Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Red Garter

I looked back at some of my photos a few weeks ago from Williams and came across this one of The Red Garter Bed and Bakery in Williams. What caught my attention originally, of course, is the mannequin leaning out of the window, but I've learned this building has a fascinating history as well.

Originally designed as a saloon and bordello, this brick building was built in 1897 by German tailor, August Tetzlaff, who hoped to capitalize on an anticipated silver and copper boom at the Grand Canyon. The brothel, including eight cribs, was located upstairs, and the girls were known to hang out of the windows and call to the men below. A steep flight of stairs known as the "Cowboy's Endurance Test" led to the girls' rooms upstairs.

The building housed other vices and corruption. Two rooms behind the saloon housed Chinese railroad workers, who operated an opium den in their living quarters. Frequently, the sheriff would be called to the den to investigate a murder, only to find nothing out of the ordinary when he arrived.

Although Arizona outlawed prostitution in 1907, the law wasn't strictly enforced. The brothel and saloon continued to operate (even through Prohibition) until the mid-1940s when a murder on the steep back stairs led to a crackdown on prostitutoin.

The Red Garter Bed and Bakery opened in 1994. I'm not sure I'll be staying there anytime soon--it's reportedly haunted. Check out the Southwest Ghost Hunters Association (where I found a lot of information about The Red Garter's History) at


  1. It's a very cool building to photograph. I have a bunch of pictures of this place too. Great info and your shot is super good.