Sep 03 2016
Red Light Women presented by Victor Lowell Thomas Museum at Victor Lowell Thomas Museum, Victor CO

Red Light Women

Presented by Victor Lowell Thomas Museum at Victor Lowell Thomas Museum

Ladies of the Night Topic of Museum Presentation

The shady side of history will be the focus of a presentation at the Victor Lowell Thomas Museum on Saturday, Sept. 3.

Victor author Jan MacKell Collins in 2015 published her latest book on the subject of red light districts in the West. Her research and writings have put a human face on the hidden histories of prostitutes and the shady side of mining camps.

Wild Women of Prescott, Arizona tells the stories of shady ladies in the uncivilized territory of Arizona. Prostitution was a wide spread business in the West and often, as Collins found out in researching her latest book, some of the same paths crossed over into more than one mining camp. One such case was Lida Winchell, whose real name was Eliza Jane Crumley. Cripple Creek District historians will recognize the last name from the story about the shooting of mining mogul Sam Strong in the Newport Saloon on Bennett Avenue. As Collins found out, Lida is the niece of Grant Crumley who shot Strong in a gambling argument in 1901.

Both Victor and Cripple Creek had active Red Light Districts in the gold rush days and Collins has captured several of the true stories of those who conducted business in the brothels and cribs.

Collins will be at the Victor Lowell Thomas Museum Saturday, Sept. 3 from 3 to 6 p.m. to related stories about Crumley and others of red light women. She will also sign books including Red Light Women of the Rocky Mountains, Brothels, Bordellos & Bad Girls, and Cripple Creek District: Last of Colorado’s Gold Booms. A limited number of books will be available for signing.

The public is invited to meet Collins at the museum and learn more about the women of the past. The event is free and will be held in the museum gift shop.

Collins writes about prostitution history and other interesting aspects of the West. She is formerly the director of the Cripple Creek District Museum and the Old Homestead Parlor House Museum in Cripple Creek. She has also had the pleasure of working for Sharlot Hall Museum in Prescott, AZ and is a former board member of the High Desert Heritage Museum in Cordes Junction, AZ. In addition, Collins has written over 2,000 western history articles for magazines in Colorado, Montana and Arizona, including True West magazine. In 2010 she was nominated for Women Writing the West’s WILLA award for her 2009 book, Red Light Women of the Rocky Mountains; also, she was a co-nominee in 2011 for the 2010 anthology Extraordinary Women of the Rocky Mountain West. In addition to her writing, Collins has given over 40 programs on the subject of prostitution and western history, and has been featured on Rocky Mountain PBS.

For more information, call 719-689-5509. For more information on Collins, visit

Admission Info


Phone: 719-689-5509


Dates & Times

2016/09/03 - 2016/09/03

Location Info

Victor Lowell Thomas Museum

3rd & Victor Ave, Victor, CO 80860