepreneur and by the turn of the century, Denver’s red light neighborhood understood Mattie as the cat house queen of the mile high state.

Mattie boasted she was never a working girl, always a Madame. Her influence, discretion and business acumen earned her both fear and respect from her clients and this bears examination.

Mattie’s turn of the century connections:

Both Soapy Smith and later the Blonger Brothers-con artists who would’ve been aware of the shuttling of prostitutes through underground tunnels connecting the Brown Palace Hotel and a nearby brothel so respectable hotel clients could pick up their “dates.”

This behavior would’ve been considered scandalous in turn of the century Denver, especially since only the most respectable visitor registered at the Brown.

The connecting tunnel still exists although it is rumored to be haunted, as is the Brown itself.

Each of the sacred 36 families responsible for investing in mining and transportation that created the mile high state. The secrets captured inside this star chamber of Denver would have been priceless. And some of Mattie Silks clients would be husbands from the sacred 36.

And many Denver Police officers, Colorado Militia, and nearly 20 Colorado governors.

Mattie Silks created a golden purse from quality discretion from quantity indiscretion and she’s as vital to Denver’s history as Molly Brown or Augusta Tabor or Aunt Clara Brown.

Mattie’s House of Mirrors is located on 2009 Market Street and it was made a national landmark in 1998.

Madame, entrepreneur, adventuress, Denver business dynamo, Mattie Silks is buried in Fairmount Cemetery among the respected, under the name Martha Ready. She died in 1929.


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